Main Street makeover: Second grant to extend Reynoldsburg project

Kelley Youman
ThisWeek
The city of Reynoldsburg on Dec. 11 was awarded a $1.49 million grant from the Ohio Public Works Commission for Main Street improvements. The city also received a $1.5 million grant in January 2020. The first phase of the project between Davidson Drive and Jackson Street is scheduled to begin this spring.

Awarded another round of state grant funding, the city of Reynoldsburg is closer to completing Main Street improvements. 

The city on Dec. 11 was awarded a $1.49 million grant from the Ohio Public Works Commission, Mayor Joe Begeny said. 

“I am thrilled that we were able to secure the OPWC grant, as this year was extremely competitive due to the uncertainties of funding because of COVID-19,” he said.  

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 in the spring. 

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 more than 100 on-street parking spaces for downtown businesses. 

Construction also will replace a 90-year-old storm sewer that “hasn’t really been touched since the 1930s,” Begeny said.  

The second OPWC grant will help extend the project east to Main Street's intersection with Waggoner and Graham roads, with construction expected to begin in 2022, Begeny said. 

Reynoldsburg will use about $1.5 million in grants it received in January 2020 from the OPWC to help pay for the first phase. 

The city also will use two loans: a $500,000, zero-interest loan from the OPWC and 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. 

The remaining costs of the work will be covered using part of the roughly $4 million the city spends each year on street and sewer projects.  

“With back-to-back grant awards, we will have made long-needed improvements to our Olde Towne area that will benefit our residents and commercial businesses for years to come,” Begeny said. 

In a separate project, the Ohio Department of Transportation will repave the same stretch of Main Street in 2021.  

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