Orange might be the new blue in Hilliard in 2018, according to Hilliard leaders.
But the presence of orange barrels and construction equipment continues to propel Hilliard forward, they said.
"At any given time, we have about a dozen different prospects," said David Meadows, Hilliard's economic-development director.
At the top of the list is the new Hilliard branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library.
The $15.8 million, two-story library is expected to open by June in what was intended to be a community center for Hickory Chase, a luxury senior-citizen community that Baltimore-based Erickson Communities began building before filing for bankruptcy protection in 2009.
Hilliard bought 6.8 of the 58-acre campus at the southeast corner of Davidson and Leap roads for $6 million from California-based Greenwich Investors Hickory Chase LLC; the city then gave the Columbus Metropolitan Library the land. Meanwhile, the library system bought the Hickory Chase clubhouse from the company for $800,000.
"I don't think we could have found a better use for the building," said Mayor Don Schonhardt.
Meanwhile, roadwork will be a constant this year.
One major project will be an $8 million roundabout at Leppert and Scioto Darby roads.
"It's the largest infrastructure improvement project we will have underway (in 2018)," Schonhardt said.
Most of the project's cost – which does not include right-of-way acquisition and utility relocation completed last year and in 2016 – is funded by a $1.75 million grant and a $5.4 million no-interest loan from the Ohio Public Works Commission, according to the city.
The construction might cause short-term headaches this summer but it will improve traffic flow upon completion in fall 2019, Schonhardt said.
As part of the project, Scioto Darby will be widened to five lanes with curbs and gutters between Bradford Drive and Leppert Road; a three-lane section will be constructed between Leppert and Cosgray roads. A roundabout also will be constructed on Scioto Darby at Veterans Memorial Drive.
Pedestrian crossings and multiuse paths will be included in the projects.
The first phase of the project begins this year with the work on Leppert and the north side of Scioto Darby; work on the south side of Scioto Darby is scheduled for 2019.
Other local infrastructure improvements in 2018 are designed to improve aesthetics and parking, particularly in and near Old Hilliard.
One such project is the improvement of Franklin Street from Main Street to its eastern terminus at the entrance of the Landmark Lofts mixed-use development.
Right-of-way acquisition and utility relocation is planned this year; construction is scheduled for 2019. The cost for the entire project – construction, design, right of way and utilities – is $2.9 million.
Work also is expected to begin in 2018 and extend into 2019 on modifications to three roundabouts identified last year in a Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission report as having among the highest accident rates in Hilliard.
Almost $2 million has been budgeted for the pair of roundabouts on Main Street at Cemetery and Scioto Darby roads and the roundabout at Davidson Road and Britton Parkway.