City development expected to keep percolating
Development will be a key theme of 2013 for Westerville, as both private developers and the city move forward on major projects.
One of the largest projects the city will undertake is the extension of Olde Worthington Road to Polaris Parkway and the creation of a north-south connector between Polaris Parkway and County Line Road to the west of Alum Creek.
The city will begin engineering work for the project in the early spring, then will seek bids for summer construction, said Westerville City Manager Dave Collinsworth. Construction is expected to take 14 to 16 months, Collinsworth said.
In conjunction with the public roadway, private developers NP Limited and Trivium are expected to move forward with a 504-unit apartment complex that will line the roadway planned by the city.
Collinsworth said the two projects are dependent on one another, and the city won't begin construction on the roadway until the developers begin work on the site.
The city also will complete the first phase of improvements on South State Street by adding additional landscaping and signage near the interchange with Interstate 270, Collinsworth said, and will continue to upgrade existing streets as part of its annual street rehabilitation program.
Other significant public works projects by the city planned in 2013 include:
* A $3-million expansion of the city's Public Service Department facility;
* A $10-million overhaul of the water treatment plant, which is needed to bring the city into compliance with new federal water-treatment standards;
* A $1.4-million bicycle bridge over County Line Road, between North State Street and McCorkle Boulevard, about a mile west of Towers Park.
"That's a surface crossing now, and that's going to go over the roadway," Collinsworth said.
The bridge will be paid for with a $500,000 grant and through a tax agreement that's in place for that portion of the city.
Private development also is expected to percolate across the city in 2013, Collinsworth said.
In addition to the NP Limited-Trivium apartment complex:
* The Hadler Cos. is expected to finish its $16 million project to renovate and expand Westerville Square, at the northeast corner of South State Street and Schrock Road, including the addition of a 108,000 square foot Walmart. The new Walmart anchor store and renovations across the center are expected to be complete in late spring;
* The Daimler Group is expected to move forward on an office building at the corner of Polaris Parkway and Africa Road;
* The city also is working with an undisclosed developer on a plan for the site of the Kyoto Tea House and Shrine, 109 S. State St., which was torn down by the city last January.
Collinsworth said he can't release many details at this point, but the city hopes to see the site's redevelopment move forward this year.
"We initially thought there might be a mixed-use for the development there," Collinsworth said. "The developer we are talking to now is interested in a single use."
Other city government initiatives also will be at the forefront this year. The city will work on updating its Parks, Recreation and Open Space plan. And it aims to create a comprehensive land-use plan that will include an update of city code.
"That has not been done in a long time. Our zoning code is actually pretty ancient," Collinsworth said.
The city also will continue working with Blendon Township as the two entities move forward with their joint economic development zone agreement and plans to add an additional economic development staffer, the city manager said.