Council inches closer to prioritizing capital projects
Gahanna City Council members began discussing a citywide wish list featuring tens of millions in capital improvements.
During the committee-of-the-whole meeting Sept. 24, members began asking questions of city staff and talking about a list of dozens of projects that could become part of a comprehensive five-year capital improvement plan.
City staff members have compiled a capital-needs assessment that is expected to be affirmed or changed based on council feedback, the 2012 comprehensive resident survey and the 2012 Parks and Recreation Master Plan update. It looks out five years and is designed to help Gahanna with strategic planning and budgeting.
Little to no funding is available for the majority of the projects, so the community will have to decide collectively what is most important, Mayor Becky Stinchcomb said.
"Our job as the administration is to go through and work with what we have," Stinchcomb said. "We do not have the resources currently to make all of this happen. We're trying to continue the dialog."
To be considered a capital improvement, a project must cost at least $5,000, have a life span of at least five years and improve or enhance infrastructure or city assets.
Each project was assigned a ranking as follows: Priority 1 (imperative, must-do projects); Priority 2 (essential, should-do projects) and Priority 3 (important, could-do projects).
Initial must-do projects over the next five years, including estimated costs, are: Carpenter/Shepard signal upgrade, $40,000; Creekside Island-Mill Race Bridge Replacement, $60,000; Creekside Plaza repair, $1 million; fiber growth, $150,000; Hamilton Road Center (Carpenter Road to U.S. 62), $2.2 million; Hunters Ridge Pool boiler replacement, $15,000; Hunters Ridge pump replacement, $25,000; Legistar software upgrade, $25,000; Morse Road-Columbus project (U.S. 62 to Trellis Lane), $334,000; room divider for committee rooms, $10,000; Safe Routes to School (2009 funding), $302,610; and Safe Routes 2012 funding, $36,000.
The Priority 1 projects total $4,273,611.
Priority 2 projects are: Academy Park field lights, $244,000; audio/visual upgrade to council chambers, $20,000; Buckles tract infrastructure development, $1 million; Carpenter Road culvert replacement, $315,000; Central Park infrastructure, $750,000; Creekside Island electrical upgrade, $175,000; Detroit-style street rebuild, $4.7 million; document imaging, $75,000; email system upgrade, $50,000; fiber-optic network expansion/phase 2-4, $275,000; Hannah-Headley maintenance building, $150,000; microfilm reader/printer, $20,000; multiple-purpose trails, including land and easement acquisition, $2 million; new front pool and facility improvements, $3.5 million; Office, Commerce and Technology District signs and gateways, $275,000; Oklahoma fiber extension, $60,000; Olde Gahanna street rebuild-Carpenter Road, $825,000; Olde Gahanna Walnut Street rebuild, $440,000; police department window and door renovation, $40,000; street-sign post upgrade/replacements, $350,000; and traffic- and pedestrian-light upgrades at various locations, $100,000.
Cost of Priority 2 projects would total $15,446,000.
Priority 3 projects are: Academy Park basketball court, $60,000; Academy restroom and concession, $345,000; asset software management, $40,000; Bedford II (bricklawn paving, Leavitt extension), $1.5 million; Gahanna canoe launch, $150,000; Headley soccer field rebuild and irrigation, $720,000; Hunters Ridge Pool entryway redesign, $15,000; Hunters Ridge Pool shade structures, $25,000; Microsoft Office upgrades, $100,000; new golf course clubhouse, $550,000; new operations complex, $3.1 million; Ohio Herb Education Center (OHEC) carriage-house kitchen, $250,000; OHEC garden improvements and irrigation, $20,000; skate park elements, $30,000; South Stygler Road widening, $1 million; southwest floodplain/Veterans Park planning and construction, $3.7 million; Sycamore Run Park planning and development, $350,000; Tech Center-Taylor Station connection, $1 million; West Johnstown Road improvements, $2.3 million; and Woodside Green south bank stabilization, $25,000.
Total cost of Priority 3 projects would be $15,460,000.
Council members are expected to spend several months dissecting the city's long-range needs.
"This is a planning document," assistant city administrator Brandi Braun said. "This is a working document that will continue to evolve over the next four to six months."
Council is expected to continue its discussion of the capital improvements during the committee-of-the-whole meeting, beginning at 7 p.m. Oct. 8 at City Hall, 200 S. Hamilton Road.