Q & A with Sloan Spalding
On New Albany, Innovation and Cycling
Next month, for the fourth year in a row, Sloan Spalding, a first-term City of New Albany council member, will ride the 180-mile route for Pelotonia, a grass roots bicycle tour that has raised more than $25 million for cancer research at the The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute. Spalding, who was instrumental in New Albany’s selection as one of the cycling stops, talks about cycling, innovation and moving to New Albany.
Why did you move to New Albany?
My wife and I were starting a family and looking for a community where we could grow our family. New Albany had everything we were looking for – great schools, a very vibrant, active lifestyle and an emphasis on health, culture and leisure.
What makes New Albany a leader in innovation?
Over the past four years, we have made dramatic strides in creating an environment that is conducive to innovation. We have had such tremendous success with the Innovate New Albany startup incubator, our TechColumbus partnership and our innovation campuses that other communities are now trying to mirror our efforts.
New Albany has had success in attracting new business despite the sluggish economy. Why?
We are very selective and creative in bringing in industries that can connect to one another. The incredible success in attracting new businesses to the New Albany Business Park’s Personal Care and Beauty Innovation Campus is just one example of our efforts to focus upon business development that creates the kind of collaborative environment and, ultimately, synergies that lead to new ideas in product packaging and development. The city also works hard to build strong connections and long-term relationships with businesses so that they will not only come here, they’ll stay and invest here eight to ten years down the road, even after the tax abatements and incentives have expired.
What’s New Albany’s connection, as well as your connection to Pelotonia?
I have ridden the 180-mile route for the last three years and have raised more than $10,000 for cancer research thanks to family and friends. This year, I approached Pelotonia and offered to be of assistance in helping to build community and governmental support for cities to host the ride. New Albany is a great fit for this ride and a logical stop. Now we will have both the 50-mile and 180-mile rides ending n New Albany. It’s another great reflection on this community’s commitment to health. I have also been a ride leader for Girls with Gears, a New Albany-based cycling group that rides Pelotonia.
Do you feel New Albany encourages active, healthy outdoor pursuits like cycling?
Yes, there are more than 77 miles of leisure trails to cycle in New Albany alone and more trails are planned. We have beautiful tree-lined streets for pedestrians and a great park system. Beyond that, the city’s strategic planning initiative is focused upon ensuring that there is a health component to everything we do moving forward, whether its cycling trails or other efforts designed to integrate a wellness focus in everything we do.
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