Construction started late last month to turn a vacant lot at the northwest corner of Lancaster Avenue and East Main Street into a 40-space public parking lot and greenspace.

The $1 million project is expected to be finished by early summer and add much-needed parking in the Olde Reynoldsburg area.

"This is important as we continue to beautify parcels along East Main Street, especially those in Olde Reynoldsburg," Development Director Andrew Bowsher said. "Parking is currently at a premium, and it's a really attractive amenity the city can offer which will help spur more small businesses within the district."

Parking in the lot will be free. An overlook area and picnic pavilions will provide views of the adjacent Blacklick Creek.

The project includes significant landscaping, Bowsher said. Four shingle oak trees will be planted and hundreds of native plants -- including butterfly weed, dwarf winterberry holly, black-eyed Susans and red twig dogwood -- will be added to bioswales and features around the parking lot.

The need for more parking in the area is one of the goals outlined in the city's 2018 Comprehensive Master Plan. The new parking lot is part of a larger vision for the area, Bowsher said.

"While conducting the survey for our Comprehensive Master Plan, there was a recurring theme of needing a thriving Olde Reynoldsburg," he said. "By providing ample parking, we can attract boutique and walkable shops where customers can go, and businesses will be successful for a long time."

Underground gasoline tanks belonging to a former BP service station that once stood on the site have been removed, officials said.

Facemyer Landscaping LLC is the general contractor on the project.