Portion of Pickerington's events, parking lot to be paved
A gravel-covered lot that is home to the Olde Pickerington Farmers' Market and serves as parking for downtown businesses will be upgraded with paving next month.
For several years, the city of Pickerington has utilized a 1.3-acre site it owns at the northwest corner of Town Square Drive and North Center Street for parking.
At the beginning of October, the vacant space, which also is where the farmers market and other community activities are held throughout the year, will have a substantial section paved.
"We anticipate paving to be complete by Oct. 15," said Greg Butcher, Pickerington's city manager.
"One hundred feet by 250 feet of the area has been identified for paving, which is about two-thirds of the existing gravel area."
The project will cost "slightly less than $50,000" and will be funded as part of the citywide 2020 paving program, Butcher said.
"Approximately two-thirds of the existing gravel lot will be paved to provide a more viable parking lot, reinforcing the city's commitment to its downtown and providing an amenity to its residents and visitors to the downtown area," Butcher said.
"(It will) provide opportunity for better parking for persons visiting downtown businesses, as well as other activities that occur in and around the downtown area throughout the year."
Butcher said the project has been discussed by city officials for several years.
The project also would support the city's effort to land a $30,000 grant to help fund the purchase of a $45,000 electric-vehicle-charging station.
The city currently is seeking the grant from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.
If the grant is awarded, the city would install the station, which could charge four e-vehicles, on the Town Square Drive-North Center Street lot.
"The fact that a paved surface will be created aligns with the requirements of the electric-vehicle-charging grant," Butcher said.
"Therefore, it was prudent to incorporate the newly paved lot into a site for electric charging.
"Additionally, the proximity of the lot to downtown businesses further validated the lot's potential for an electric-vehicle charging station."
Janis Francis, president of the Pickerington Village Association and owner of the Humble Crate, Artisan Marketplace at 18 E. Columbus St., said the project is welcomed.
She said the upgrade would improve the aesthetics of the downtown area while also providing a better surface for Olde Pickerington shoppers and visitors.
Francis said the farmers market would be a particular benefactor of the project.
"It will provide better accessibility for the community residents who need a flat surface to better get around," Francis said.
"Many do not attend the farmers' market who are in wheelchairs, have small children with strollers or walk with a cane.
"In the past, customers have come to the farmers market in wheelchairs and get stuck in the gravel. Children in strollers almost receive a carnival ride with the bumpy conditions. Elderly or healing people with canes don't attend due to the uneven conditions as it creates a fall hazard."