Merion Village residents can look forward to a number of big issues in the coming year.

Merion Village residents can look forward to a number of big issues in the coming year.

Bob Leighty, president of the Merion Village Association, recently said the area will likely see the reopening of Southwood Elementary School, the revitalization of two houses along Morrill Avenue and plans for the revitalization of the south side of Parsons Avenue.

Leighty said the most significant thing expected to occur in 2009 is the return of students to Southwood. Currently, the building is being renovated and expanded while the students are being housed at Reeb Elementary School.

"It is going to be such a cool thing to have that building done and the kids back," Leighty said. "It's been such an educational icon for us since the 1890s. I think the school district should be praised for working to respect the structure that was there."

In addition to students returning, the Merion Village Association is expected to place a State of Ohio Historical Marker at the school.

Leighty said last year the association obtained grant money from the Ohio Historical Society and Columbus Foundation.

"I think the marker is something we've kicked around for several years," Leighty said. "This will be the year the marker should appear."

Leighty said the association is working with the school's staff to find a place for the marker and organize a special event for its debut.

The second thing that is expected to impact the Merion Village area is the revitalization of the Emmanuel Lutheran houses that were moved to Morrill Avenue in 2006.

Several years ago, two homes were moved from across from Southwood Elementary School on South Fourth Street to East Morill Avenue. The homes were moved to make room for a parking lot expansion for Emmanuel Lutheran Church.

Recently the two homes were sold to YouthBuild, a program that offers low-income young people the opportunity to work toward a GED or high school diploma while learning job skills by building housing for low-income people.

Leighty hopes the renovation of the houses will spur revitalization in the area.

"We should be able to have that stretch of Morrill be reborn into a new thing," Leighty said.

"It's not good having empty lots and empty houses," Leighty continued. "The neighbors have wanted to see positive things in that area for a long time."

Another project that will have an impact on the area is the planned revitalization for the south end of Parsons Avenue.

Though Parsons Avenue is not located in Merion Village, Leighty said any improvements around the village help everyone on the south side.

"Certainly we are impacted by our neighbors and what goes on," he said. "I think in 2009 you will see the planning coming together."