Westerville city leaders are planning to move forward with the Uptown Westerville improvement project while trying to minimize its impact on business owners.

At a Dec. 3 council meeting, city engineer Scott Tourville said the city held an open house Nov. 30 to share the design plans with the public. Tourville shared the results and materials of that open house, which had about 50 attendees, according to a memo from the city.

Tourville showed a presentation from the open house, displaying what the various improvements would look like -- brick crosswalks, new sidewalks and address numbers inlayed into the concrete. Plans also show a curb extension, called a bump-out, near the State 8 marquee sign at 8 N. State St., where Barrel & Boar is.

Council members discussed the presentation and generally responded positively.

Vice Mayor Kathy Cocuzzi said she liked the idea of the brick crosswalks and most of the design elements but said the table and chairs presented in the conversation area in the bump-out near the State 8 marquee sign were too modern.

"I think all of the ideas presented were well thought out, and after all of the conversations we've had, I think this plan is something I'm looking forward to," she said.

Council member Valerie Cumming said she thinks the plan is a great way to prepare for the future for Westerville, but she expressed concern about the effect on businesses and how long the crosswalks would take to build.

Tourville said the city had consulted with different contractors and the crosswalks would take about two to three weeks per intersection.

Materials related to the project state city officials will maintain a regular presence during the construction process.

Since mid-2017, Westerville staff members have been working on a plan that would replace sidewalks and pedestrian crossings in Uptown Westerville to improve mobility, add bump-outs at crosswalks, meet Americans with Disabilities Act standards and improve aesthetics and traffic signals.

The city staff initially presented three options that ranged in cost and scope. All three posed issues for Uptown Westerville business owners who had voiced concerns about construction affecting their businesses.

In March, area business owners and the city came to a compromise that would result in no loss of parking spaces, a shorter schedule and a $3.3 million budget.

The project still is expected to be completed in May 2020.

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