Reynoldsburg: 5 top stories from 2020

Kelley Youman
ThisWeek
5 Top Stories of 2020

Although the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic shuttered schools and canceled plans, much of the work of the city of Reynoldsburg marched on – albeit from home offices and through livestreamed virtual meetings.

Here’s a look at five significant stories published in the ThisWeek Reynoldsburg News during the past 12 months.

Coronavirus changed plans – The pandemic upended many of the city’s plans, forcing the senior center to remain closed until 2021 and canceling many annual traditions, including the Tomato Festival, the Fourth of July parade and fireworks and Christmas on the Towne.

The city in April declared a state of emergency and shut down much of City Hall, including mayor’s court. City offices have reopened on a limited basis, but Reynoldsburg City Council meetings ended the year still being conducted virtually and livestreamed on the city’s Facebook page.

After the much-anticipated opening of the $30 million Community Center YMCA in January, the location shut its doors in March before reopening this summer. For about nine weeks during the spring, the YMCA was used as temporary housing for Truro Township fire crews, to allow more distance between shifts.

Related story:COVID-19: Reynoldsburg Tomato Festival canceled

Related story:Reynoldsburg postpones Independence Day celebrations

Related story:Reynoldsburg YMCA addresses community’s ‘unique needs’

Related story:Truro Township Station 161 finds temporary housing at vacant YMCA

Development continued – More than 800 more rooftops are coming to Reynoldsburg, following a whirlwind year of residential projects receiving the greenlight.

The approvals of four major developments – Spring Hill Farms, the Oliver, the Ravines at Taylor and Rose Hill Townhomes – came on the heels of the city overhauling its 50-year-old zoning code in March. The new code includes two types of zoning related to housing: suburban residential and residential medium.

Related story:Reynoldsburg planning commission OKs 354-home development off Waggoner Road

Related story:The Oliver: Townhomes, apartments OK'd for development on Lancaster Avenue in Reynoldsburg

Related story:Ravines at Taylor to bring 128 townhomes to Reynoldsburg

Related story:Rosehill Road townhome development gets approval in Reynoldsburg

Related story:https://www.thisweeknews.com/news/20200319/reynoldsburg-planning-commission-oks-new-zoning

Legislative changes made – With a new mayor, council president and four new ward representatives taking office in 2020, City Council approved legislation creating a civilian-review board for the police department, expanded the city’s anti-discrimination ordinance and enacted policies aimed at problem properties.

The review board, which was approved in October, will meet publicly to hold hearings on complaints, which would be heard after an internal investigation by the police department.

In June, City Council unanimously approved an ordinance adding sexual orientation, gender identity or expression and natural hairstyle as protected classes and expanding the city’s anti-discrimination laws related to housing, employment and public-accommodation practices.

Over the summer, the city began targeting vacant buildings, enacting a new law requiring inspections and imposing an initial fee of $200 per property.

Related story:Reynoldsburg City Council approves creation of police review board

Related story:Reynoldsburg broadens anti-discrimination ordinance

Related story:Reynoldsburg establishes registry for vacant properties

Farmers market thrived – The pandemic did not cancel all of the parks and recreation department’s programming, and a revamped Reynoldsburg Farmers Market had one of its most successful years yet.

Construction on Davidson Drive forced the market to move across the street to JFK Park, 7232 E. Main St., for its run from May to September, but that didn’t stop more than 6,000 people from turning out to the weekly market.

Related link:Reynoldsburg Farmers Market successful despite pandemic and construction

Local luminary lost – Residents in June mourned the passing of local legend Mel Clemens at the age of 88.

He had served the community in a variety of roles, dating to 1960 as both an at-large and ward representative on City Council. He also served 16 years on the Truro Township board of trustees and 11 years as the city’s safety-service director.

Related story:Mel Clemens, longtime Reynoldsburg councilman, dies at 88

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