The city of Bexley marked its 110th anniversary Aug. 12 with a celebration at the Main Event on Capital University's front lawn.
The celebration was presented by the Bexley Community Foundation's 1908 Society, which the foundation established last year and allows individuals, groups and organizations to make minimum donations of $19.08 to advance community causes.
"In 2017 we initiated the celebration at the Bexley Farmers' Market, and it was such a success we wanted to celebrate again in 2018 -- this year at The Main Event," BCF Executive Director Hallie Raskin said by email. "Our 1908 Society arranged for free cake to be served, thanks to Kroger and Giant Eagle Market District as well as balloons, coloring sheets of the locations of some of the grants funded by the foundation and party hats. Our 1908 Society was founded to engage our community. It was fun to celebrate Bexley's 110th birthday."
The celebration was scheduled for the original Main Event date Aug. 10 and was to include the Bexley High School marching band and cheerleaders, said Bexley Mayor Ben Kessler. Postponing the celebration to Aug. 12 because of rain didn't dampen the fun, he said.
"I think it's a fun new tradition for us to celebrate Bexley's birthday," he said. "I think we continue to prove our more modern slogan, which is that we were founded in 1908, but we're updated daily. Even the 1908 Society and the way that the community foundation celebrates that has brought a new dynamic and new energy to the community."
Kessler noted that city officials also acknowledged Bexley's 110th anniversary at a city-sponsored cookout for new residents at Jeffrey Park, which also was Aug. 12. The day was a busy one, with the annual Buckeye Kosher BBQ Fest also held on Capital University's front lawn.
The flurry of activities on the same day drew some of the focus away from the city's celebration, but demonstrated Bexley's community spirit nonetheless, said Bexley City Council President Lori Ann Feibel.
"It was hands-on, people doing what needed to be done to make sure people got to enjoy the (events on Capital's) lawn," she said.
Feibel said she counts as one of the major highlights of the past 110 years the redevelopment of Bexley City Hall. The planning began in 1997, according to the city's website (Bexley.org) and was completed in 2015 when city hall moved from its former E. Main Street location to its current site at 2242 E. Main St. in the Bexley Square Shopping Center. The former city hall location is now home to Giant Eagle Market District Express grocery store at 2250 E. Main St.
"It is a really fun place to go and see people you know and get your groceries at the same time," Feibel said.
The city's efforts in the past several years to revitalize the Ferndale Place/Mayfield Place neighborhood in southwest Bexley also represent a milestone in recent history, Feibel said. The city's Recreation and Parks Department has developed new athletic fields that are scheduled to open in the neighborhood next year. The city is also in the process of relocating tenants of two rental properties owned by the Bexley Community Improvement Corporation in order to remediate environmental contamination from the area's former landfill.
"I always say I'm not giving up until Ferndale/Mayfield has a happy result," Feibel said. "I'm not sure what that happy result is, but I don't want any children in that area, on my watch, being harmed physically, environmentally. I think the continued emphasis on that is a real tribute to who we are."