For Worthington, 2019 brought changes in local development, events, infrastructure and leadership. These are reflected in our picks for the year's top five storylines:
STAFFORD VILLAGE -- National Church Residences' plans to redevelop the Stafford Village apartments, 814 Hartford St., came into focus, but the senior-housing company's proposal still has not been approved. The most recent version of the plan was tabled Dec. 12 by the Worthington Architectural Review Board and Municipal Planning Commission for the company to work out a few more details. Stafford Village was constructed in the 1970s in conjunction with Worthington Presbyterian Church.
FIRST WEDNESDAYS -- The Old Worthington Partnership introduced a new event series in Old Worthington on the first Wednesday of each month. The Worthington First Wednesdays events focus on a theme and charity project.
WORTHINGTON GATEWAY -- Construction still is pending on the Worthington Gateway development after the Holiday Inn at 7007 N. High St. was torn down at the end of 2018 to make way for the new mixed-use development that also will include a hotel. That hotel will not be the previously announced Hampton Inn & Suites, however, and the proposal for a Tru by Hilton brand will have to wait for 2020 for approval.
WORTHINGTON POOLS -- Worthington Schools, the city of Worthington and Swiminc Inc. have been working out details for renovating Worthington Pools' three outdoor pools and indoor natatorium on the grounds of Thomas Worthington High School. Many questions remain, but the scope of a renovation project continues to take shape.
CITY COUNCIL -- A new Worthington City Council member was elected in a supersized Nov. 5 race that featured 13 candidates running for three seats -- and a mandatory recount by the Franklin County Board of Elections. Council President Bonnie Michael led the field and newcomer Peter Bucher finished second. But third place was impossibly close, with incumbent Doug Smith (1,497 votes) receiving just one more vote than both incumbent Doug Foust and challenger Seth Kraut (1,496 each) to retain his seat on council.