Westerville plans to redevelop a portion of the city's southwest side, and will be receiving help from the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission in those efforts.
As part of their "Imagine Westerville" community plan, adopted in 2016, city staff members identified the Brooksedge area as one of several "strategic locations" that could be improved in a variety of ways.
In the Brooksedge portion -- largely consisting of office parks to the south of Schrock Road between Alum Creek and State Street -- the plan envisions a "modern office park that contains desirable office space with numerous amenities."
Improvements in the plan include the development of dining, cafes, "convenience retail," daycare facilities and improved recreation.
As part of that concept, the city applied for a grant through MORPC's insight2050 Technical Assistance Program, and was chosen as one of four recipients in central Ohio. MORPC will help Westerville craft a Brooksedge-specific development plan meant to "attract employers and employees alike, while reducing vehicular trips and providing opportunities for alternative means of transportation," according to a release.
According to Kerstin Carr, MORPC director of planning and environment, the goal of the grants was to help steer communities toward "context-sensitive infill and redevelopment opportunities and expanded transportation options."
"With the TA Program, MORPC will provide staff assistance to its member communities as they develop plans and policies that allow them to achieve more of those benefits, including a reduction in vehicle miles traveled and enhanced economic competitiveness," she said in a release.
Kim Sharp, Westerville's deputy director of planning and development, said MORPC's help will provide market analysis, stakeholder meetings and overall connectivity plans that address vehicles, bicycles, pedestrians and public transit. Sharp said the city reached out to MORPC for help on the project because of its potential importance to the city.
"The potential for the Brooksedge strategic location was made evident in the Westerville Community Plan," she said in an email. "This viable job center is in the perfect location for reinvestment, job growth and walkable, urban infill development, with its existing connections to Interstate 270, Schrock Road, regional bicycle connections and public transit stops and existing infrastructure, as well as opportunities of environmental and recreational access to Alum Creek."
According to Sharp, MORPC's grant will come in the form of staff hours. MORPC will provide 75 percent of the staff hours, with Westerville contributing 25 percent.
Sharp said construction on the project is expected to begin this fall, and will wrap up next year after six to eight months.