New Albany is that rare location that leaves nothing to chance. Built upon the best traditions of small town America, behind its charming urban village design is a sophisticated approach to sustainable development that results in a remarkable level of architectural integrity, community engagement and economic vitality.
Founded in 1837, New Albany truly came to life in the 1980s when world-renowned business, civic and philanthropic leaders with the entrepreneurial spirit, world view and determination to build a better community set their sights on a large expanse of land in northeastern Franklin County.
Imbued with the natural beauty of meadows, woodlands and waterways and strategically located in close proximity to the interstate, airport and downtown, Les Wexner, founder, chairman and CEO of Limited Brands, and Jack Kessler, chairman of the New Albany Company, found the perfect setting.
Working with world-class architects and land planners from Harvard University, the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Virginia, they drew upon the best practices of timeless, iconic communities such as Cotswold, England, Williamsburg and James River Plantation for inspiration.
The meticulous planning has enabled the community to avoid the pitfalls of typical suburban sprawl and achieve robust growth while balancing residential and commercial interests.
Their unparalleled vision went well beyond aesthetics and infrastructure to encompass a set of guiding principles – education, culture, leisure and health – designed to engage both residents and businesses alike and build a sense of community.
Among the first institutions to be created was the New Albany Community Foundation, the driving force behind many of the amenities that bring New Albany together as a community and set it apart from the rest.
For over a decade, the foundation has played a leadership role in leveraging the power of residents and businesses to improve New Albany’s quality of life. As a result, New Albany has become a haven for senior level executives, entrepreneurs, knowledge workers and the creative class at all ages and stages of life.
The New Albany Plain Local Schools’ Learning Community Campus and the nearby New Albany branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library, the top ranked library system in the nation, reflect the type of thoughtful, innovative planning that contributes to New Albany’s acclaimed quality of life. The 200-acre campus is home to the district’s kindergarten through 12th grade classes, an 80-acre nature preserve and a state-recognized wetlands lab.
It is the only system in Ohio in which every school has been honored as a Blue Ribbon School of Excellence by the U.S. Department of Education. The district also earned the state’s highest rating for the last nine years and received an Excellent with Distinction the last three years.
Among the district’s many innovations are its award-winning, two-year high school Environmental Science program and a Cisco Academy housed within the high school that offers an online, college-level curriculum in computer networking and a hands-on state-of-the-art lab.
New Albany community planners’ vision of a Chautauqua-like community with intellectually stimulating educational and cultural programming year round for all ages has become a reality.
A treasure for the community and a triumph for the public-private partnership that spearheaded the effort, the Jeanne B. McCoy Community Center for the Arts is a 35,000 square-foot, state-of-the-art facility that features a proscenium theatre seating 786, space for an art gallery, and ballet and orchestra practice rooms. Anchoring the northeastern quadrant of the 200-acre learning campus, the center serves as both a school auditorium and community cultural arts center through a unique partnership between the schools, city and the New Albany Company.
While parents revel in their children’s’ theatrical and musical talents, tens of thousands of visitors enjoy its eclectic range of artists and entertainers, from jazz trumpeter Chris Botti, Grammy award-winning artist Buddy Guy and the St. Petersburg Ballet to comedian Martin Short, author John Irving and Tony award-winners Patti LuPone and Mandy Patinkin.
A round of golf on the Jack Nicklaus championship golf course, dinner at the stately New Albany Country Club, a bike ride or jog along more than 30 miles of leisure trails, world-class events and small town celebrations – living is easy in New Albany.
The annual New Albany Classic Invitational Grand Prix and Family Day is a world-class equestrian event that attracts competitors from around the world as well as thousands of visitors who enjoy the competitive sport and family-style entertainment. Founded by philanthropist and resident, Abigail Wexner, the signature event raises more than $1 million annually for The Center for Family Safety and Healing.
The New Albany Walking Classic, which began with a group of walking enthusiasts in 2004, now draws participants from more than 40 states across the country. With a course that meanders through the picturesque community, the competitive walk has grown into the largest walking-only event in the nation.
Few communities in the United States have taken as progressive a stance on wellness as New Albany. That effort grew organically from a local walking club that evolved into Healthy New Albany, a 501c3 nonprofit established by the New Albany Community Foundation and led by a national wellness expert, author and resident.
The vast array of programming and activities that inspire healthy living among residents and employees includes a farmers market, lecture series, community garden, health expo, the New Albany Walking Classic, New Albany Walking Club and the Healthy New Albany magazine as well as lunchtime walks and lunch and learn events for employees.
New Albany’s ambitious plans to create the healthiest community in America were underscored by the recent groundbreaking for the Center for Healthy New Albany in the heart the pedestrian-friendly city center.
The 55,000-square-foot facility is designed to empower individuals to achieve and sustain healthier lifestyles through a personalized, integrated, community-centric approach that revolves around medical, fitness, social and educational programs and services for residents and employees. Thought to be the first of its kind in the nation, the collaborative venture brings together the City of New Albany, Healthy New Albany, The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center and Nationwide Children’s Hospital.
Among New Albany’s other exclusive assets is the Healthcare Innovation Cluster, a hub for medical, pharmaceutical and health informatics organizations that is anchored by the Mount Carmel New Albany Surgical Hospital, the only orthopedic surgical hospital in the state and a seven-time Summit Award winner for sustained excellence in patient care.