The landscape of Whitehall's housing, parks and commercial sectors will continue to evolve in 2020, city officials say.

"Affordable housing is important, and we look forward to providing more options," said Whitehall Mayor Kim Maggard.

Those options include identifying a developer for the vacant Woodcliff Condominiums at the northeast corner of North Hamilton Road and East Broad Street.

"We will be in discussions with developers about the site and should have a good sense of direction (in 2020),"Maggard said, adding no construction is expected at the site this year.

"Demolition could start before the end (of 2020)," development director Zach Woodruff said.

Whitehall bought the 317-unit, 35-acre condominium community for $10.3 million in early 2019; it is vacant today after expiring leases were not renewed.

"It's a huge project and will take a little longer to redevelop than Norton Crossing," Maggard said.

Whitehall purchased the 42-building, 270-unit Commons at Royal Landing complex in 2016 for $5 million from its New Jersey-based owner and deeded it to Continental Real Estate to develop into the $50 million, mixed-use Norton Crossing development.

"But every deal is unique," said Woodruff. "We've only just started at Woodcliff Condominiums, but we are working toward identifying a project that represents the best utilization of taxpayer dollars."

Meanwhile, construction will continue this year at Norton Crossing on approximately 19 acres on the south side of East Broad Street, just west of South Hamilton Road.

"Construction is going gangbusters," Maggard said.

An Old Bag of Nails Pub is expected to open this summer, she said.

"The clubhouse and the first apartments should be finished to allow leasing to begin by the end of the summer," Woodruff said.

Additional new housing is planned in 2020, including new senior-housing units at Hamilton Crossing, at South Hamilton and Etna roads. Construction of new "workforce housing" on Etna Road, across the street from Hamilton Crossing, is expected to begin in the spring, Maggard said.

Residents also will see improvements at city parks, most notably Whitehall Community Park, where state funding will determine the scope of improvements in the lower level of the park near Big Walnut Creek.

The city will conclude the final two phases of projects in connection with the Clean Ohio Conservation Fund, said Shannon Sorrell, director of the Whitehall Parks and Recreation Department.

Those improvements include replanting along a tributary of Big Walnut Creek as well as building access points to the creek that include places to launch canoes and kayaks, Sorrell said.

Whitehall has requested $1.2 million in funding from Ohio's capital-improvement budget.

"But you don't always receive what is asked," said Sorrell, adding decisions would be made based on the funds received.

"We would like to build more paved trails and make other aesthetic improvements," she said, but those likely would not begin until 2021 if funds are made available.

In addition to improvements at Whitehall Community Park, work will continue in 2020 toward the opening of the city's first dog park on the northeast corner of Beechwood Road and Washburn Street, adjacent to Lamby Lane Park.

"We don't know what we can do yet (until we receive bids), but some work could start on trails inside the park late (in 2020)," Sorrell said.

The city's administration also will begin to plan this year for an expansion of the Whitehall Division of Police headquarters on South Yearling Road.

Bonds likely would be issued to finance the expansion, which would provide more room for evidence storage, enhanced security in the public areas of the existing building and space for additional officers to be hired, Maggard said.

Lastly, several roads will be improved in the city in 2020 as part of the city's annual road-improvement projects.

The projects, totaling $1.5 million, include the resurfacing of Pierce Road, Elaine Road and Erickson Avenue from Etna Road to East Main Street; Wright Avenue from Ross to South Hamilton roads; and Country Club Road from Fairway Boulevard to Etna Road.

Roads to be reconstructed are Rickenbacker Avenue from Yearling Road to Virginia Circle; Chandler Drive from Yearling Road to Pineview Drive; and Tornes Road from Rickenbacker Avenue to Powell Road.

Maggard, who is beginning her third term as mayor -- made possible by a charter amendment approved by voters in 2018 extending term limits from two to three -- said she looks forward to getting work started in what likely will be her final term.

"It's an exciting time in Whitehall with all of the construction and improvements in our parks, neighborhoods and new developments," she said.

kcorvo@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekCorvo