Delaware's plan to widen the roadway at the Point intersection of William Street and Central Avenue on the city's east side will, undoubtedly, hurt before it heals.

CORRECTION:  The print and previous web version of this story misstated the owner of the railroad tracks that pass near Delaware's Point intersection on the city's east side.

Delaware's plan to widen the roadway at the Point intersection of William Street and Central Avenue on the city's east side will, undoubtedly, hurt before it heals.

The project designed to ease a notorious traffic pinch point will "be a lot of pain, I think, unfortunately," said Tom Homan, Delaware city manager.

That was one of the many updates offered by administrators with the city and Delaware City Schools during a Feb. 10 joint meeting of City Council and the school board.

The roadway east of the Point narrows from four to two lanes as it passes under a railroad bridge -- something commuters well know.

The city plans to widen that pavement to four lanes, which Homan said "will be the largest transportation project the city's ever undertaken."

The project is expected to begin in 2022 and will take 18 to 24 months to complete, he said.

The work will require construction of a temporary bridge that will stand until the existing railroad bridge is replaced, Homan said, adding details will have to be worked out with Norfolk Southern Corp.

Homan said the project also is undergoing an environmental review.

"It's complicated," he said.

In less-complex traffic projects, the reconstruction of much of Central Avenue is scheduled this year, Homan said.

The project will rebuild the street -- which also carries state Route 37 -- from the Point to Troy Road.

The widening of most of East William Street, which began in 2019, will be finished by late summer, he said.

Another milestone for 2020 will be the start of construction of the Glenn Parkway extension, Homan said.

That work will take the road north from its existing terminus on the city's southeast side to Berlin Station Road, he said.

A long-term goal will be to extend Glenn Parkway north to U.S. Route 36/state Route 37, he said, and Delaware County has expressed an interest in extending the road further north to state Route 521.

This year, the county will launch a project to convert the former Delaware Area Career Center North Campus on Route 521 into the Byxbe Campus, a centralized location for several county departments.

City planning director David Efland also gave an update on the city's population growth during the meeting.

The Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission projects continuing growth for central Ohio, and the city is no exception, he said.

"If we didn't have such great school districts in Olentangy and then Delaware City Schools covering our community, we would not be seeing growth in our community at all," he said. "That's my opinion, and I think the facts and lots of research bear that out."

Based on building permits alone, he said, the city estimates its population at 43,000 -- an increase of about 8,500 since 2010 and more than double its 1990 population.

The city issued 750 new dwelling permits in 2019, setting a record, he said, including 400 permits for non-single-family residences.

Issuing at least 300 residential permits a year "is the new normal" for Delaware, Efland said.

Also last year, the city issued more than 200 commercial permits for the eighth consecutive year, he said.

The city also is refreshing what Efland called "Delaware Together," an update of the city's comprehensive plan, which guides development.

A group of city residents, he said, including some affiliated with the school district, are about three-quarters of the way through the process of completing the plan, an effort that began in 2018.

In Delaware schools, Superintendent Heidi Kegley said the district has added staff, including teachers and bus drivers, to handle its increasing enrollment.

The district also plans an enrollment study to determine if its growth projections are on track, she said. The district has projected its enrollment -- estimated at 5,800 in 2019 -- will reach 6,500 in 2027.

Among other developments, she said, the district has improved its graduation rate but continues to deal with the effects of a cap on the funding the state of Ohio provides to some school districts, including Delaware. The district earlier estimated that cap resulted in the annual loss of about $7 million.

Kegley also gave an update on services at the Willis Education Center, 74 W. William St., the site of the joint meeting.

Willis houses a family resource center, diaper and food pantries, free tax services, a science and technology lab and an assessment center operated by the Delaware Juvenile Court, she said.

Jason Sherman, the school district's director of facilities and transportation, said this month the district will open bids for construction of additional space at Schultz Elementary School, 499 Applegate Lane; a two-story addition at Dempsey Middle School, 599 Pennsylvania Ave.; and added space at the main entrance of Carlisle Elementary School, 746 W. Central Ave.

Thirteen classrooms, an art room and a new bus loop will be added at Schultz, he said.

At Dempsey, a building that is the former headquarters of Greif Bros. Corp. will be razed; the new addition will hold 12 classrooms and a suite for the music program, he said.

Carlisle will gain a couple of new classrooms when a new office and secure entryway are built, Sherman said.

District treasurer Melissa Swearingen said a substitute levy passed in 2010, which raises about $4 million a year for the district, is scheduled to expire and will be up for renewal on the November ballot.

Another levy passed in 2017 that raises about $6.2 million a year will be up for renewal in 2022, she said.

editorial@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekNews