Reynoldsburg seeks $2.9M to extend Main Street makeover

KELLEY YOUMAN
editorial@thisweeknews.com
The city of Reynoldsburg is seeking more grant funding to extend the makeover of Main Street. The first phase between Davidson Drive and Jackson Street is expected to begin next year.

Main Street's million-dollar makeover could be finished as soon as 2022, if the city of Reynoldsburg wins another round of grant funding.

Plans call for about $7.8 million in streetscape improvements along East Main Street to be completed in two phases.

The first, a $4.1 million project between Davidson Drive and Jackson Street, is scheduled to begin next year.

Increasing walkability and improving landscaping, lighting and parking in Olde Reynoldsburg were among the goals identified in the city's 2018 comprehensive plan. Officials hope to make the area a "downtown destination" by expanding retail and gathering spaces similar to communities such as Bexley and Old Worthington.

Drive lanes will shrink from 16 feet to 12 feet in width in order to widen sidewalks and slow traffic for a more pedestrian-friendly downtown, said Andrew Bowsher, the city's development director.

The project will add clay brick sidewalk pavers and limestone benches, decorative street lighting, street trees and median plantings, and it will replace a 90-year-old storm sewer under the street. Plans also call for more than 100 new, on-street parking spaces along Main Street.

Reynoldsburg will use about $1.5 million in grants from the Ohio Public Works Commission to help pay for the first phase.

Officials hope a second OPWC grant will help extend the project east to Main Street's intersection with Waggoner and Graham roads.

City Council unanimously approved a motion in July authorizing the mayor to apply for another round of OPWC grant money.

The city will seek $2.9 million in OPWC funds, Mayor Joe Begeny said. The second phase of the Main Street makeover is estimated to cost $3.75 million.

Reynoldsburg officials expect to cover the remaining costs of the work using part of the roughly $4 million the city spends each year on street and sewer projects. The city also will use about $400,000 in loans received in 2019 from the Franklin County Infrastructure Bank, a revolving-loan fund that provides below-market-rate loans to municipalities for economic-development projects.

"This will complete the upgrades to the road and sewer systems between Lancaster and Waggoner over the next two years," Begeny said. "Not only will this stretch of road look great, it will provide opportunities for expanded storefront events as well."

Earlier this year, council awarded a $408,065 contract to EMH&T for "survey, engineering design and assistance with bidding" for work related to the first phase of the Main Street improvements.

Engineering and design work for the first phase will be finished by the end of 2020, with construction slated to start in March 2021, Bowsher said.

If the city is awarded OPWC funding, engineering and design work on the second phase would begin next spring, officials said.

The city held a virtual public meeting via Zoom on Aug. 12 and is seeking public comment on the project.

Those wishing to comment on the city's grant application may do so by Sept. 10 via a form available at tinyurl.com/y4ymo4qv.

In a separate project, the Ohio Department of Transportation plans to repave the same stretch of Main Street next year.

OPWC applications are due next month. Projects approved for funding are expected to be announced Dec. 11.

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