Residents will have opportunities to provide feedback about the final draft of the updated Southwest Bexley Master Plan when the document comes before city council this month.

The schedule is still being finalized, but council is tentatively scheduled to discuss the first reading of legislation to formally adopt the Southwest Bexley Master Plan Update on June 13, said Lori Ann Feibel, chairwoman of city council's Strategic Committee and a member of the committee that worked to update the plan.

Council will take up the third and final reading sometime in August after it returns from summer recess, she said.

The purpose of updating the plan is not only to revisit goals from the original 2003 document, but also to provide guidelines for the city as it considers economic development, recreational opportunities and other quality-of-life issues in Bexley's southwest quadrant for years to come, Feibel said.

"We've been calling it a strategic framework," she said. "It gives us a guide as to where we as a community, the representatives that were elected to represent Bexley, what all of those individuals see for that area and hope for, for that area."

The current draft includes recommendations for improving East Livingston Avenue by adding mixed-use buildings and traffic-calming measures, maintaining current building heights and providing more parking along East Main Street, and enhancing relations between Capital University and surrounding neighborhoods.

At a series of public workshops held last fall and earlier this year, residents indicated they value being able to use Capital University's front lawn along East Main Street, where the Main Event summer entertainment series and Fourth of July activities are held each year.

"It was clear that that lawn needs to stay put," rather than being redeveloped, Feibel said. "It gives us a gathering space."

The Southwest Bexley Master Plan also contains recommendations for revitalizing the Ferndale Place/Mayfield Place neighborhood while maintaining affordable housing.

Feibel said she is hopeful that athletic fields currently under construction in the area will be a boon, along with efforts by Mayor Ben Kessler, city council and the city's Community Improvement Corp. to identify rental properties in the area that the city can purchase, renovate and return to the private market.

"I think that the fields and the connection of the fields to the rest of the eastern part (of the city) helps," Feibel said. "I don't know if it's the answer.

"That area, it's a concern, it's a quandary that we all have to address. The CIC is wrapping its arms around it, council is wrapping its arms around it. The mayor is doing everything he can," she said.

Response to the final draft of the Southwest Bexley Master Plan Update was generally positive at the final public workshop, held May 18 at Bexley City Hall, Feibel said.

"We had somewhere between 75 and 80 people there. It was more of a presentation than a workshop," she said. "It was, 'This is where we are with it.' "

The Southwest Bexley Master Plan Update steering committee unanimously approved the plan's final draft on May 25, Feibel said.

The committee consisted of members appointed by Kessler, council President Tim Madison, and those representing Capital University, Trinity Lutheran Seminary, the Bexley Chamber of Commerce and the South Bexley Neighborhood Association.

If approved by council, the updated plan will be used to guide the city's decisions that will determine the long-term future of the area, Feibel said. But the city would still need cooperation from the city of Columbus and community organizations in and surrounding Bexley to execute the plan, she added.

"If the opportunity avails itself, we'll do everything we can to make it happen," she said. "We need a lot of help from a lot of organizations to make it a reality."

Council's June 13 meeting will be held at 6 p.m. at Bexley City Hall, 2242 E. Main St. For more information about the updated plan and to view the final draft, visit Bexley.org/swbmp.

editorial@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekNews