Investment follows construction.

Investment follows construction.

City Manager Matt Greeson and Ohio Department of Transportation District 6 director Ferzan Ahmed both made that point during the Groundhog Day Community Forecast Breakfast on Feb. 3 at Brookside Country Club.

Both referred to the traffic jams resulting from the reconstruction of the Interstate 270/U.S. Route 23 interchange on Worthington's north side.

During the question-and-answer panel discussion, Ahmed was the frequent focus of audience members, who wanted to know how much longer the project would take and how much longer they would have to wait in traffic in 2014.

About two years and five to 10 minutes each trip, Ahmed said.

Work on the ramps will be completed in the coming year, and construction of the trench in the middle northbound lanes on North High Street will begin, he said. Traffic will be maintained, but the congestion could get worse before it gets better.

He urged everyone to be patient.

"We need to celebrate construction, not think of it as something negative," he said.

Greeson, Worthington City Schools Superintendent Thomas Tucker and Worthington Libraries director Chuck Gibson each emphasized the positives as they answered questions during the annual event, which is put on by the Worthington Area Chamber of Commerce.

Upon completion, the interchange will mean more tenants in north Worthington offices and continued improvements to Wilson Bridge Road, Greeson predicted.

The city is making numerous improvements to the Wilson Bridge corridor, preparing for the day when the area will be more accessible, he said.

"We're better prepared than ever before," he said.

The Wilson Bridge multiuse path should be finished by summer, and the city will continue to work on leasing the 752 building and on updating the comprehensive plan to reflect community and city preferences for redevelopment of the United Methodist Children's Home site, Greeson said.

"(The year) 2014 is going to be an exciting year," he said.

Preparing students for college and careers will continue to be the main goal of the schools, Tucker said.

He said he expects to meet with business leaders this year to discuss which skills are most needed in the workplace.

When asked by a real-estate agent about any differences in Worthington's schools, he said no. Some options are offered for students with the alternative middle school and high school, for example, but curriculum is basically the same across the district.

Though enrollment is beginning to increase following years of decreases, redrawing district lines is not needed at this time, Tucker said.

Gibson said he was grateful that voters had approved the library levy so overwhelmingly in November. He said plans call for continuing to develop programs and redefine the library's role.

Among specific plans for 2014 are presentation of the Ohio Chautauqua; the addition of visual items to the collection; and the redesign of the local history website, Gibson said.

"We are what we are because of all of you," he said.