Pickerington and Violet Township officials are in "future mode" now as tasks to be completed in the new year come into focus.

Violet Township Director of Operations John Eisel said the township has several high-priority projects on the front burner in 2018, including a proposed community center.

"Residents can look forward to beginning serious planning and programming to make this long overdue amenity a reality," Eisel said.

Violet Township was awarded a technical-assistance grant in 2017 from the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission to assist in planning projects, including a community center, along the Refugee Road corridor. The township received positive feedback for such a facility in results gleaned from a 2016 survey performed by a market-research firm.

"The survey ... overwhelmingly demonstrated community support of the concept and funding," Eisel said. "I am confident that progress towards this priority will be very exciting in 2018."

Paving program

Roadway improvements also will take center stage as the township continues to authorize paving improvements.

"With proceeds from our 2016 road levy, we are again dedicating a minimum of $1 million in 2018 to continue resurfacing and (for) maintenance of our 105-mile roadway network," Eisel said.

Violet Township Engineer Greg Butcher said the paving program's scope will be identified in the first quarter of 2018, after a review of the winter's impact on roadways.

Violet Township also will replace deteriorated curbs and gutters in various subdivisions dependent on a Ohio Public Works Commission grant application submitted last October.

"We'll have a better idea in late January after we receive word on whether we received the grant," Butcher said.

One of the more ambitious plans for 2018 is to continue promotion of the concept of a U.S. Route 33 to Interstate 70 connector in the eastern part of Violet Township, Butcher said.

The project was identified in the 2016 to 2040 MORPC Metropolitan Transportation Plan.

"Alignment, funding (and) timeframe are unknown, but we anticipate a high-level thoroughfare plan study to be completed in 2018," Butcher said.

New fire house

Township officials also look forward to the new Station 591 in Olde Pickerington Village opening in early 2018.

The $5 million state-of-the-art facility will anchor the downtown area and replaces old Station 591, which was outdated for modern firefighting needs.

Refugee Road

Pickerington officials have a huge project on the slate in 2018 with the Refugee Road widening project slated to start in the summer.

The Refugee Road Corridor Improvement Project is a $13 million project that will also include resurfacing, reconstruction, intersection improvements and a bike path.

City Engineer Scott Tourville said the project's goal will be to help move traffic and promote safety along Refugee Road. At least one lane of traffic will be maintained on Refugee Road during the construction.

Windmiller Dam

Pickerington City Manager Bill Vance said completing the Windmiller Dam project is another priority for the city in 2018.

The city plans to eliminate the existing pond and dam located off Gray Drive and restore the stream channel while providing "eco-system enhancements" to the 10-acre parcel.

The removal project is estimated to cost $400,000 and is in the 2018 budget.

Economic outlook

Maintaining a robust economy is of paramount import in 2018, Vance said.

"Ensuring the continuation of Pickerington, responsibly accommodating the significant job-creating and tax-base-increasing investments" that Pickerington depends upon is another goal for 2018, he said.

The Route 256 Safety Project completed in 2016 is paying dividends in terms of accessibility to businesses along the corridor.

"We are continuously receiving inquiries from businesses interested in coming to Pickerington," said Liberty Schindel, Pickerington's economic development director.

"I believe the future of Pickerington to be very bright," she said.