Worthington: 5 top stories from 2020

Stephen Borgna
ThisWeek group
5 Top Stories of 2020

The past 12 months have brought about some of the greatest challenges the nation and world have experienced in recent memory.

The COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, the nationwide protests against police brutality and all of the socioeconomic consequences that followed – and all that taking place in a presidential-election year – have put many communities through all they can handle. 

But the Worthington community has proved resilient and has conducted business as usual in many cases. Here is a brief recap of five noteworthy stories published in ThisWeek Worthington News over the past year.

A growing community – Several major development projects have taken root in Worthington as developers work with city officials to bring proposed residential and commercial projects to fruition. 

Highlights include the High North project, a proposed redevelopment and rebranding of the Shops at Worthington Place mall at 7227 N. High St; the Worthington Gateway project and all the mixed-use development accompanying it on the site of the former Holiday Inn that had stood for more than 40 years at 7007 N. High St. before it was demolished in late 2018; and a new restaurant and residential use at the iconic Worthington Inn building at 649 High St.

Related story:High North proposal making its way through development process

Related story:Trivium’s plan would replace nixed Tru hotel for Worthington Gateway

Related story:New plan for Worthington Inn includes restaurant, residential use

A vision of the future – Worthington officials wanted to tap into the minds of residents in early 2019 to determine the direction they want their community to take in the years ahead. 

The Worthington Community Visioning initiative is the culmination of that effort.

Seven visioning statements – which were decided by the 13-member visioning committee after it collected significant community input – were presented to Worthington City Council on Nov. 9.

Related story:Vision Worthington has end in sight

Related story:Committee settles on Worthington vision statements; implementation comes next

The show goes on – Business continued throughout Worthington amid the backdrop of the coronavirus, albeit with restrictions. 

Among new businesses opening during the pandemic was Play: CBUS, a 52,000-square-foot indoor adventure park that began operating Nov. 6 at 535 Lakeview Plaza Blvd.

Worthington students found ways to channel their entrepreneurial spirits, with sisters Jordan and Jillian Cross using their yard-sign business, Cardinal Yard Cards, to spread positive messages and joy and a Thomas Worthington High School sophomore, Lindsey Oguntuase, launching an online-based bakery business, Lindz’s Desserts.

Meanwhile, local restaurants adapted to the new era, with many ramping up takeout service and emphasizing the availability of outdoor seating during the spring, summer and fall.

Related story:Play: CBUS offers adrenaline-inducing indoor adventures in Worthington

Related story:Enterprising Worthington sisters spread positive messages with Cardinal Yard Cards

Related story:Thomas Worthington sophomore finds recipe for success with online bakery

Related story:Restaurants with outdoor dining prepare for winds of winter

Learning modes in flux – Worthington Schools has had to adapt constantly throughout the year as it maintains a delicate balance between students’ education and the well-being of students and their families during the pandemic. 

During the first semester of the 2020-21 academic year, students returned to classes in remote learning, moved to hybrid learning and then switched back to remote learning when COVID-19 cases started to increase again in central Ohio – adding to an already dizzying year for students and their families.

Related story:Worthington Schools trying to meet students’ needs during coronavirus closure

Related story:Worthington Schools will begin transitioning employees back to buildings

Related story:Worthington Schools officials ready to implement hybrid learning

Related story:Worthington students will return to remote learning; sports will continue without spectators

More changes for schools – Worthington Schools also made changes relating the nationwide protests following the death of George Floyd in May while he was in the custody of Minneapolis police officers.

The school board voted 3-2 on July 27 to end its school-resource-officers program started in 2018; board members had questioned whether police officers were necessary in school buildings. The vote came after a board resolution proclaiming Worthington Schools an antiracist district committed to social justice.

The district also hired Toya Spencer as its new director of diversity, equity and inclusion. Spencer started Aug. 3.

Related story:Worthington school board eyes role of SROs

Related story:Worthington school board votes to discontinue SRO program

Related story:Worthington Schools' new director of diversity, equity and inclusion building relationships

sborgna@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekSteve