The public will have at least two opportunities this summer to provide input that will determine the future of Jeffrey Mansion, 165 N. Parkview Ave.

The Jeffrey Mansion Master Plan Refresh Committee held its first meeting April 3 at Bexley City Hall. The committee's purpose is to update the 2008 Jeffrey Mansion master plan before an expansion that the city and the Bexley Community Foundation announced last year moves forward, Mayor Ben Kessler said.

"There had been about 10 years since there had been any sort of input from residents about what they wanted to see out of this plan," Kessler said.

On April 3, the eight-member committee, Kessler and recreation director Michael Price discussed a tentative meeting schedule. That schedule sets aside June 19 and July 24 for the public to weigh in on ideas for expanding Jeffrey Mansion. Those sessions would be at City Hall.

"We really want to get the community involved in the process," Price said.

The tentative schedule also calls for the committee and Columbus-based consulting firm Schooley Caldwell Associates, which is overseeing the planning process, to meet with Jeffrey Mansion "user groups" throughout May. User groups include recreation program instructors and participants, event-planning representatives, preschool teachers and parents, and those who participate in programming for older adults.

"We worked with the parks and rec department to identify user groups," said Tim Velazco, a Schooley Caldwell project manager and Bexley resident. "We're going to need each of those groups to provide input."

The committee also should evaluate how other communities utilize recreation space, said Lisa Macklin, a committee member.

While updating the Jeffrey Mansion master plan, the committee should "look at best practices out there," Macklin said. "What are some other rec centers doing?"

The Jeffrey Mansion expansion, which the city and the community foundation announced last fall, is estimated to cost $1.5 million to $2 million.

The foundation has committed to raising $1 million. The project will involve enclosing the atrium with a glass ceiling, creating more space for a variety of programming, including preschool and summer camps.

The master-plan update will assist the foundation in its fundraising efforts, said Jeff Walker, who serves as the foundation's representative to the Jeffrey Mansion Master Plan Refresh Committee.

"The capital campaign will then start once we have a concept" for the expansion, Walker said.

The tentative schedule calls for the committee to conclude its work in August but that is subject to change, depending on committee members' availability, Price said.

The final master-plan update is scheduled to go for approval before the city of Bexley's Recreation Board and Bexley City Council in September.

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