Two major developments that the city of Bexley had initially planned to move forward before the end the year are progressing at different stages.

According to recreation director Michael Price, construction is scheduled to begin by the end of the month on the Schneider Park athletic fields in the Ferndale Place/Mayfield Place neighborhood in southwest Bexley, while the relocation of the Jeffrey Mansion maintenance garage will most likely be delayed until 2018.

"We should break ground on the Schneider Park athletic fields in the next few weeks," Price said at the recreation board's Nov. 1 meeting at Bexley City Hall.

In September, Bexley City Council approved an ordinance authorizing a $290,000 expenditure from the city's recreation fund for the development of the Schneider Park athletic fields. The project increased from an initial estimate of $227,552 in 2015 to the current $551,502 due to the cost of remediating contamination from the site's former use as a landfill, Price and Bexley Mayor Ben Kessler said.

In addition to the city funding, the project received an $81,000 grant from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and an $81,000 grant from the Bexley Community Foundation.

The relocation of the maintenance garage at Jeffrey Mansion, 165 N. Parkview Ave., is designed to create more space for recreation programming, Price said. That project will involve converting the mansion's maintenance garage and filling in the adjacent carport to create a 3,100-square-foot space on the north side of the building.

The city allotted approximately $450,000 in the 2017 budget to relocate the maintenance garage to the existing Clifton House and adjacent garage on the Jeffrey Park grounds.The city hired architect Andrew Rosenthal with GRA+D LLC to draft initial concepts for the project, which called for the Clifton House to remain the same and for the garage to be rebuilt.

Two initial estimates from contractors to build a new maintenance garage have caused the project to be delayed, Price said.

"Part of the issue is contractors are really busy right now, apparently, and the price of stuff is really, really high," he said. "Part of the issue is, I think we missed the mark a little bit on how we (tailored) the design, relative to our budget."

Price said the relocation of the maintenance garage is essential to a larger Jeffrey Mansion expansion project that Kessler and the Bexley Community Foundation announced in September.

The expansion will involve enclosing the atrium with a glass ceiling, creating more space for programming, including preschool and summer camps.

The Jeffrey Mansion expansion is estimated to cost $1.5 million to $2 million. The Bexley Community Foundation has committed to raising $1 million and the city of Bexley will allot $500,000 to $1 million in funding, Kessler said.

For more information about the Jeffrey Mansion project, visit www.bexleycommunityfoundation.org.

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