Upper Arlington News

City notes

Amelita Mirolo Barn is a lesson in success


It's impressive when you stop to think about how many improvements in our parks grew out of philanthropy: the Reed Road Shelter was a project of the Tri-Village Lions Club; we enjoy the Northwest Kiwanis Park shelter, thanks to this park's namesake; and the Miller Park gazebo was the work of the UA and Tri-Village Rotary clubs.

The most significant such project to date is the Amelita Mirolo Barn, the result of generous donations by multiple civic groups, businesses and families, and ultimately made possible by the UA Community Foundation, which then gifted the barn to the city.

Our Parks & Recreation Department recently tallied the results of the barn's first full year of operation, and the numbers are impressive.

More than 160 programs, parties, weddings and corporate functions were held at the barn in 2012, with 16,000 people passing through its doors as a result. The facility generated just shy of $71,000 in rental revenues for the year, netting approximately $43,000 once salaries, utilities and maintenance costs were covered.

Thanks to this unique partnership with the foundation, residents are clearly enjoying a rental venue that was not previously available in our community.

This fact is all the more evident from data indicating that the barn did not take away from typical annual rental statistics at our other park shelters.

The UA Community Foundation has not been resting on its laurels following the Amelita Mirolo Barn project. Most recently, fundraising has been in progress for an ADA handicap-accessible playground at Barrington Elementary School, the first of its kind in UA. We just got word that the necessary $160,000 has now been pledged, with plans for construction to occur late spring/early summer.

Next, two foundation events are on the horizon:

The second of what will become an ongoing UA Author Series partnership with the library is scheduled for Sunday, April 7, with a visit from international best-selling author Alexander McCall Smith, whose titles include The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series, and The Corduroy Mansions series.

Two opportunities to meet with Smith are scheduled -- a lunch at the Amelita Mirolo Barn and an afternoon presentation at the Wellington School. Tickets to the lunch are $100 per person, with proceeds benefitting the Ann Royce Moore Fund at the foundation, established to host and grow future author visits to UA such as this.

The foundation has also recently announced plans for its second annual "Raise the Roof" fundraising event, scheduled for the evening of Friday, May 3, at the Amelita Mirolo Barn. Tickets for this event are $100 per person, but the foundation is also seeking event sponsors at an Evening Sponsor level of $1,000 or as a Legacy Sponsor at $5,000.

For details of these events, to purchase tickets and more, visit the website at uacommunityfoundation.com or "like" the Foundation on Facebook.

Master Plan comment

The contributors behind the 2001 Master Plan recognized that a visioning document would require periodic updates to capture and reflect a community in motion.

So we began the task of revisiting this document in early 2011, with seven UA City Council-led committees. Following a two-year update process, council is readying to adopt the 2012 Master Plan Update.

The final document review schedule is as follows:

* Tuesday, Feb. 19: council conference session discussion (meeting starts at 7:30 p.m.)

* Monday, Feb. 25: presentation to Board of Zoning & Planning (meeting starts at 7 p.m.)

* Monday, Feb. 25: first reading, public hearing at a council meeting (7:30 p.m.)

* Monday, March 4: formal action by the Board of Zoning & Planning (7 p.m.)

* Monday, March 11: second reading, public hearing, council action (meeting starts at 7:30 p.m.)

All meetings are set at the Municipal Services Center, 3600 Tremont Road. Visit uaoh.net to view the proposed 2012 Master Plan Update documents.

If you have questions about the Master Plan, call the city manager's office at 614-583-5040.

Theodore J. Staton is Upper Arlington's city manager.