Kicking off an East Broad Street reconstruction project and revitalizing the East Livingston Avenue corridor are among the 2015 initiatives Bexley Mayor Ben Kessler outlined in his State of the Community address.

Kicking off an East Broad Street reconstruction project and revitalizing the East Livingston Avenue corridor are among the 2015 initiatives Bexley Mayor Ben Kessler outlined in his State of the Community address.

The East Broad Street reconstruction is scheduled to begin in late April or early May and be completed by the end of 2016, Kessler said in giving the address Tuesday, March 3. The project will include the installation of new water lines, restructuring outside lanes and pavement resurfacing.

"We're going to do it in a way that's incredibly sensitive to traffic flow," Kessler said. "That's why it's a two-year project."

The project is being funded by the Ohio Public Works Commission, with 75 percent of the financing provided by a $4.9 million grant and the remaining 25 percent funded by a zero-interest loan from the commission, said city Service Director Bill Dorman.

East Livingston Avenue revitalization efforts include a new project in which the city is requesting easements from commercial properties so that trees can be added to the streetscape, Kessler said.

"What we're working on now is how we can go beyond aesthetics and really get to the core of improving conditions of Livingston Avenue and the streets right off of it," he said.

City Council is considering a program Kessler proposed last year designed to spur private development in the Ferndale Place/Mayfield Place neighborhood near East Livingston Avenue. The program would enable the city's Community Improvement Corp. to purchase up to two of the 18 properties in the area for up to the current estimated value of $60,000.

The goal is for the city to improve and maintain the properties and eventually attract private development. At council's Feb. 7 retreat at Jeffrey Mansion, council members said they would like to see a set of ordinances outlining the details of the property-acquisition program before moving forward.

The city also will continue to work with the Bexley Community Foundation to develop Alum Creek Park, which will border the Livingston Avenue corridor, Kessler said. Council also is considering a proposal to develop athletic fields in the Ferndale/Mayfield area near the city's community garden and is awaiting more details from Recreation Director Michael Price.

"We have a lot of projects underway, and City Council's talked about the best way to do it," Kessler said. "I think in 2015, we're going to see some real progress on that."

The State of the Community address gave residents an opportunity to tour the city's new municipal offices at the Bexley Square Shopping Center. The city relocated to its new space to make way for a new Giant Eagle Market District store that is scheduled to be built at the former site of City Hall at 2242 E. Main St. Construction is scheduled to begin this fall, with the store's opening scheduled for fall 2016.

The Bexley Service Department also is relocating to a newly renovated facility at 2777 and 2800 Delmar Drive. The Service Department is scheduled to be fully moved to its new facility by April 1, Kessler said.

In addition to the presentation from the city, representatives from local schools and community organizations reviewed 2014 accomplishments and gave updates on current developments. Speakers included Bexley Community Foundation Board Chairman Jim Gross, Bexley Public Library Director Rachel Rubin, Bexley Chamber of Commerce representative Colleen Krupp, Bexley City Schools Superintendent Mike Johnson, Capital University President Denvy Bowman, Columbus School for Girls Head of School Jennifer Ciccarelli and St. Charles Preparatory School Principal James Lower.