The opening of a $150-million hospital, the $2.3-billion acquisition of a hometown company, the groundbreaking for a multi-million dollar mixed-use development and the city manager's departure were some of the biggest stories in Dublin in 2008.

The opening of a $150-million hospital, the $2.3-billion acquisition of a hometown company, the groundbreaking for a multi-million dollar mixed-use development and the city manager's departure were some of the biggest stories in Dublin in 2008.

The coming year looks just as busy: Dublin City Council is to hire a new city manager in the first quarter of 2009; construction will continue on the U.S. Route 33/state Route 161/Post Road interchange reconfiguration, a project expected to cost more than $50-million; and city staff will plan the 2010 bicentennial celebration.

The city also will continue to focus on the development of the Central Ohio Innovation Center and celebrate the completion of the Grounds of Remembrance veterans project on Memorial Day.

And, Mayor Marilee Chinnici-Zuercher said something else is in the works.

"I do think we will do something to begin the process of a master plan for Historic Dublin and it will be defined in a larger platform geographically than some people think," she said.

The master plan concept will be discussed at a joint work session with city council and the planning and zoning commission at the end of January.

Chinnici-Zuercher said she also anticipates Columbus and its suburbs working together more closely to solve regional economic issues.

"We'll need to see what leadership role we play with the city and the state," she said. "All of this impacts all of us. We need to see what we can do to step up to the plate and help. We are financially stable and it's our responsibility to see how we can lift others up to impact the region and state."

The economy "is a challenge and is something we have to constantly monitor," said interim city manager and finance director Marsha Grigsby.

The new city manager will be a key member of Dublin's economic development team.

Jane Brautigam, the city manager since 2002, announced in August that she was leaving to become city manager of Boulder, Colo.

The search for her successor is down to four finalists who will be interviewed in January.

The finalists include Dana McDaniel, Dublin's deputy city manager and director of economic development, and Terry Foegler, who served as assistant city manager and director of development in Dublin from 1990-96.

The other finalists are Michael Bierman, city manager of Petaluma, Calif., and Phillip Nelson, city manager of Troy, Mich.

The new city manager is expected to take office by March.

Besides Brautigam's departure, the other top stories of 2008 were:

Dublin Methodist

Hospital opens

The $150-million Dublin Methodist Hospital opened last Jan. 8.

City officials had been anticipating the opening for three years for many reasons: hundreds of new jobs to boost the city's income tax revenue; residents having access to medical services that previously only were available outside Dublin; and shorter ambulance run times.

The hospital was designed to create a stress-reducing environment that promotes the natural healing process. All patient rooms are private, with amenities including two flat-screen televisions, a window that opens, wireless Internet, a small refrigerator and a sleeper sofa for family members who stay over.

Wendy's sold to Triarc Cos.

On April 24, it was announced that locally owned fast-food giant Wendy's had agreed to be sold to Arby's parent company, Triarc Cos., for $2.3-billion. Wendy's officials told employees in November that 134 of 550 positions would be eliminated at Wendy's headquarters, 4288 W. Dublin-Granville Road.

Groundbreaking in

historic district

Construction of BriHi Square began in May, although discussions about the 22,000-square-foot development started nearly two years earlier. The multi-million dollar project, jointly funded by a Dublin-Stonehenge Co. partnership, will include two, two-story buildings with commercial office, restaurant and retail space, a public plaza and water features.

The project is expected to be finished in the first half of 2009.

Can-Am Games

coming to Dublin

The Dublin Convention and Visitors Bureau in 2008 won the rights for the city to host the international Can-Am Police-Fire Games in 2010.

The games are expected to draw 2,000 to 3,000 police and firefighters, plus their families, from Canada and the U.S. The event, which will run Aug. 15-22, 2010, is expected to generate $3.5-million for the central Ohio economy.

Admission to all events will be free. The competition will include more typical events such as track and field and those based on the skills of the emergency workers, like the police K9 competition and the toughest firefighter.

bdunlap@thisweeknews.com