The Jeffrey Mansion expansion, the construction of a new pickleball court at Jeffrey Park, the opening of the Schneider Park athletics fields in southwest Bexley and the renovation of athletic fields at Commonwealth Park West in north Bexley are among the 2020 developments planned by the Bexley Recreation and Parks Department.

Bexley's planned expansion of Jeffrey Mansion, 165 N. Parkview Ave., is on track to move forward, with the project scheduled to go out to bid this month, recreation director Michael Price reported at the recreation board's Jan. 8 meeting at City Hall.

"The goal is to have ground broken this spring," Price said. "Right now, they still have a projected completion date of mid-December. In talking to the architects, they think it's doable. It's pretty aggressive, but it's doable."

The city estimates that implementing the mansion expansion plans will cost $3.25 million, with $1 million pledged by the Bexley Community Foundation, $250,000 from the state of Ohio capital budget and the remainder to come from city funds. The plan includes expanding the mansion's ground floor to create a multipurpose space for recreation programming and community use, installing an elevator and reconfiguring parking to create 20 more spaces.

In addition to that project, a pickleball court will be built in Jeffrey Park behind the mansion in an area near the tennis courts, Price said. Pickleball is a paddle sport that combines elements of tennis, badminton and pingpong, according to the USA Pickleball Association's website, usapa.org.

The pickleball court will be funded by a $113,000 grant from the Bexley Community Foundation and is scheduled to open in late spring, Price said. The city's architectural-review board unanimously approved the development on Jan. 9.

"The plan is still that we will have a useable facility by the end of May," Price said.

The Schneider Park athletics fields are also scheduled to open in late spring or early summer, Price said. The fields were originally scheduled to open last summer, but Price said the recreation and parks department opted to delay the opening to give the grass more time to establish.

In addition to the $290,000 from the city's recreation fund, the Schneider Park athletics fields were developed with $100,000 previously allotted by the city, an $81,000 grant from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and an $81,000 Bexley Community Foundation grant. A playground opened at Schneider Park last spring, with $78,519 in equipment installed by city officials and community volunteers and funded by a $65,000 grant from the Columbus Blue Jackets Foundation and the remainder from city funds.

The Schneider Park athletics fields will be able to accommodate practices for youth sports programs that take place at Commonwealth Park, Price said.

Bexley City Council approved a $221,000 overhaul of Commonwealth Park's west field as part of the city's 2020 capital budget.

The plan to recondition Commonwealth Park's west field includes improving drainage and irrigation and can coincide with an initiative to preserve the trees in the space.

The department plans to put the Commonwealth Park project out to bid in March or April, with construction to begin in July and the fields projected to reopen in spring 2021, Price said.

"The goal is that the Schneider Park field will be up and running by the end of May," he said.

During the Commonwealth Park renovation, "we'll rotate some of that (athletics activity) to Schneider Park," Price said.

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