Upper Arlington's city council and city manager Ted Staton reflected on the past year and highlighted projects for 2012 during the Jan. 23 State of the City Address.

Upper Arlington's city council and city manager Ted Staton reflected on the past year and highlighted projects for 2012 during the Jan. 23 State of the City Address.

"We begin 2012 with some very serious work ahead of us, but we also begin the year from a position of strength and preparedness that affords us the opportunity and benefit of time to explore and find the right mix of solutions to the financial challenges ahead," Staton said in his introduction.

Under the banner of "Arlington 2.0," the State of the City Address on Monday evening included a community fair with exhibits erected in city hall by community organizations and city departments, and culminated with the naming of the 2011 Community Awards winners. Each council member addressed a different piece of the city's recently updated master plan, Arlington's 10-year planning document that addresses everything from financial policy to housing and safety concerns.

"All the components of the master plan are interdependent … but in order for us to achieve our quality of life goals we must keep our economic base strong on a number of levels," council member John Adams said.

"Upper Arlington continues to enjoy Triple A financial ratings from Moody's and Standard & Poors, at a time when other communities, even nations, are being downgraded. This stamp of approval demonstrates that, at this time, our base is indeed strong and our policies are working."

Adams said that in coming years, the city will face more than a 10-percent revenue reduction, stemming from losses in local government funding and the elimination of the estate tax. Making adjustments to the city's economic development "toolbox," he said, will be needed to provide support to existing businesses, create an environment that encourages start-ups, build upon the city's niche market for smaller office users, and encourage existing property owners to make building upgrades that meet today's business needs.

Mayor Frank Ciotola addressed land use in the city.

"An attribute that makes Upper Arlington so unique and desirable as a place to call home is its residential feel," Ciotola said. "…But in order to support our way of life in the years ahead, we are becoming increasingly reliant on how our commercial districts are utilized."

Ciotola discussed the proposed hotel on Lane Avenue and progress in the Kingsdale Shopping Center as examples of positive land use in the city.

"Pursuing a mixture of uses with real revenue- generating potential within (commercial districts) continues to be a goal," he said. "Such an approach lends itself to denser redevelopment projects, with user demand peaking at different times in the day. For example, as residents leave for the day, offices and shops open for business."

Council member Don Leach talked about the city's transportation and infrastructure plans, pointing out work to be done in the Lane Avenue corridor in 2012.

"We will see some results taking shape this year, including the installation of traffic calming measures for Brandon and Chester, a Lane Avenue road diet for the commercial district, and additional traffic-calming measures on Wellesley, Beaumont and Ashdowne that will be triggered by both Whole Foods and the new mixed-use project," Leach said.

Council members touched on other aspects of the master plan, including housing and community facilities, community involvement and appearance, technology and sustainability, and how the master plan will be implemented.

"We may not all agree on how to proceed relative to the projects and issues that will arise along the way to implementing our plans, but if we do support the overarching drivers behind them, it can help us understand why something is being pursued for the good of the whole, and it can help bring opposing viewpoints closer together," council member David DeCapua said. "The Upper Arlington of today is in good health and poised for taking on the next chapter."