Bexley News

City's Main focus to be evident in summer

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This summer could arguably be the busiest summer Bexley's Main Street has seen to date.

Along with the new-for-this-year Movies on Main, which will turn Capital University's front lawn into a movie theater and the Drexel Theatre into a concession stand in the third week of every month from June through September, the city will debut a revamped Music on Main concert series and begin a handful of aesthetic projects.

The focus on Main Street ramped up last year when the Bexley Community Foundation awarded the city with a $7,000 grant that will pay for a Movies on Main series.

The monthly showing of a family film on a jumbo, high-definition screen, will take on a theme that will dictate the events surrounding it. Prior to the showings, there will be live music and children's activities that tie into the movie.

Bexley Mayor Ben Kessler said that for one week, the city would like to host a talent competition.

Other events currently in rotation, such as the Bexley Art Walk, also might be scheduled to coincide with the movies to give residents and visitors a full slate of activities.

"The seed idea was the movie and it was something that we'd been brainstorming as a way to build up activities on Main Street, but when we looked at everything else we have going on, it just started organically meshing into one big event," Kessler said. "What we're trying to do here is create a whole evening on Main Street before people come to Capital for the movie."

Bexley's streetscape project has been in the making much longer.

In 2004, City Council approved the Main Street Tax Increment Financing District. Of the money that has accumulated in that fund, $1.8 million will be used to make the city's main thoroughfare more pedestrian-friendly by creating uniformed signs and installing hanging planters and brick crosswalks. The project also includes landscaping five medians and turn lanes on Main Street and updating traffic lights.

The beginning of streetscape work will coincide with this summer's Main Street events.

"Main Street is the heart and soul of Bexley," Kessler said. "It's our business core, it's a great walkable environment and we spend a lot of focus and energy on trying to help businesses that are there be successful and trying to create an environment that resident want to walk to and visitors want to come see. The more we can increase viability and energy on Main Street, the better. We're proud of it and we want to showcase it."

Kessler said the energy behind renewing Main Street has been contagious. The success of the Bexley Farmers Market, Bexley Art Walk and Music on Main, along with the creation of Movies on Main, has prompted stores and restaurants to consider offering specials and extended hours during events.

Because Main Street programs have exceeded expectations, Kessler said the city is looking to give the collective events a title -- and residents get to choose it.

Since March 1, residents have been submitting possible names for the summer events to Bexley's Facebook page. Suggestions include the Main Event, Mingle & Movies on Main, and Main Screen and Music.

Kessler, who will announce more details about the summer Main Street events during the March 14 State of the Community address, said the resident committee heading the programming favors the Main Event moniker. The State of the Community address begins at 8 a.m. at Capital University's Mees Hall.

For a calendar of city events, visit bexley.org.

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