Bexley City Council members are scheduled to discuss the results of a new environmental assessment of the Ferndale Place/Mayfield Place neighborhood in southwest Bexley during a retreat scheduled May 1.

The session will be held at 6 p.m. at City Hall, 2242 E. Main St.

The Community Improvement Corporation, the city's nonprofit development entity, authorized the assessment in February. Environmental attorney Frank Reed and environmental consultant Atul Pandey proposed the assessment at an estimated cost of $43,000, according to city attorney Marc Fishel.

"The goal of the retreat ... (is) to hear the results (of the latest environmental assessment), hear the recommendations and get together a plan for moving forward," Councilwoman Mary Gottesman, chairwoman of council's Strategic Committee, said at the CIC's April 2 meeting.

During the retreat, council and CIC members will discuss "the next steps and where we're headed," Gottesman said.

The most recent environmental testing in the Ferndale/Mayfield neighborhood came after city council authorized the payment of $290,000 last fall to abate environmental contamination in the Schneider Park athletic fields that the city is developing. When the city began developing the fields, environmental tests showed elevated levels of arsenic, hydrocarbons and other contaminants.

A subsequent environmental test completed in December showed similar contamination levels in the city right of way, according to Reed.

The new environmental assessment is being conducted at two residential rental properties the CIC acquired in December. The CIC purchased the properties through a city program in which properties can be acquired as they become available, undergo renovation and eventually be sold back to private owners.

Also at the April 2 meeting, city officials and CIC members discussed how to redevelop the Ferndale/Mayfield area while maintaining affordable-housing options.

Jeff Beam, a Bexley resident and representative with the Community Builders, a Boston-based nonprofit real estate developer, spoke about redevelopment projects the organization has completed in neighborhoods around the country that are similar to Ferndale/Mayfield.

Beam cited a mixed-use redevelopment in Cincinnati's Avondale neighborhood as an example.

"We work almost exclusively in urban environments," Beam said.

Environmental hazards "aren't things that we're unaccustomed to," he said.

Bexley will increase the likelihood of successfully redeveloping the Ferndale/Mayfield area if it is able to partner with the city of Columbus to promote economic development in the nearby East Livingston Avenue commercial corridor, Beam said.

"Mayfield's biggest problem is its isolation," Beam said. "You do need substantial-enough change on the (East Livingston Avenue) corridor to help drive what could change the economy."

The purpose of the discussion with Beam was to explore long-term options for redeveloping Ferndale/Mayfield, said Andrew Madison, a CIC member.

"We don't know (specifics) yet, but we know that Community Builders is a potentially good resource for us," he said.

For more information about the May 1 retreat, visit www.bexley.org.

editorial@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekNews