At this year's State of the Community Address on March 6 at the Cassingham Theatre, Bexley Mayor Ben Kessler outlined the city's infrastructure projects, safety efforts and environmental initiatives.

Kessler said the 3.5-mill replacement levy that voters approved in November will enable the city to repave and add curbs to several streets this year.

"These projects are based upon the pavement rating that we do every year," Kessler said. "We have several other streets that we want to get to, but we want to make sure that we're building up a reserve in our street levy to make it last as long as we can."

Kessler said the 2019 repaving projects will take place on the following streets: Roosevelt Avenue south of East Main Street; Charles Street between Roosevelt Avenue and the city's eastern boundary; Powell Avenue from Drexel to Columbia avenues; Caroline Avenue; North Columbia Avenue from Caroline to Delmar Drive; Dawson Avenue from East Broad Street to Fair Avenue; Ardmore Road from Dale to Fair avenues; and North Remington from Maryland to Denver avenues.

Kessler said the city also received a federal grant to add a walk-don't walk sign at the intersection of Cassingham Avenue and Elm.

Also in 2019, Bexley will implement a partnership with the cities of Gahanna and Whitehall to expand fiber-optic technology and enhance high-speed Internet access for area businesses and educational institutions, Kessler said.

"It's a way to connect Capital University, the Bexley school district, the city of Bexley and businesses who want to use it to data centers throughout central Ohio, providing us with first-mile, incredibly fast, incredibly robust internet access and data-center activity," he said.

Regarding safety, Kessler said the city will equip police officers with body cameras this year, purchasing 31 body cameras at a total cost of $82,000.

"Body cameras help increase the transparency in our police department," he said.

"They help us make sure that we are providing a level of service and the correct type of service to the community. They keep us accountable, and that's a really good thing and that's something that our officers have been requesting and we're happy to partner with them in providing."

Environmental initiatives for 2019 include expanding the city's solid-waste and food-waste recycling programs throughout the city. The city launched a pilot program for the food-waste recycling program last year and expanded it citywide last month. Solid-waste recycling will expand from curbside recycling for stand-alone residences to apartment complexes and other multifamily dwellings by the end of the year, Kessler said.

The city's 2019 priorities include drafting a plan by the end of the year to ban single-use plastic items, such as straws and cups, throughout Bexley, Kessler said.

The city's Environmental Sustainability Advisory Committee and the Bexley Area Chamber of Commerce have scheduled a public workshop for 3 p.m. Sept. 25 at Bexley City Hall, 2242 E. Main St., for business owners and employers to discuss how to implement a citywide single-use plastics ban.

In addition to city officials, the event included representatives from the Bexley City School District, Capital University, the Bexley Area Chamber of Commerce, the Bexley Public Library and the Bexley Community Foundation.

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