The city of Bexley plans to expand Jeffrey Mansion with support from the Bexley Community Foundation.

Bexley Mayor Ben Kessler and foundation representatives announced the initiative at the foundation's annual fall gathering Sept. 27 at the Franklin Park Conservatory & Botanical Gardens' Wells Barn.

The Jeffrey Mansion expansion is estimated to cost between $1.5 million and $2 million, and the foundation has committed to raising $1 million, Kessler said.

"$500,000 to $1 million will be allotted from the city's General Fund and the Recreation Fund, and we're also seeking state grant funding dollars," he said.

The foundation has launched its first-ever capital campaign, known as the Jeffrey Mansion Project, to support the facility's continued viability, said Hallie Raskin, the foundation's executive director.

"It's our community center. It's the hub of the community," she said. "There's everything from preschool kids to seniors. It's time to upgrade the facility and make it the best it can be."

The project will involve enclosing the atrium with a glass ceiling, creating more space for a variety of programming, including preschool and summer camps, Kessler said.

"We've really experienced explosive growth in our programming," he said. "Overall program enrollment has gone up by 50 percent. That has resulted in a healthy Recreation Fund balance, but it's increased the amount of pressure on our space. The project is an advantage for the types of programs we would like to have."

The new space will be Americans with Disabilities Act-accessible and house a catering kitchen that will enable the mansion to accommodate more special-event rentals, increasing the capacity from the current 85 occupants up to 200 occupants, Kessler said.

"It's both a programming need and an event space need," he said.

Kessler said the expansion is separate from the planned $450,000 relocation of Jeffrey Mansion's maintenance garage, which was announced earlier this year. That project is designed to create 4,000 square feet of programming space. Construction on the maintenance garage relocation is tentatively scheduled to begin in 2018.

For more information about the Jeffrey Mansion Project, visit bexleycommunity foundation.org.

editorial@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekNews