Pataskala spent more than $4 million improving its roads and utility infrastructure in 2012.

Pataskala spent more than $4 million improving its roads and utility infrastructure in 2012.

The city also emphasized economic development and marketing of its resources to businesses.

"It was a banner year for progress and investing in the future of Pataskala, given the number of successful projects accomplished in 2012," City Administrator Timothy Boland said. "While the city has always placed great emphasis on planning of projects, 2012 represented significant steps to implement many of the capital projects the city has prepared for in recent years."

Pataskala's 2011 Roadway Asset Management Plan identified an estimated $17 million in road repairs needed over the next few years.

In 2012, the city completed the first phase of road improvements, spending $3.2 million -- including $750,000 issued in bonds -- on nine projects and improving seven miles of road.

"It was a robust investment in the future of the community and its infrastructure," Boland said.

He called the RAMP improvements "the largest single investment in roadway infrastructure in the city's history."

The improvements included: Kylemore Drive at Taylor Glen Boulevard; Laurel Lane; High Street at Cedar and Front streets; Havens Corners Road; McIntosh Road; Bristol Drive; Depot Street; Linda Avenue; Third Avenue; North End Drive; Washington Street; Lincoln Street; First Avenue; Wood Street; John Reese Parkway at Township Road; and Rich Street.

Boland said about $14 million worth of road projects are left in the RAMP.

As for infrastructure improvements, the city spent $1 million in 2012 on upgrades to its water and sanitary sewer systems.

The city completed 17 water-related projects and nine sanitary sewer projects.

Boland said the projects were based on the city's 2010 utility plan. He said the city tried to choose projects for their impact on residents in an effort to "make it a more attractive place for folks to live, work and stay in."

Pataskala also increased utility rates in 2012. The new rates went into effect Nov. 15.

Pataskala City Council on Aug. 6 agreed to change the city's water and sewer rates from a tiered billing system to flat rates with a capital-improvements fee.

Under the new system, Pataskala customers will pay a per-month flat rate of $4.06 per 1,000 gallons of water usage and $5.50 per 1,000 gallons of sewer usage.

The capital-improvements fee will be a per-month cost of $1.50 per 1,000 gallons of water usage and $3 per 1,000 gallons of sewer usage.

Next year, Pataskala customers will pay $4.22 per 1,000 gallons of water usage and $6.16 per 1,000 gallons of sewer usage. Rates are expected to increase to $4.48 and $7.65, respectively, by 2016.

Emphasis on development

Pataskala City Council agreed in October to target three areas for revitalization through the creation of Community Reinvestment Areas in the Old Village, Summit Station and Columbia Center downtown neighborhoods.

The CRAs in the Old Village and Summit Station will allow tax abatements of up to 10 years to remodel existing homes; abatements of up to 12 years to remodel existing commercial and industrial buildings; and abatements up to 15 years on new commercial and industrial buildings.

The Columbia Center CRA includes commercial and agricultural properties but excludes newly constructed residential properties.

Residential abatements will be automatic when minimum investments are met but abatements on commercial property must be negotiated by City Council and approved by the local school district, Boland said.

Economic development and promotion of the city's Job Ready Site also continued to be part of Pataskala's focus this year.

"The city expanded its regional economic development activities by becoming a member of the Grow Licking County Community Improvement Corp.," Boland said.

He said the CIC is a countywide organization that "leverages resources from member organizations and communities throughout the county" in an effort to promote Licking County and its development sites, helping to attract investment and retain existing businesses.

The city also is working with Columbus 2020 and Etna Township on the JRS project.

The 304-acre site is undeveloped except for Etna Parkway, a $6-million road built in 2011 that bisects the JRS and connects Broad Street and U.S. Route 40.

The Licking County commissioners started negotiating Dec. 3 with Cassidy Turley, a commercial real-estate firm, to market the site.

"This year saw an emphasis on marketing and working with our regional partners," Boland said.

Boland said as the economy picks up, the city wants to be in a good position to attract businesses to the JRS.

To help plan for future development, Pataskala began two planning projects in 2012: a visioning study focused on the old village center on state Route 310 and an update to the city's master plan, last revised in 2006.

Residents attended several public meetings and completed a survey about the old village center for the visioning study. City officials are working with planners from Boulevard Strategies of Columbus on the study.

Work on the master plan started in 2012 and will continue into 2013, Boland said.