As part of its long-range plan to acquire green space along Alum Creek, the city of Westerville is seeking funds to purchase a portion of land on the Westar property near Cleveland Avenue and Polaris Parkway.

As part of its long-range plan to acquire green space along Alum Creek, the city of Westerville is seeking funds to purchase a portion of land on the Westar property near Cleveland Avenue and Polaris Parkway.

City officials are drafting a grant application to the Ohio Public Works Commission through the Clean Ohio fund.

Many of the details have yet to be hashed out, such as how much land the city will seek to purchase and a potential price, because the grant has not yet been written, said Jody Stowers, director of the Westerville Parks and Recreation Department.

The grant application is due by the end of August, Stowers said, and the department will be working out the details as the application is completed.

The acquisition of land along Alum Creek is consistent with the city's Parks and Recreation Open Space (PROS) 2020 plan. Ideally, Stowers said, Westerville would have green space or easements along all of Alum Creek within city limits.

"We have really strived for acquisitions or easements along Alum Creek," she said.

Purchasing land along Alum Creek helps the city improve the creek's water quality, preserves the creek and has the potential to allow the city to add to its bikeways and greenways, city manager Dave Collinsworth said.

"This is really done for water quality purposes and flood plain and habitat preservation," he said. "There's kind of multiple aims intended with this purchase."

The grant would cover up to 75 percent of the land acquisition cost, Collinsworth said, but the city has not yet made an offer to the landowner to know what that cost may be.

"There's been an initial contact" with the landowner, Collinsworth said. "There's not been a formal purchase offer made."

The amount requested in the grant also will depend on how much money is available through the Clean Ohio fund.

"We have to kind of get a feel for what kind of money is available before we submit that request," Collinsworth said.

If the grant were not approved, Collinsworth said he is unsure whether the city would still try to purchase the land.

"There's a lot of factors that will drive that," he said.

jnesbitt@thisweeknews.com