Citing Whitehall's healthy financial situation, strides in improving the city's curb appeal and new corporate development, Mayor Kim Maggard outlined the city's recent accomplishments and goals March 3 during her State of the City address.

Citing Whitehall's healthy financial situation, strides in improving the city's curb appeal and new corporate development, Mayor Kim Maggard outlined the city's recent accomplishments and goals March 3 during her State of the City address.

At the conclusion of her 28-minute address, given in City Council chambers, Maggard said she hopes the community will "see the opportunities we're creating."

Maggard reported the city's total revenue was up 3.8 percent in 2014, compared with a revenue increase of 0.5 percent in 2013. The city's revenue-over-expenditures equaled almost $500,000 in 2014, Maggard said.

"We will continue looking at new and innovative ways to alleviate the burden on the general fund by increasing revenue and finding ways to save money to secure Whitehall's future," Maggard said.

As an example, Maggard cited a savings of about $275,000 last year as a result of city workers who opted to use the Whitehall Employee Health and Wellness Center, a clinic on South Yearling Road that opened in February 2013.

The city will build on the concept of the wellness center this year through a proposed cost-sharing agreement with the Whitehall City School District that would allow district employees to use the center, Maggard said.

If approved, the agreement also would bring expanded hours and additional medical procedures to the center, Maggard said.

Coupled with the cost-savings efforts, Maggard said, the city will continue to work to increase revenue.

"By working with businesses, both large and small, and development-focused organizations such as Columbus 2020 and the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission, we are creating an environment that encourages growth and investment," Maggard said.

She cited the opening of a new office of Franklin County Children Services in 2013; Wallick Communities' plans to convert a former Ramada Inn into a luxury assisted-living facility; the future opening of Priority Designs; and continuing development at the Airport South Commerce and Tech Park as examples of such growth.

"Another way we're looking to enhance development within Whitehall is by completing an economic-development strategic plan," said Maggard, adding that a proposal for such a plan is expected to be presented to council for consideration "within the next few weeks."

Maggard spoke about the success of last year's Home Reinvestment Program and shared that the program -- which provides grants to qualified homeowners to help pay for exterior improvements -- would continue in 2015.

"We know from talking with homeowners that the program created a snowball effect" in which residents who saw neighbors make improvements were inspired to do so themselves, said Maggard, adding that the program will be augmented by a new partnership with Rebuilding Together Central Ohio.

In May, the organization will band with volunteers to make improvements to residences in the Country Club Village neighborhood.

In addition to efforts to improve residential areas, Maggard outlined infrastructure improvements planned for 2015, including the repaving of South Hamilton Road between Fairway Boulevard and East Main Street, and the construction of a median on East Main Street between Collingwood and Maplewood avenues.

Maggard spoke about the city's plans to refurbish the activities center at Whitehall Community Park and about the new Whitehall branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library, on East Broad Street east of South Yearling Road, scheduled to open April 11.

"This is an amenity we can all be proud of," Maggard said of the library, adding it will be the first in the system to have a drive-through lane for picking up and dropping off materials.

Combined, all the accomplishments and goals epitomize the city's slogan, "Opportunity is here," Maggard said.

"The thing about opportunity, though, is that it doesn't just happen -- you have to create it," she said. "I, along with my administration, am working to do just that each and every day."