In a unanimous vote Jan. 8, Bexley's Recreation Board recommended changes to a policy affecting those who rent Jeffrey Mansion, 165 N. Parkview Ave., for events at which alcohol is served.
The policy will apply to the existing facility as well as a new space that will be created when the city completes a planned expansion that is scheduled to begin in 2020.
The city estimates that implementation of the Jeffrey Mansion Master Plan will cost $3.25 million. The plan includes expanding the mansion's ground floor 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 coming from the state of Ohio capital budget and the remainder coming from city funds.
The Jeffrey Mansion Master Plan Refresh Committee, which updated the 2008 master plan last year, 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.
Kessler said the committee drafted the recommendations in response to concerns from residents who live near Jeffrey Mansion that events in the new multipurpose space could generate noise and traffic congestion.
"We went through a lot of dialogue with the neighbors to get where we ended up," Kessler said.
The Recreation Board recommends that rental events in both the existing Jeffrey Mansion facility and the new multipurpose space be required to end by 11 p.m. The board's recommendation went along with stating that only one rental event at which alcohol is served can take place per month in the new multipurpose space.
Kessler said the board's recommendations represent a compromise between board members' concerns that Jeffrey Mansion should be accessible for community events and limiting the impact on nearby residents concerned with noise and traffic.
"This space is fully accessible to the community," Kessler said. "It is restricted when it comes to the serving of alcohol. I think that's a fair balance."
North Parkview Avenue resident Gina Olsen, who served on the Jeffrey Mansion Refresh Steering Committee, said she also believes the board's recommendations are reasonable.
"I actually feel really good about it, and I appreciate all the discussion," Olsen said.
Once the new Jeffrey Mansion alcohol policy has been implemented, the city can evaluate its effect, said Lindsay Hodge, Recreation Board chairwoman.
"So long as we have an open door, that should we all fall on hard times and we need to create some sort of an asset that's going to generate more revenue (from rental events), we have the ability to revisit it," Hodge said.
Bexley City Council will discuss and vote on the recommendations at a meeting yet to be determined.