Upper Arlington: 5 top stories from 2020

Nate Ellis
ThisWeek group
5 Top Stories of 2020

Life has gone on, but nearly every facet of it has shifted in some way because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

Additionally, there were more cancellations than we want to count, but they included spring scholastic sports and the 50-year reunion for the Upper Arlington High School class of 1970.

Other institutions, like the Upper Arlington Civic Association’s July 4 parade, swimming at city pools and fall scholastic sports, went forward, but not without significant alterations.  

Here’s a recap five ThisWeek Upper Arlington News stories that highlighted the year.

A Plan for Macy’s – A Christmas miracle in September? 

Five years after Kroger Co. purchased the 105,422-square-foot blue-brick Macy’s building – and proceeded to do nothing with it other than shutter its doors – along came Continental Real Estate Cos. CEO Frank Kass to announce Sept. 8 he intended to buy the building and its affiliated 6.23 acres.

Kass plans to construct three buildings on the site, ranging from six to nine stories, that would yield senior housing, a restaurant and 400 apartments. The site also could be home to an Upper Arlington Community Center.

More:Kroger to sell Macy's site to Gateway developer

Did you say community center? – After numerous unsuccessful stabs at a community center project, a task force has recommended the city move forward with plans for a $52.4-million, 95,300-square-foot community center on the former Macy’s site at Kingsdale.

Upper Arlington City Council is expected in January to place an issue on the May ballot that would allow voters to decide if the project should move forward.

More:Task force: No tax increase needed to build $54.2M Upper Arlington community center

A respite from the heat and holing up – Following about a two-week postponement due to coronavirus concerns, Tremont Pool opened June 12 and Devon Pool opened June 15. 

Deck furniture was removed and attendance was capped, but the pool was open. 

Attendees hailed the move as needed recreation and relief, and city officials later said the move was the right call.

More:Opening of Upper Arlington pools makes big splash for residents

Hummer out – After 31 years with the city, including the final 18 as city attorney, Jeanine Hummer called it a career, retiring Aug. 31.

In addition to being a fixture at UA Schools sporting events over the years, Hummer was heavily involved in nearly every major decision the city took on during her tenure, from development and a lawsuit over use of the Tree of Life building at 5000 Arlington Centre Blvd., to the establishment of a local drug court and seeking to regulate golf-cart craziness on Independence Day.

She received a roughly hour-long sendoff from Upper Arlington City Council, including a video montage during the Aug. 31 meeting.

More:Upper Arlington city attorney Jeanine Hummer reflects on 31-year career

School construction continues – In November 2017, UA voters passed a 5.17-mill bond to provide $230 million for the reconstruction of UA High School and rebuilds and renovations to each of the district’s five elementary buildings.

Renovated elementary buildings at Greensview, Tremont and Wickliffe opened this school year.

While it’s yet to be seen when the pandemic will lift and when students will return to traditional forms of school, the new high school and Windermere Elementary buildings, as well as a renovated Barrington Elementary, are scheduled to open for the start of the 2021-22 school year.

More:Schools construction not delayed by pandemic

nellis@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekNate