Worthington is focusing on transitions and improvement projects going into 2020, according to city leaders.

Correction: Because of a reporter's errors, Worthington parks and recreation director Darren Hurley's first name was incorrect and outdated details on McCord Park renovations were included in this story published in the Jan. 2 edition of the ThisWeek Worthington News.

Worthington is focusing on transitions and improvement projects going into 2020, according to city leaders.

Worthington City Council President Bonnie Michael said the city's visioning process and visioning committee, which were priorities for council in 2019, will be a focus in 2020, as well.

As part of the process, Poggemeyer Design Group, hired in October 2019, is working with residents on the visioning committee to gather input about Worthington's future.

Michael said there would be many opportunities for residents to share their ideas in 2020.

"Very shortly, probably in January, there will be a website ... for people to have some electronic input on the process," she said.

She said the website would show more of the process and give residents other opportunities to get involved.

In terms of 2020 projects, City Manager Matt Greeson said charging stations for electric vehicles would be installed in Worthington this winter. Council approved legislation in October for two charging stations. One is to be installed at the Worthington Community Center, 345 E. Wilson Bridge Road, and the second will be placed in a municipal parking lot at 48 W. New England Ave., behind the closed Worthington Inn.

David McCorkle, Worthington's economic-development director, said the cost for the two charging stations would be just under $165,000. After they are installed, the city will be reimbursed by AEP Ohio as part of a reimbursement program.

Greeson said another 2020 project would be construction at McCord Park, 333 E. Wilson Bridge Road, as part of the Worthington's capital-improvements plan. He said the park is a priority because of plans to revitalize the Wilson Bridge Road corridor.

"It's important to remember the recommendations to invest more in McCord Park really came out of two efforts," he said. "One, early on, was a study we did on how to rejuvenate Wilson Bridge Road because it's such an important economic-development corridor and second, it came out of the citizen input we received and the parks commission input we received during the parks master-plan process."

The city hired POD Design, a landscaping firm in Columbus, in July to complete a concept plan for the park. On July 15, council approved moving $315,150 from the city's capital-improvements fund to pay for the design.

Darren Hurley, Worthington's director of parks and recreation, said this amount includes construction documents, construction support and the design process.

According to the parks master plan on worthington.org, some of the renovations recommended for the McCord Park design process include replacing the playground and adding a circular walking path that would connect the park to the Worthington Community Center, creating a better layout for the sports fields, putting a railroad observation deck in a donated caboose and making functional and aesthetic improvements to the maintenance facility.

In addition, Greeson said the city is working with the parks commission on how to make those plans a reality.

"We're early on in that design phase," he said. "There will be some public input, particularly around the playgrounds, probably in the coming months."

Greeson said the city plans to apply for capital funding to help with the McCord Park project.

Anne Brown, a spokesperson for the city, said on Dec. 9 city staff received permission from council to apply for $1,000,000 in state capital bill funding. Brown said the application has been submitted.

Also on Wilson Bridge Road, Michael said construction on the city's Northeast Gateway project is expected to start in mid-2020.

"It's an important project. The congestion in that area is so terrible, and by doing this project, we are connecting one side of the school district with the other," she said.

The Northeast Gateway project involves redesigning the major intersection of East Wilson Bridge, Huntley and Worthington Galena roads on the northeast side of Worthington, just south of Interstate 270.

In addition, Greeson said, the 911 services transition to the Northwest Regional Emergency Communications Center will begin in 2020 and likely happen in phases.

He said fire and emergency-medical services are likely to be moved first, followed by police dispatching.

Greeson said he is hopeful the change will improve technology and response times.

City Council approved a resolution In May authorizing Greeson to enter into a contract with the NRECC to take 911 calls and provide dispatching services.

"That's a complicated and important transition that we've talked a lot to the community about," he said.

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