Bexley Mayor Ben Kessler gave a progress report on the upcoming construction of a new Giant Eagle grocery store and the relocation of City Hall during the 2014 State of the Community event, held April 10 at the Columbus School for Girls.
During his remarks, Kessler reviewed last year's accomplishments and gave a glimpse of what's to come in the remainder of 2014.
One of the biggest developments that got underway in 2013 included groundwork for a new Giant Eagle store, which is scheduled to begin construction later this year at City Hall's current site at 2242 E. Main St. City Hall will relocate to the Bexley Square shopping center, just west of the current municipal building. The shopping center formerly housed the Bexley Monk and Barrel 44 restaurants.
Kessler said the new Giant Eagle will be a two-story Market District store.
"One of the biggest, most prevalent requests that we always received was, 'Let's get a nice grocery store in Bexley,'" Kessler said. "We've done everything we can to make that happen."
The new City Hall will be a freestanding, single-story facility that will encompass about 6,500 square feet, meet the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and include a public meeting room and council chambers, Kessler said.
"It's going to have a 20 percent larger council chambers," he said. "Council chambers will have large doors in the back that will open up for our bumper-crop meetings every now and then."
The city's service garage also will relocate to a new site, next to the police department facility at 559 N. Cassingham Road.
"That's going to be a great facility for a service garage because there's an 8,000-square-foot warehouse that exists there that we're going to keep," Kessler said. "The old house portion (of the site) is going to be torn down and there's going to be a 10,000-square-foot auto service garage constructed in that area."
Kessler also reviewed initiatives designed to increase community safety. Last year, the police department deployed new software to more efficiently target patrols. To promote traffic safety, the city is placing more signs throughout the city that display drivers' speeds, Kessler said.
"Those lessen speeding by 75 percent," he said. "We've invested in solar (power) for our speed signs so they stay charged."
In the next couple of years, the city will be focusing on safety and economic redevelopment areas on East Livingston Avenue, especially Ferndale Place and Mayfield Place, Kessler said. He said city officials are working to generate ideas and seeking input from residents about how to revitalize the area.
"We need to have affordable housing options in Bexley," he said, "but we also need to have a safe environment and we need to have a quality environment."
Infrastructure projects scheduled for this year include placing new water lines and pavement resurfacing on Allegheny Avenue and Delmar Place.
In celebration of Bexley being accredited as an arboretum last year by the Morton Register of Arboreta, the city will sponsor its first Arbor Day Walk on April 25 in which city officials and volunteers will tag 13 of the 133 different varieties of trees throughout the city, Kessler said.
Also providing updates during the State of the Community event were representatives of Columbus School for Girls, the Bexley City Schools, Bexley Public Library, the Bexley Area Chamber of Commerce, St. Charles Preparatory School, Capital University, Trinity Lutheran Seminary and the Bexley Community Foundation.
The Bexley Community Foundation announced it will award more than $30,000 to the city of Bexley this year for a variety of programs, including $18,000 to continue the Main Event series that began last summer. Main Event programming, which includes movies and recreational activities on Capital University's East Main Street lawn, will return next month. Details will be announced at the city's website, Bexley.org.