In one of the defining events in Westerville's history, the city lost two police officers in a shooting in February. Here is a look back at that event and some others that shaped 2018.
TRAGIC LOSS -- Westerville police officers Eric Joering, 39, and Anthony Morelli, 54, were killed while responding to a domestic-violence call that ended in a shootout Feb. 10. An outpouring of support from both the Westerville community and nearby law-enforcement agencies followed. A month later, Quentin L. Smith was indicted on murder charges and a Franklin County grand jury sought the death penalty in the case. A memorial to the officers is planned as part of a renovation of the city's First Responders Park, and ODOT placed signs designating the portion of Interstate 270 as "Officers Anthony Morelli and Eric Joering Memorial Highway.
I-270 section honors fallen Westerville officers Joering, Morelli
Chief reflects as difficult days unfold
Tasks of daily law enforcement remain priority
CHECKING IN -- The May debut of Westerville's first full-service hotel, the Westerville's Renaissance Marriott, came after a year and a half of construction at 409 Altair Parkway. The 8-story, 222-room hotel has a full-service restaurant and bar and more than 15,000 square feet of meeting space. This was a busy year of development for Westar Place, with the announcement and construction of multiple projects.
Hotel manager focusing on details
EXPANSION PLAN -- The city made strides in planning the expansion of its community center with specifics and a new timeline set. Bids came in at least $700,000 over the $20 million budget, but city staff found ways to make up the difference from other funds. Preliminary construction began late this year, with completion set in late 2019.
Westerville council OKs additional spending for community center’s expansion
RAID REACTIONS -- On Feb. 2, police raided a massage business in response to what they called a potential human-trafficking situation. The city later approved legislation that requires all massage businesses to exclusively employ massage therapists licensed by the state's medical board. The legislation also provides options for enforcing existing laws and verifying that workers are licensed and properly treated.
Westerville looks to ensure that all massage therapists are state licensed
FACILITY FIXES -- The Westerville City School District is moving forward with plans to renovate Westerville South High School and fund districtwide safety and security initiatives. The school board unanimously approved a motion in April to proceed with the development of design options for Westerville South. Superintendent John Kellogg said South's renovation and the security enhancements could be funded without seeking additional revenue.
Package would address Westerville schools’ safety, space needs
Westerville City School District backs off spring ballot idea to finalize plan