For Westerville, 2019 brought construction projects, new events and changes to familiar features. Here are our picks for the year's top stories:
LAW-ENFORCEMENT HUB -- Voters approved a 20-year, 0.96-mill bond issue for a new, combined police and court facility at 229 Huber Village Blvd. The bond will cost $33.60 annually per $100,000 of property valuation starting in 2021 and will allow for the consolidation of Westerville's police and mayor's-court operations from three buildings to one.
UPTOWN WORK -- The city spent months preparing for a large construction project to make improvements in the Uptown Westerville area. Columbia Gas of Ohio worked to install new lines ahead of other improvements, such as pavement resurfacing, sidewalk replacement and traffic-signal components. Work will resume in spring 2020.
HONORING THE FALLEN -- Westerville held a dedication for the newly expanded First Responders Park, 374 W. Main St., in November. The park was dedicated in 2010 to honor the service and sacrifice of all first responders and added a statue to remember a fallen Westerville firefighter, David Theisen, in 2011. Plans for an expansion were finalized after Westerville Division of Police officers Anthony Morelli and Eric Joering were killed in the line of duty Feb. 10, 2018.
STANDING WITH THE SCHOOLS -- Voters approved a combined 1.95-mill bond and 5.9-mill operating levy for the Westerville City School District in November, providing funding for a new middle school and elementary school. Proceeds from the issue also will provide for safety and security updates districtwide, renovations and additions at Annehurst and Whittier elementary schools, renovations at Hawthorne Elementary School and address facilities needs at Hanby, Emerson and Longfellow elementary schools. -- Marla K. Kuhlman
PUMPKIN POWER -- Westerville Parks and Recreation turned Heritage Park into a fall-themed wonderland complete with a trail of glowing pumpkins as the city welcomed visitors to the first Great Westerville Pumpkin Glow in October. Randy Auler, the recreation department's director, said the response from visitors was overwhelmingly positive. More than 3,000 pumpkins were carved and displayed. -- Olivia Minnier