Main Street improvements
Officials earmark funds for design plan
Bexley has taken another step forward in its efforts to give a mile-long stretch of Main Street a facelift.
Prior to its summer recess in July, Bexley City Council unanimously approved the expenditure of $184,000 for design and construction documents for a streetscape project slated for 2013.
The money comes from the Main Street tax-increment financing fund that was established in 2005. A committee in 2010 began looking at ways to spend the TIF money, which can be used only for improvements along the stretch of Main Street between Gould Road and Parkview Avenue.
Council approved hiring MKSK Design to draft construction drawings and cost estimates for each piece of the project. It also names MKSK as the construction management firm.
Proposed plans call for the installation of brick crosswalks at three intersections along Main Street, and other pedestrian-friendly features such as upgraded landscaping, bike racks, benches and unified signs.
Hiring MKSK will allow Bexley to get specific costs for each element of the streetscape design. Once bids come in, officials will be able to determine if the city can afford everything included in the plans, Mayor Ben Kessler said.
Kessler has called 2013 the "year of Main Street" in Bexley and community leaders are laying the groundwork for that effort. They hope the improvements will help unify the street, encouraging visitors and economic development.
"The ordinance before you is to take these concepts and turn them into construction plans. When you create construction drawings, you're pretty much, I'd think, committed to a project," Kessler said.
The city estimates the entire project will cost around $1.8 million, but it has included some alternatives to scale back the plan if bids come in too high.
"We're excited about the potential for Main Street," said Keith Myers, cofounder of MKSK Design. "We recognize that these are TIF funds and there are limits. We're going to try to get as much done (for the money) as we can."
Although much of the project will be focused above ground, it also will include repairs and improvements to the infrastructure underground.
Bexley plans to replace water lines, upgrade traffic signals and resurface a portion of Main Street in 2013. That part of the project is estimated to cost $1.9 million and will be funded largely through grants from the Ohio Public Works Commission.
The next council meeting is scheduled for 5:45 p.m. Aug. 14 at City Hall, 2242 E. Main St.