ALBANY —The Village of Albany announced this week that it received funding from the Athens County Foundation to support the development of a comprehensive plan, which will guide land use as the village pursues development opportunities.
“We’re trying to look forward to the future, instead of just letting things happen,” said Albany Village Council President Neal Reynolds.
According to a press release from the village, the plan will provide a blueprint for the next 20 to 25 years of development in the village.
The release said the top priority of the comprehensive plan is preserving Albany’s “small-town character” while pursuing affordable housing, commercial development, recreation and more.
Albany Mayor Tim Kirkendall said having a plan will better allow the village to achieve development goals.
“You kind of got to have a plan, if you’re going out looking for loans and grants,” Kirkendall said. “When you reach out to lending places and places that give grants, if you’ve got a plan to show them, and they think it’s a good plan, they’re more likely to help you out.”
As an example, Kirkendall cited areas on Carpenter Road which the village hopes to develop in the coming years. The first step is the installation of sewer infrastructure, Kirkendall said, for which the village has been pursuing outside funding.
“They won’t just hand you a grant and say, ‘okay put a sewer in and we’ll see what happens,’” Kirkendall said. “They want an idea of what you’re doing down there.”
According to the release, the village is contracting with E.L. Robinson Engineering to develop the comprehensive plan and will engage many stakeholders, including county and township officials, representatives from Alexander Local Schools, Hocking College and Ohio University, and local community members and developers.
The Athens County Foundation Executive Director Kerry Pigman said, “The Athens County Foundation was pleased to support this project, recognizing that this effort will include and reflect diverse perspectives from a variety of community stakeholders.”
Reynolds said the plan aims to leverage the village’s proximity to the highway, quality school system, outdoor recreation spaces like Lake Snowden, available land and economic opportunities presented by the Ohio University Airport while identifying how land may be used in alignment with village priorities.
Reynolds said the village was awarded $16,000 from the Athens County Foundation, which will cover about half the cost of developing the comprehensive plan. The village will cover the remainder of the cost through internal funding and other grants, Reynolds added.
The release from the village said the plan not only looks to support future residents and businesses, but aims to protect current residents, businesses and property values.
The process of developing the plan will take up to a year to complete, the release said.
Reynolds said the village can continue to modify the plan over time.