The Jeffrey Mansion expansion, the opening of the new Schneider Park athletic fields in southwest Bexley and the development of new public gardens in the city's northern area are among Bexley's upcoming projects in 2018.

Also on the agenda will be a ceremony to swear in new Bexley City Council member Monique Lampke and a review of the city's charter.

The city and the Bexley Community Foundation announced the Jeffrey Mansion expansion last fall. The project was prompted, in part, by a 200 percent increase in community participation in the city's recreation programming in the past five years, Mayor Ben Kessler said.

"As the recreation department programs have grown in recent years, we've been increasingly tight on space for classes and activities," he said. "In 2018, thanks in part to a commitment of $1 million grant from the Bexley Community Foundation, the city is undertaking a planning process to plan new space at Jeffrey Mansion."

Kessler said the city will post updates about the expansion on the city's website, Bexley.org.

The city broke ground last month on the Schneider Park athletic fields, which Kessler said is the first expansion of Bexley athletic space in decades.

The fields are located in Schneider Park's southern extension, just west of Charles at Sheridan Avenue, near the Ferndale Place/Mayfield Place neighborhood. The project is being funded by an $81,00 grant from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and an $81,000 grant from the Bexley Community Foundation.

Bexley City Council also voted last fall to allot $290,000 from the city's Recreation Fund to remediate environmental issues at the site.

"The new space provides much-needed athletic fields space, helps to environmentally remediate this former landfill site and once finished, will provide a playground and better pedestrian connectivity to the southwest neighborhoods of Bexley," Kessler said.

"With the project currently underway, the fields are scheduled to be open in the fall of 2018," Kessler said.

The current site of the city's community gardens is adjacent to Schneider Park. While many of those plots will remain, a Bexley Community Foundation grant will enable the gardens to expand to a site in north Bexley, Kessler said.

"The North Bexley Community Gardens will feature 52 new plots with access to water spigots, a community garden shed and a pergola/gathering space," he said.

"The first 26 plots will be developed for the 2018 growing season, with the remainder planned for build out next year. This new community garden space is fully booked thanks to an overflow waiting list from the existing community gardens," Kessler said.

Bexley City Council was scheduled to swear in Lampke and elect a new president at a Jan. 2 special meeting.

Tim Madison, the outgoing council president, said he is recommending the city undertake a charter review in 2018 to update several provisions.

"There are things that need to be reviewed -- even menial things like being required to have a meeting on Jan. 2," when city officials are sometimes away on holiday travel, he said.

No timeline for the charter review has been established.

For more information, visit the city's website.

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