For the coming year, Westerville is focusing on expansion and advancing transportation projects.

City Manager David Collinsworth said Westerville is working on two transportation-related projects, a micro-transportation project with the Central Ohio Transit Authority and the test of a parking app that would allow residents to find better parking in Uptown.

Collinsworth said nothing with the transportation project is definite yet, but council has authorized funding from the 2020 budget to initiate a pilot project.

"We'll be negotiating the terms and conditions of that over the course of the first quarter (of 2020)," he said.

A program in Grove City that began in 2018 provides on-demand transportation with customers using an app to request rides within a certain zone.

Westerville's pilot-parking program would allow visitors to Uptown Westerville to find parking more easily.

He said a small disk would be embedded into parking spaces at select city parking lots in the Uptown area.

"They'll have a little communications device that will come back to a router and basically it will connect in with a smartphone app," he said.

He said the technology would enable users to be able to tell where the available parking spots are in the Uptown lots.

"If this is successful, if it works well, we will extend it out to the bounds of the parking lots in Uptown and then also our on-street parking. Our goal is to make efficient use of the existing parking spaces that we have," he said.

Christa Dickey, the city's community-affairs administrator, said lots A, B, C and D in Uptown would be used as a test for the program.

Collinsworth also said more improvements to roads and other buildings would occur in 2020.

He said the expansion of the Westerville Community Center is expected to be completed in June.

In September 2019, Westerville City Council appropriated additional funds as bids for the project came in about $700,000 over the $20 million the city had expected to spend.

The community center, 305 N. Cleveland Ave., has been involved in an expansion since 2014.

He said the design process on the new police and court facility will get underway in 2020, with the project going out to bid sometime in the fall.

A 20-year, 0.96-mill bond issue that would cost $33.60 annually per $100,000 of property valuation starting in 2021 was approved by voters in November, intended for the purpose of funding the facility. Estimated costs for the project are about $15 million, according to the city website.

Collinsworth also said the city's Uptown improvement project will resume in the beginning of 2020. He said Columbia Gas of Ohio would finish work on putting in a new natural gas system.

"Our contractor will be right behind them kind of completing all of the other infrastructure improvements -- the sidewalks, crosswalks, the new curb and gutter, any stormwater improvements," he said.

He said the project likely would be wrapped up by October.

Collinsworth said other work would be completed in Uptown during the year.

First, he said, a waterline replacement on North State Street from Home Street up to Broadway will begin this month.

"You'll start to see work happening in that section," he said.

He said the replacement is the reason for the city not finishing the paving of State Street.

"When we resurface State Street as part of the Uptown improvement project, we'll pick that piece back up all the way up to Broadway," he said.

He said an additional lane for traffic would be added on State Street later this year. He said a full lane would be added on State Street going Northbound from Hoff Road to the intersection with Maxtown Road.

Collinsworth said this would allow for a full two-lane movement all the way up to the intersection. In addition, he said, the rest of State Street will be resurfaced.

"Really at the end of 2020, everything from basically just North of the Schrock Road intersection about where Starbucks is, everything from Starbucks up to where our corp limit is up by Meijer, all of that, all of State Street will have been paved in the last two years," he said.

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