Ohio U., other medical facilities top list of 2012 news
Dublin saw many changes in 2012 and one of the biggest will mean a university campus for the city's western edge.
Incentives were approved by Dublin City Council members in April to bring an extension of Ohio University's College of Osteopathic Medicine to Post Road where the Dublin Entrepreneurial Center stands.
The campus, expected to be open for enrollment in 2014 took possession of the land this year with plans for a hotel/conference center, day care and residential housing in the area.
Dublin also has plans for commercial office, research and medical development in the area.
City Economic Development Manager Colleen Gilger said the announcement set the pace for development in 2013.
"I think OU is just one of the critical pieces of expanding our commercial base to the west of Dublin," Gilger said.
"Thinking about the year, one word that comes to mind is medical, between the OU announcement, Children's Hospital opening up a sports medicine and orthopedic center and Dublin Springs Hospital opening its doors as well as Dublin Methodist, which continues to grow its business and do more development within the building," she said.
"When you combine those things, it was a very successful year in Dublin," Gilger said.
"The crowning moment was OU, but it marries very well with all the other things going on this year in the medical industry."
The new OU campus meant the relocation of the Dublin Entrepreneurial Center, which has a grand opening planned in January. The DEC opened on Post Road in 2009 to foster start-up businesses.
"We've been able to double the space for the DEC," Gilger said. "We've been able to take a winning program and double the size of it."
Development in other areas also occurred in 2012, including the expansion of the Nestle Quality Assurance Center, renovations at Wendy's headquarters and expansions at Pacer and medical product company Sarnova.
"This was a good recovery year for us," Gilger said.
"I think the last several years we've had growth, but it's been cautious growth by our companies, very deliberate growth. Nobody was going out and doing large construction or massive hiring.
"This year we saw things almost get back to normal with our expected growth," Gilger added.
"Really the best way to measure it is to look at how income tax grows month over month when you compare it to a year ago. Things are getting better."
Dublin's income tax revenue continued to climb this year as the financial environment within the city improved and new companies moved to Dublin.
The city's reserves climbed to 85 percent of its general fund expenditures, leaving $50.4 million in Dublin's coffers as of October.
Plans for Dublin's future also moved along this year as Bridge Street corridor code was approved in the first half of the year.
Rezoning was also approved for the plan that covers about 800 acres in Dublin's core that runs along state Route 161 from Sawmill Road to the Interstate 270/U.S. Route 33 interchange.
The rezoning and related plans open the area up to walkable, urban, mixed-use redevelopment.
"That's a real game changer for the future development of this community," Gilger said.
"Getting that adopted and announced was really significant for us so now we can market to different kinds of businesses. ... It's generated a lot of buzz and activity for us."
The city early in 2012 also hired former city manager Terry Foegler on a part-time basis for the newly created director of strategic initia-tives/special projects position.
The job focuses on leading development within the Bridge Street corridor.
"What we are doing no one else is doing," Gilger said.
"No one else is in suburban communities are looking to do this game change, the increase in density and a walkable environment. It really is something very different. A lot of people are talking about it outside of central Ohio."
In July, Dublin opened its $4.1-million compressed-natural gas fueling facility on Shier Rings Road.
The fueling station, open to the public, supplies gas for 44 city fleet vehicles converted to burn compressed-natural gas. The fuel is expected to save money and reduce Dublin's carbon footprint.
During the July opening Mayor Tim Lecklider said a CNG-fueled vehicle can "reduce carbon emissions by as much as 90 percent."
Dublin also racked up headlines this year as it celebrated the 25th annual Dublin Irish Festival.
More than 85,000 people attended the three-day festival in early August, despite oppressive heat and storms.
Planning also kicked into high gear this year as Dublin prepares to host the 2013 Presidents Cup.
The October international golf competition will be held in Muirfield Village.
Honors from the International Festivals and Events Association gave Dublin a 2012 "World Festival & Event City" title.
The award recognizes "positive local environments for festivals and events worldwide," information from the association said.
"We have worked hard to put our name and our community on the map by producing quality events," said Sandra Puskarcik, Dublin's community relations director.
"Council has done that with vision in terms of how we use hotel/motel tax, how we fund the Dublin Convention and Visitors Bureau and (Dublin) Arts Council and the events administration team," Puskarcik said.
"Council has demonstrated its commitment to vibrancy of the community through arts, visitors and events and it has paid off."
Dublin did have to deal with some adverse events in 2012.
Feb. 14, Mohamed Hassan, a 46-year-old Sunoco gas station employee, was shot and killed during a robbery at the Bridge Street business.
The city's first murder in several years followed three armed robberies in Dublin.
Dublin Police held a community meeting to offer strategies on protecting businesses.
Arrests were also made in the murder and armed robberies as police found connections between the Dublin events and crimes in other central Ohio communities.
"I can't remember a time in my career when we've had this kind of cooperation (among law en- forcement officials and communities)," Dublin Police Chief Heinz von Eckartberg said at the time.
Dublin resident Nicholas Rozanski was also killed in action in April while serving with the 37th Infantry Brigade in Afghanistan.
The 1994 Dublin High School graduate is survived by his wife, Jennifer, and two daughters.
Rozanski was very involved in the community and the Nick Rozanski Memorial Fund was established to provide scholarships for local students and provide support to other charitable foundations.
"Nick was everybody's friend," Keith Rozanski said in April.
"I don't think there was a single person that didn't consider Nick a friend.
"Whenever anyone asked how my brother was, they would smile."