Worthington News

Looking back on 2012

Mall's revival was biggest story of Worthington's year

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The Ohio Department of Transportation's plans for the I-270 interchange with U.S. Route 23 includes redesigned ramps to eliminate the weaving patterns of traffic at entrances and exits.
By ThisWeek Community News  • 

The year 2012 might long be remembered as the year life returned to the mall.

Renovations were completed, and more than a dozen new stores opened at The Shops at Worthington Place, which had been purchased a year earlier by local resident Tom Carter and his business partners from Texas.

The new stores and restaurants included Orvis, Pies & Pints, Panera Bread, FrontRunner, Swan Cleaners and Worthington Dental, to name just a few. Construction began on Piada, the popular Italian restaurant going in on the southeast side of the mall.

Near the end of the year, plans were announced that apartment buildings were to be built at the mall, moving the development toward a final goal of being a mixed-use center with retail, residential and office uses.

Beyond the mall, development also occurred at the south end of High Street, where Natalie's Coal Fired Pizza opened. Besides food, the restaurant offers live entertainment several times a week.

Dewey's Pizza also announced plans to build at the site of the old BP station in downtown Worthington, but construction had not started by the end of the year. Work was progressing on an Ace Hardware that will open in the former CVS site at North and High streets.

Development that wasn't welcomed by residents made the headlines in September, when Frank Kass of Continental Realty announced tentative plans to build a Giant Eagle on the United Methodist Children's Home site. More than 200 people attended a meeting to object. At the end of the year, no further plans had been announced.

Motorists and city leaders went into a tailspin early in the year after the state announced that plans to improve the I-270/U.S. Route 23 interchange would be delayed by as much as 20 years. Following a letter-writing campaign and pressure from municipal and business leaders, the plans were reinstated and construction is set to begin in summer 2013.

The other big story from 2012 involved development of a different kind. In July, the city opened the dog park at Godown Park, which resulted from years of hard work by volunteers working with the cities of Worthington and Columbus.

The following is a month-by-month highlight of 2012:

JANUARY

Doug Smith and Rachael Dorothy were sworn in at Worthington City Council. They unseated Dave Norstrom and Robert Schmidt in the November 2011 election.

The long-planned improvements to the I-270/U.S. Route 23 interchange would be delayed by as much as 20 years because of a budget shortfall, the Ohio Department of Transportation announced. City leaders urged residents to contact ODOT to register their concerns.

FEBRUARY

The city was denied a $250,000 federal grant to rehabilitate the Davis home at 141 Sharon Springs Drive. The house was the site of the shooting of a 17-year-old cheerleader by Allen Davis, who is serving a 16-year prison term.

MARCH

Dewey's Pizza announced plans to build at the site of the former BP station on the southeast corner of High Street and New England Avenue in downtown Worthington.

APRIL

Worthington police began a project that divides the city into 13 zones, with an officer assigned to each. Officers are to establish contact with residents and businesses in their zone and help solve problems that arise.

The Shops at Worthington Place announced five new tenants: FrontRunner Shoes, Kenneth's Hair Salons, Swan Cleaners, Worthington Dental and Orvis. Orvis, a high-end outdoor retailer, planned to build at the north main entrance to the mall.

MAY

Plans were announced to open Natalie's Coal Fired Pizza in renovated space at 5601 N. High St. It would serve the only coal-fired pizza in Ohio, and live music would be performed there on a regular basis, according to owner Charlie Jackson.

Local women from the Women's Army Corps were the grand marshals of the Memorial Day parade.

JUNE

Council approved the city's first community entertainment district (CED), which would allow six additional liquor permits to be issued at the Shops at Worthington Place. Earlier legislation had opened the CED option in Worthington, allowing more establishments selling alcohol to locate in certain areas.

Pies & Pints and Piada were the latest tenants to announce plans to open at the Shops at Worthington Place.

A June 29 storm left 75 percent to 90 percent of residents without power, with some not being restored for more than a week.

JULY

The community's first dog park opened at Godown Park. It is a joint project of the cities of Worthington and Columbus and the Worthington Organized Off-leash Friends (WOOF).

The city closed part of McCoy Avenue after a culvert was damaged during heavy rains. City Council voted to move ahead with emergency repairs.

AUGUST

Worthington Industries purchased the office building at 200 Old West Wilson Bridge Road, where it had leased space for its corporate offices for nearly a decade.

SEPTEMBER

More than 200 residents attended at a meeting to object to plans to build a Giant Eagle store on the United Methodist Children's Home site.

OCTOBER

City leaders were pleased to learn that the I-270/U.S. Route 23 project would get started in 2013.

Developer Frank Kass said he no longer plans to build a large Giant Eagle at UMCH. A citizens group called Worthington Alliance for Responsible Development (WARD) formed to try to have some influence on the development of the property.

Council voted to endorse the school bond issue and operating levy.

Schreiner Ace Hardware made plans to move into the former CVS building on the northeast corner of High and North streets.

Plans to construct apartment buildings on the north and northwest sides of the Shops at Worthington Place went before city boards and commissions.

NOVEMBER

Orvis, a high-end outdoor retailer and fly-fishing store with locations all over the country, opened at the Shops at Worthington Place.

Four liquor options passed easily. They will allow alcohol to be served at the old Kilbourne Library building at 752 High St. The city owns the building, which has been vacant for a decade.

DECEMBER

Law director Mike Minister and service director Dave Groth retired.

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