Bexley News

City has several things on 2014 agenda

By ThisWeek Community News  • 

New developments scheduled to move forward in 2014 include plans for a new Bexley City Hall, construction of a new Giant Eagle store, Capital University officials and residents working together to find a compromise on the university's stadium proposal, and a possible overhaul of the city's zoning code.

The city also is looking at park enhancements and some changes in city leadership as the year begins.

 

New faces

New Bexley City Council members Lori Ann Feibel and Deneese Owen will be sworn in at council's organizational meeting, set for 7 p.m. Jan. 6 in Council Chambers of City Hall, 2242 E. Main St.

Also scheduled to be sworn in are Richard Sharp, who was re-elected Nov. 5, and Anne Lewis, who won election to seat to which she was appointed in March 2012.

A new city auditor, Bill Harvey, will be sworn in as well. Harvey previously served as the city's service director. The city is in the process of searching for a new service director to replace him.

 

Changing places

Construction is expected to begin this year on the redevelopment of the Bexley Square Shopping Center, which will include a new Giant Eagle supermarket to be built on the current site of City Hall.

The Bexley Community Investment Corp. has entered into contract to purchase the shopping center from Casto for $1.8 million. The city will lease the site to Continental Real Estate and make infrastructure improvements to access the Bexley Square Shopping Center, which is located just west of City Hall. The 30,000-square-foot Giant Eagle to be built on the City Hall site will become the anchor tenant for the shopping center when the store opens in 2015.

Using money from the lease and tax-increment financing on the new supermarket, the city either will lease office space or build a new City Hall.

In the meantime, Capital University officials and residents in neighborhoods surrounding the university will collaborate on a solution to ease concerns raised by the university's proposal to add lighting and a new sound system to its Bernlohr Stadium.

Capital introduced the proposal at the April 22, 2013, meeting of the city's Planning Commission. The university withdrew the proposal in June after residents expressed concerns about noise, congestion and safety. A revised proposal was submitted in October and later tabled in lieu of more community input at two public meetings held in November.

During a Nov. 18 meeting at Bexley High School, Capital and residents agreed to form a group that would work together on the proposal so that any changes have minimal impact to the surrounding community. The city of Bexley also will participate in the group --assisting with traffic, use-intensity, lighting and sound studies to gauge how the stadium proposal would impact the community.

The South Bexley Neighborhood Association is accepting nominations for representatives to participate in the Capital group until its next monthly meeting, which will be held at 6:30 p.m. Jan. 13 at the Bexley Public Library. Nominations can be emailed to Ian Nickey, association coordinator, at ian@supportbexley.com.

 

Zoning changes

A committee charged with identifying ways to update the city's zoning code is expected to meet once more in early 2014 before submitting a formal set of recommendations to council.

The group, which began meeting monthly last February, consists of city officials and residents with development experience.

One of the recommendations the group is considering is to combine the city's Planning Commission and Board of Zoning Appeals into one body. Mayor Ben Kessler said there will be numerous opportunities for public input before council takes any action on the group's recommendations.

 

Improving parks

The city of Bexley's Recreation and Parks Department plans to convert into parkland the undeveloped site that is about three-quarters of a mile along Alum Creek from East Main Street to East Livingston Avenue.

The city gathered suggestions for the park in an online survey and at a Nov. 21 meeting open to the public. Suggestions include building paved trails for pedestrians and cyclists; allowing dogs in the park, both leashed and unleashed; creating a nature preserve for birds that are native to the region; and adding a performing-arts amphitheater.

The city will gather further input for Alum Creek Park at a public meeting scheduled for 7 p.m. Jan. 16 in the Bexley Public Library auditorium, 2411 E. Main St.

The city also is considering enhancing the markers at the front entrance of Jeffrey Mansion, 165 N. Parkview Ave. Representatives from the Bexley Community Foundation and the city's Tree Commission presented preliminary designs to the Bexley Recreation Board on Dec. 4. The designs are for a new, larger sign that would be closer to the street, with the purpose of helping people unfamiliar with the area to more easily identify the entrance to the mansion and park.

Foundation and commission members are expected to go back to the recreation board with more-detailed designs early this year. The board would then vote on whether to move forward with the project, which would be paid for with grants and other private funds.

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