Hilliard Northwest News

New arts center

City officials will give group more time to raise money


City officials say they will grant the Hilliard Community Foundation additional time to raise the necessary capital to build the Hilliard Civic and Culture Arts Center adjacent to Hilliard Station Park.

In September, the city and the community foundation entered into a nonbinding memorandum of understanding in which the community foundation would enter into a lease with Hilliard for use of city-owned property for the construction of a performing arts center.

The original agreement called for the community foundation to commence construction of the facility within three years.

An ordinance amending the agreement was introduced at the June 10 meeting of City Council's Public Safety and Legal Affairs Committee.

The amendment provides the opportunity for the community foundation to commence a lease with the city for a period of up to five years from the date the ordinance is adopted. The option would expire after five years.

Meanwhile, until a lease in entered into, the city reserves the right to permit nonprofit organizations or other acceptable entities to rent or lease an existing structure at the site, 5433 Center St.

Bob Apel, president of the Hilliard Community Foundation, said the organization is continuing fundraising efforts to construct a performing arts center.

The ordinance amending the 2012 memorandum is scheduled for introduction and a first reading at the June 24 City Council meeting.

In action at other committee meetings June 10, the administration introduced legislation authorizing Public Services Director Butch Seidle to issue a letter of commitment to the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency related to the proposed development of Bo Jackson's Elite Sports at Roger A. Reynolds Municipal Park.

"Normally, we would wait (until we had orders), but these are things we are going to have to do anyway (if any development is to occur here)," Seidle said at the June 10 meeting of the City Planning, Projects and Services Committee.

Bo Jackson's Elite Sports will build a 105,000-square-foot athletic training facility at Municipal Park.

It would be only the second such site in the United States, following a Chicago-area location. The business is owned and operated in part by Bo Jackson, the former professional baseball and football player.

Before construction can begin, Seidle said, the EPA will require several environmental considerations, including natural stream restoration, water quality improvements and other requirements of the Big Darby Accord Watershed Master Plan.

In order to keep the project on schedule, the developer has asked the city to agree to the considerations in advance of formal orders from the Ohio EPA, Seidle said.

Council members passed the ordinance as an emergency after its first reading at the June 10 meeting.

Also at the committee meeting, Seidle outlined refuse collection and recycling alternatives for next year so City Council members were aware of the options.

"We don't need any answers now," Seidle said

The city is under contract with Rumpke until June 30, 2014.

The city is expected to solicit bids for a provider and must create a bid package that could include a switch to automated collection.

Residents would be provided with two containers, either 65 gallons or 95 gallons, for solid waste and recyclable waste.

"It would at least be a wash," and we could save money if residents recycled enough material, Seidle said, about a switch to automated collections, which would provide covered recyclable containers, preventing papers and cans from blowing out of the open containers currently in use.