Hilliard: 5 top stories from 2020

A. Kevin Corvo
ThisWeek group
5 Top Stories of 2020

The world changed in 2020, with the COVID-19 coronavirus, civil unrest in major U.S. cities and a polarized political climate as just a few examples.

Hilliard had its share of changes, too. Here’s a brief recap of five significant stories published in the ThisWeek Hilliard Northwest News during the past 12 months.

Rezone it ... and it will come? – Hilliard officials might have played coy, but many locals were about as shocked as Capt. Louis Renault in "Casablanca" when it was announced in October that Amazon Web Services likely would build a data-center complex on 104 acres of what is known locally as the Grener tract.

The land between Cosgray and Leppert roads, north of Scioto Darby Road and south of Hayden Run Road had been rezoned in July to allow for the construction of data centers. At the time of the rezoning, city officials said no end use had been identified.

Amazon already has three data-center facilities at the southeast corner of Britton Parkway and Hayden Run Road in Hilliard. A fourth is under construction, and Amazon has approval for the construction of a fifth facility.

Related story:Amazon Web Services identified as buyer for Grener land

Related story:Hilliard City Council authorizes sale of 104 acres to Amazon

No pool for you – Residents were quick to take positions – and share them with Hilliard City Council – when city leaders in late April were among the first in central Ohio to announce the closure of pools for the season because of the coronavirus pandemic.

City Council members at first questioned the administration’s early decision to cancel the pool season, but by Memorial Day, they had agreed with city officials' position that there was not a safe or cost-effective method to open the pools.

Related story:Council decision: Hilliard pools will remain closed this season

Beer, meatballs and cheesecake, oh my – The Center Street Market opened its doors in February in Old Hilliard, bringing many dining options with it soon after.

Though the timing of the opening left a lot to desire because of the pandemic, the venue soldiered through it.

The 16,000-square-foot Center Street Market is anchored by the Crooked Can Brewing Co., which makes a variety of beers locally and was the first business to open there in February.

The market's various vendors, including Meatball Mafia, the Cheesecake Girl, Dumplings of Fury, Bakes by Lo and Coffee Connections of Hilliard, started to open during the spring.

Related story:Vendors starting to open at Center Street Market in Old Hilliard

Trial by fire – No one could foresee the challenges 2020 would bring, but Michelle Crandall had to rise to meet them in her first months as Hilliard's first city manager.

Crandall was sworn in Jan. 2, making history as the first person holding the job after Hilliard voters had approved a charter amendment in November 2018 to change the city’s form of government from that of a publicly elected "strong mayor" to council-appointed city manager.

Related story:Michelle Crandall weathers coronavirus storm in first months as Hilliard city manager

Did their guitars gently weep? – Before the pandemic changed the dynamics of public gatherings, ax aficionados from Ohio and across the country, strumming acoustic guitars or plugging into amplifiers, flocked to the Makoy Center in Old Hilliard on Jan. 5 for the biannual Ohio Guitar Show.

The show had 100 vendors and drew about 1,200 attendees, ranging from people who were inspired by Chuck Berry to plug into an amplifier to those not yet born when Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain helped define alternative rock.

Related story:Ohio Guitar Show in Hilliard plays up vintage instruments

kcorvo@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekCorvo