Spurred by resident complaints and new development, Reynoldsburg again will seek grant money to improve Waggoner Road.

Preliminary plans call for the installation of pedestrian paths along the road and a center lane in areas, depending on topography. The city plans to apply for an Ohio Public Works Commission (OPWC) grant this fall to help pave the way for improvements.

Construction would occur in two phases.

The first would begin in 2022 and stretch north from East Main Street to a planned M/I Homes development at 704 Waggoner Road, near the intersection with Rodebaugh Road.

The second would start in 2023 and extend the improvements to Broad Street.

"In a perfect world, I would like to have Waggoner Road improvements prior to the additional development," Mayor Joe Begeny said. "Unfortunately, the process doesn't always work out like that. The steps we are taking now will close the gap between development and (infrastructure) improvements.

"There will be a lot of excitement once we have the plans and the public sees the potential of this project. The issues of safety and connectivity of our city are a top priority."

Residents frequently have complained to City Council about safety concerns along the road, citing frequent traffic backups and a lack of pedestrian access.

The M/I community will add up to 400 single-family homes to about 123 acres on the east side of Waggoner Road.

Statistics from the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission indicate the annual average daily traffic count in 2018 for Waggoner Road just north of East Main Street was 12,281 vehicles.

The traffic count was 8,871 vehicles in 2000.

The city doesn't have an estimated cost, but a 2019 project that widened and repaved a 1-mile stretch of Palmer Road cost $2 million.

Waggoner Road extends 2.2 miles between East Main and Broad streets.

The city spends about $4 million annually on street and sewer infrastructure improvements.

Begeny said the city will solicit feedback from the community at an open house, which has yet to be scheduled, and a public hearing before council in September.

Plans are expected to be finalized in time for a "full reveal" at the 2020 Tomato Festival, scheduled for Aug. 6-8, Begeny said.

The city is working with officials from Truro Township, Franklin County Engineer's Office, MORPC, M/I Homes and Reynoldsburg City Schools, he said.

Reynoldsburg was denied OPWC grant funds in 2017 for a similar project on Waggoner Road.

"The city was able to win approval on the most recent (OPWC) application set for this summer -- the Main Street beautification project -- so we are getting better at the process," Begeny said. "While I am confident that we will earn the grant funding, any denial would delay the ultimate completion of the project."