Westerville: 5 top stories of 2020

Marla K. Kuhlman
ThisWeek group

For Westerville, 2020 brought a utility-bill holiday for residents and businesses as a result of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

And while the city provided economic relief, Otterbein University looked for volunteers to participate in helping to track coronavirus hot spots. Expansion and renovation at city and school facilities also occurred throughout the year and are included among the five of the top stories of 2020.

5 Top Stories of 2020

'ZERO BALANCE DUE': Based on economic uncertainties associated with the spread of the coronavirus, the city of Westerville enacted a payment holiday for March usage.

Users saw a “zero balance due” on their utility bills for April 15.

City officials encouraged residents and businesses to pay it forward if they were able by making a donation to a local nonprofit or charitable organization.

AN APP FOR THAT: Otterbein University asked the Westerville community and others to download a free app to help researchers identify coronavirus hot spots.

John Comerford, Otterbein president, said everyone was encouraged to participate by reporting symptoms or lack of symptoms on the app.

The application was designed to assist in the study of coronavirus symptoms and in tracking the spread.

HISTORY IN THE MAKING: Longtime Westerville City Manager David Collinsworth and Westerville Assistant City Manager Julie Colley announced in April that they will retire effective January 2021.

Westerville City Council announced in November that Monica Irelan of Painesville will be the next city manager and the first woman to hold the position. She is scheduled to begin work Jan. 4, 2021, and she then will appoint an assistant city manager to replace Colley.

WORKOUT WONDERLAND: Beginning June 15, users of the Westerville Community Center, 350 N. Cleveland Ave., had access to a new fitness area, an expanded track and a new gymnasium.

Westerville Parks & Recreation director Randy Auler said the fitness area was expanded from about 5,000 square feet to 15,000 square feet on two levels, featuring 100 pieces of equipment ranging from free weights to upper cardio and performance tools.

The senior center also is moving to the expanded older adult/senior wing of the community center, boasting more than 12,000 square feet.

WILDCAT WELCOME: Westerville South High School students, staff and the community soon will be able to enjoy a new gymnasium, classrooms and project-based learning areas, thanks to the school’s renovation project. 

Mike Hinze, South’s principal, said he’s most excited about the new classrooms and learning spaces for the school’s approximately 1,600 students.  

He said the renovation provides wider halls and more color to the high school.

mkuhlman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekMarla