Westerville News & Public Opinion

City hosts open house on parking lot project

The $1.8 million project is for much more than just adding 20 parking spaces, manager says

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To incorporate Westerville Uptown Plan concepts and add about 20 extra parking spots, Westerville is preparing for a $1.8 million redevelopment of its Municipal Building parking lot.

The project will consist of reconstruction and expansion of the parking lot behind the Municipal Building, the creation of an alley system, revamped lighting, entry features on each side and other functional improvements.

Project manager Robb Beckstedt said the parking lot, "is failing, and needs to be improved," and said the costs go toward much more than expanding the lot behind 21 S. State St. and 29 S. State St. (the Westerville Division of Police headquarters) from 151 to 171 parking spots, including the alley additions (a focus of the Uptown Plan) and various structural fixes.

Westerville planners held an open house Monday, June 23, where residents could voice their opinions of the proposed project, and Beckstedt said he was pleased with the response.

"At this point, everything seems pretty positive," he said.

City Engineer Susan Banbury also said she had heard good feedback, and people are "encouraged by the increase in parking spots."

But she noted she had heard concerns about traffic on West Park Street, an east-west road directly south of the municipal complex.

Both Banbury and Beckstedt were quick to note that the plan is still very preliminary, and many of the details and specifics of the design could change drastically.

"Now, we take comments from the open house here, address those, and review with other staff," Beckstedt said.

City staff hopes to have a refined proposal ready for the Westerville Planning Commission meeting Aug. 27. It would then go to City Council for final approval.

As an early outline, construction would take place in two phases beginning in 2015, "so that parking can be maintained throughout the construction of the project."

The first phase would be construction south of Thomas Alley, including new parking lots, an alley and drive and parking area along the south side of the police building. Phase one is expected to be complete in June 2015.

The second phase is reconstruction of Thomas Alley and the parking lot and alley to the north. This phase of the project is expected to be completed by October 2015.

Landscaping, entry features and signs would be completed by October or November 2015.

The Westerville Planning and Development Department is still accepting feedback on the project. A form can be accessed at Westerville.org, or Banbury can be reached at susan.banbury@westerville.org.

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