Science says perpetual motion is impossible, but you'd never know it in Grandview Heights.
"It never seems to slow down," Mayor Ray DeGraw said. "We're going to have another active year in 2019."
After the city began to rebound several years ago from the Great Recession of the late 2000s, the main focus was on addressing infrastructure needs that had been deferred, DeGraw said.
The city will continue to address infrastructure in 2019, but much of its focus will be on preparing for the city's future through a strategic planning process that kicked off last year.
Dubbed Growing on Tradition, the process includes "community planning" and "civic spaces and places" components that are separate but connected.
"We have steering committees for both processes and we expect draft plans for both will be completed in the first few months of the year," said Patrik Bowman, the city's director of administration/economic development.
"The community plan is a policy document that is vision-related -- where do we want to go as a community and where do we see ourselves in 10 years," DeGraw said.
"One of the most important components of the community plan is the implementation section," Bowman said. "We'll need to have a long discussion about how we can implement the vision and goals we set for ourselves."
Ramping up recreation
The spaces-and-places process has engaged residents for their views on what the community wants and needs in terms of community facilities and about the public spaces and places to which they feel connected, DeGraw said.
"The final plan will translate that into specific facility recommendations," he said.
Construction is beginning of a new structure for the service and building department just outside city limits on McKinley Avenue. Service and parks equipment will be stored on the site and there will be sufficient space there for a soccer field, city leaders said.
The project is expected to be completed later this year.
The existing service and building department site adjacent to the Grandview Center on Goodale Boulevard then will become available as a potential site for the relocation of some or all of the fire and police departments and city administrative offices, now located in the Municipal Building on Grandview Avenue, DeGraw said.
What residents have made clear already in the space and places process is that they do not want additional recreational facilities placed on the Goodale site, he said.
"People would prefer a community center or new recreational facilities be built north of Goodale," DeGraw said. "People don't like having their children have to cross Goodale to get to a recreation program."
The 2019 budget includes funds to hire a third recreation supervisor, and parks and rec staff will look to develop additional programs for all age groups, DeGraw said.
"We're looking to really ramp things up in parks and recreation," Bowman said.
Another common view residents have expressed in the spaces and places process is that "there is no strong feeling toward the park on First Avenue," he said.
First Avenue Park opened in 2017 between Bobcat and Yard streets in the Grandview Yard area as the city's first new park in two decades.
The city will look at developing activities and events that would be held at the park and draw more attention to its benefits for people who live and work at the Yard and for the community at large, Bowman said.
Two other city staff positions will be added in 2019, DeGraw said, including an investigative sergeant for the police department.
"We've had good success in solving a lot of crimes and making a lot of arrests," DeGraw said. "Our police department has done a tremendous job, and adding this position will help bring even more success in investigating and solving crimes."
A full-time position added to the service department will allow the city to implement a complete review of its sanitary-sewer system and create a regular maintenance program, he said.
Economic development "will continue to take up a lot of our time" in 2019, DeGraw said.
"We fortunately are a very desirable community that people want to invest in," he said.
Two major projects on the horizon are the Wagenbrenner Co.'s Grandview Crossing project and the expansion of the Yard area to include development south of Goodale Boulevard.
Grandview Heights City Council will consider a proposed economic incentive agreement with Wagenbrenner in the new year.
Grandview Crossing will be a 53-acre development on the northeast corner of Dublin Road and Grandview Avenue with about 16 acres located in Grandview Heights and the rest in Columbus.
The Grandview acreage is expected to include 50,000 square feet of office space, 250 apartment units, a hotel and 50,000 square feet of retail.
The agreement would provide the developer with a 15-year, 75 percent property-tax abatement for the hotel and nonretail commercial buildings; a 15-year, 50 percent abatement for the multifamily residential buildings; and a 30-year, 100 percent tax-increment financing exemption with make-whole payments to Grandview Heights Schools.
The developer has received a commitment for similar abatements from the city of Columbus.
Council also will consider a rezoning request for the project south of Goodale, which is expected to include office, apartment and hotel uses on about 14 acres.
Marble Cliff active, too
Economic development also will be a major issue in the village of Marble Cliff, Mayor Kent Studebaker said.
"We're continuing to look at the economic-development position of the village and where we might see some of our business district growing or changing," he said.
Village Council is considering legislation to approve an agreement with the owner of the building at 1600 Dublin Road to complete energy-efficiency improvements at the site through a process known as Property Assessed Clean Energy financing, or PACE.
"It could be a new tool in our economic-development toolbox we could use at other properties in the village," Studebaker said.
After receiving informal approval of their concept plan, F2 Cos. and Elford Development are putting together a formal development plan to present to the village, he said.
The companies are proposing to redevelop the site at 2015 W. Fifth Ave. into a residential project, including preserving the Frank Packard-designed mansion that sits on the property. Four to six apartment units would be placed in the building.
The village is switching the agency it will use for tax collection, Studebaker said.
"We have been using the city of Columbus, but with the change in administration, they are no longer offering that service," he said. "As a small village, it's not something we can do ourselves."
Marble Cliff now will use the city of Cleveland's Central Collection Agency, Studebaker said.
The village's Falco Scholarship Fund now will be administered by the Columbus Foundation.
"Working with the foundation will hopefully allow us to have more meaningful scholarships available for students in our community," Studebaker said.
Residents soon will be able to donate money toward the scholarship fund, he said.
"We want to see the scholarship fund continue to grow and be an asset for our community for a long time to come," Studebaker said.