Construction on the Wilson Bridge Road multiuse trail is expected to begin Monday, March 17.
Worthington received grant funding of $150,000 through the Ohio Department of Natural Resources' Recreation Trails program in 2012. Phase 1 of the project will reach from the Olentangy Parklands to the intersection of Wilson Bridge Road and North High Street.
A community planning process helped in deciding the location of the path, as well as the landscaping that would accompany it. The plan requires the removal of about 90 trees, mostly osage orange trees didn't have much life left, Worthington parks and recreation director Darren Hurley said.
"Those osage orange trees were close to the end of their average life span," Hurley told ThisWeek. "Several of them were dead or dying, and that weighed heavily in our decision."
One requirement is that work involving the trees must be done before the end of March to avoid disturbing the habitat of the Indiana bat, which could be in the trees as early as April, Hurley said.
Because of the significant tree loss and the visual effect of their absence, an "aggressive replacement plan" was developed in conjunction with City Council's arbor advisory committee to replace the lost trees with a variety of new ones.
"There was obviously a lot of concern about taking down that many trees, both on our part and the part of a lot of the neighbors and residents," Hurley said. "We went through a pretty elaborate landscape planning process."
The 1.1-mile multiuse trail will contain a half a mile of 8-foot-wide trail before turning into a shared section of road with marked bike lanes, with the final 0.1-mile stretch becoming another 8-foot-wide trail.
Phase 2 involves continuing the path to the east and connecting it with the Worthington Community Center and McCord Park.
During some of the process of removing trees, traffic might be reduced to one lane, possibly resulting in delays for drivers, but Hurley said he doesn't expect any significant slowdowns for extended periods of time.
Hurley said he's excited about getting the project started and hopes it could help reinvigorate the area.
"This project has been talked about in different planning documents for several years," he said. "We're excited that this is one of the main projects that will hopefully revive and bring some life to the corridor."
No change in schedule for council meetings
After discussing the potential of changing its meeting schedule again, Worthington City Council on March 10 decided to retain its schedule.
Despite an argument from council member David Norstrom in favor of a change, no council members were willing to second his motion to even adopt a temporary trial for, and it was determined that meetings should continue to be held three times a month.
The main reason to change the meeting schedule would be to save time and effort -- and therefore money -- from all involved in the preparation for each meeting, Norstrom said.
"It seems to me that there's kind of a philosophy behind this of managing how much time is spent in preparation for the meetings," council member Doug Smith said. "Is there some other way of doing that?"
Council members and City Manager Matt Greeson discussed such options as moving to an electronic system for distributing agendas and memos and agreed that steps should be taken to streamline the process.
Ultimately, council member Bob Chosy motioned that the council move forward with three meetings per month but continue to make attempts to modernize the process.
Norstrom was the only dissenter. Council member Scott Myers was absent again.