Bexley officially is moving forward with an updated master plan for Jeffrey Mansion, 165 N. Parkview Ave., that will enable an expansion of the facility to proceed.

Bexley City Council voted 6-0 Sept. 25 to approve the plan, with Councilman Tim Madison absent due to a personal matter.

From April through August, the Jeffrey Mansion Master Plan Refresh Committee worked with Columbus-based consulting firm Schooley Caldwell to update the 2008 Jeffrey Mansion master plan before an expansion that the city and the Bexley Community Foundation announced last year would move forward.

"The mansion has been through many iterations over the years, and this is an exciting new one," Bexley Mayor Ben Kessler said.

Before council approved Resolution 14-18 to adopt the Jeffrey Mansion Master Plan update, Councilman Richard Sharp, chairman of council's Recreation and Parks Committee, introduced amendments that he said would enable the city to address any concerns residents might raise over parking and congestion problems that could result from the expansion.

Council also opted to table a separate measure, Resolution 15-18, that would amend the city's policies related to Jeffrey Mansion rentals for events where alcohol is served.

Revisiting Jeffrey Mansion's alcohol policy after the expansion is completed makes more sense, Sharp said.

"The rationale is that there are going to be things that come up during the construction, things that in the plans that we think might be present now, might not actually come to fruition," he said. "There could be other potential uses that come down the road as we're going through the construction process."

The city estimates that implementing the Jeffrey Mansion Master Plan will cost $3.25 million. The plan includes expanding the mansion's ground floor to create a multipurpose space for recreation programming and community use, installing an elevator and reconfiguring parking to create 20 more spaces.

Kessler said the city has identified $2.25 million in funding thus far to implement the plan, with more than $1 million pledged by the Bexley Community Foundation, $250,000 from the state of Ohio capital budget, and the remainder from city funds.

Communication foundation representatives announced at the Sept. 27 annual gathering that the organization already has raised $928,000 and plans to raise an additional $500,000 over the next three years for the expansion.

Kessler said the city also has the option of financing up to $1 million to cover the costs. The Recreation and Parks Department projects an additional $73,000 in increased revenue from programming and rentals once the expansion is completed, which the city could use to make payments to cover the $1 million in financing, Kessler said.

"We could complete the project based on conservative income estimates and based upon the best knowledge of costs from our architects in a way that does not take the city out of pocket (financially) at the end of the day, at all," Kessler said.

The city has not yet announced when construction will begin on the Jeffrey Mansion expansion.

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