New offices and facilities, a community-center proposal and a decision to change the date of a popular community event dominated headlines in 2018. Here's a look at five of the top stories in Pickerington this year:
Township gets new digs -- Perhaps the biggest move of the year by local officials was the $2.7 million purchase of the historic Wigwam lodge at 10190 Blacklick-Eastern Road N.W. by Violet Township in July. The 63-acre site includes a 303-seat theater and 400-seat banquet room. Township officials plan to convert the site into their administrative offices in 2019 and make it a space the community and businesses can use for special events. A portion of the facility could be used for a Fairfield County Sheriff's Office substation. Approximately 11 acres are earmarked for economic development to bring additional revenue to the township.
Violet Township: Wigwam to re-emerge as community space
Violet Township: Offices will move to Wigwam site
Township buys Wigwam compound
Community center -- Violet Township officials also spent 2018 exploring options for a community center. After months of working with consultants and gathering public input, concept plans for a $46-million indoor facility on donated land at the southeast corner of Pickerington and Refugee roads were rolled out in December. As proposed, the center would feature two indoor swimming pools, two gymnasiums, a one-tenth-mile track and more. In January township trustees are expected to decide if they'll put a proposed 4.59-mill levy before voters to fund the center's construction and operations.
Violet Township trustees to consider community center
Community center: Violet officials to share ideas about funding
Violet Township seeks focus groups to shape community center
Community center? Violet officials slate meeting to mull possibilities
July Fourth fracas -- A fight at a Victory Park shelter house during the community's July Fourth celebration resulted in a bystander sustaining a broken leg. It followed a 2017 false alarm about shots being fired at the park during that year's Independence Day celebration. City officials announced in October that the 2019 fireworks display would be held July 3. They said they hope the date change will reduce the number of out-of-town visitors and future safety issues.
Full story: Fights, other incidents prompt fireworks date change in Pickerington
Pickerington moves July Fourth fireworks to July 3
Pickerington's July 4: Crowd management, security talks continue
New fire house opens -- In May, the Violet Township Fire Department opened its state-of-the-art, 15,000-square-foot Fire Station 591 at 21 Lockville Road. It is three times the size of the station it replaced. Fire department officials said the three-story, $6-million facility is expected to serve the community for up to 50 years.
Fire department to show off new station June 29
First look at the firehouse
Violet Township fire station’s opening expected this month
Strike up the bands! -- As 2018 came to a close, members of the Pickerington High School Central and Pickerington High School North marching bands were preparing for a trip to perform jointly as the Pickerington Marching Band at the 130th Tournament of Roses parade on New Year's Day in Pasadena, California. It is the fifth time a high school band from Pickerington has been invited to perform in the parade.
Pickerington bands to march in Pasadena’s Tournament of Roses Parade
Pickerington marching bands 'Road to Pasadena' dinner set