When the proposed expansion of Jeffrey Mansion gets underway in 2020, the Bexley Recreation and Parks Department plans to adopt a new policy for those who rent the facility for events at which alcohol is served.

Bexley estimates that implementing the Jeffrey Mansion Master Plan will cost $3.25 million. The plan includes expanding the ground floor of the mansion, 165 N. Parkview Ave., to create a multipurpose space for recreation programming and community use, installing an elevator and reconfiguring parking to create 20 more spaces.

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

The Jeffrey Mansion Master Plan Refresh Committee earlier this year updated the 2008 Jeffrey Mansion master plan and has recommended that rental events involving alcohol in the new multipurpose space must end by 10 p.m. and that such events only take place once a month.

The reason for the proposed policy is that the new multipurpose space will accommodate more people than the mansion's current space that is available for rentals, and therefore it has the potential to generate more noise that could disturb residents who live near Jeffrey Mansion, said Michael Price, director of the recreation department.

"It's in an area of the building that's a little closer to residents, so that in and of itself creates a little more noise," Price said at the Dec. 5 meeting of Bexley's Recreation Board.

Board members expressed concerns that the proposed restrictions on renting the new space may make it a less attractive option for special events and reduce potential revenue.

"With all these restrictions, I'm not sure it's going to generate much money," said Roger Carroll, a board member.

"For as much as we're asking the community to give (to the community foundation's fundraising campaign for the Jeffrey Mansion expansion), it seems pretty restrictive to say, 'You really can't use it that often,' " said Mike Denison, the school board representative on the recreation board.

North Parkview Avenue resident Gina Olsen, who served on the Jeffrey Mansion Master Plan Refresh Steering Committee, said the committee's recommendations about the proposed alcohol policy came from public input while drafting the updated Jeffrey Mansion master plan and the concept of not turning the facility into a full-time event center.

The new multipurpose space was always intended to be used primarily for recreation programs, not rental events, Olsen said.

"When we were going through the Jeffrey Mansion refresh process, we had three objectives and it was programming, programming, programming," Olsen said. "It was not meant to be a revenue-generating, private-event space."

Bexley City Council has requested the Recreation Board issue a recommendation to council before the end of January as to whether the city should proceed with the Jeffrey Mansion Master Plan Refresh Committee's proposed alcohol policy.

Board members agreed to discuss the issue again at their January meeting, which is tentatively scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Jan. 2 at Bexley City Hall, 2242 E. Main St.

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