The community center is “the big one” among the priorities for 2022

Upper Arlington officials expect top priorities for 2022 to be the construction of the city’s first community center, along with continued infrastructure improvements and diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives.

Because 80% of voters in last May’s primary election supported the city’s construction of a community center, city ​​officials worked to put plans in place to make the facility a reality.

The design of the estimated 95,300 square foot Kingsdale Mall facility was nearing completion by the end of 2021, City Manager Steve Schoeny said.

the plans for the building and the programming it will house should be announced to the city state address February 17.

“The most important thing (in 2022) is really the community hub, making sure that the design process is done very well so that we are wise with taxpayers’ money and provide what the community wants and needs. “Schoeny said. “I hope we will start construction in the fall of next year.

“There’s a lot of work to do until then, but we’re making great progress.”

The city intends to issue $55 million in bonds to fund construction of the project, and a private fundraising campaign is seeking to contribute at least $5.4 million. Officials also plan to generate revenue to support the facility by leasing a total of 50,000 square feet to Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center and Nationwide Children’s Hospital.

Although the community center is at the forefront of the city, the $2.9 million reconstruction of Northwest Boulevard will continue, Schoeny said.

The project, which began on July 6, 2021, includes the reconstruction of Northwest Boulevard from Barrington Road to North Star Road and includes reconstruction of the road foundation, resurfacing of the roadway, installation of new curbs and gutters , the construction of new access roads and improvements to the storm sewer system.

This spring, the city also plans to launch the rebuild fisherman from Mountview Road to Tremont Road, said Schoeny.

The approximately $12.9 million project will include rebuilding Upper Arlington’s busiest east-west thoroughfare and installing sidewalks, a bike lane or a “shared-use lane” , new storm water pipes and energy-efficient street lighting.

According to the Engineering Division, the city’s estimated share of the project is approximately $4.4 million. The rest of the project will be funded by about $8.4 million in federal transportation grants to be distributed by the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission and an additional $811,934 from the Ohio Department of Transportation, according to the division. .

“Fishinger should start hopefully in April,” Schoeny said. “It will take the entire construction season because we are replacing the water pipes and realigning the street.”

Although not an infrastructure project, the city is planning a $1.3 million renovation of Upper Arlington Police Division space at the Municipal Services Center, 3600 Tremont Road.

“We’re going to move some of them (UAPD staff) to a room downstairs,” Schoeny said. “We will be moving the rest of them to the old Board of Education (Upper Arlington Schools) building (1950 N. Mallway Drive).”

Schoeny said most UAPD staff would move to the old district office building, but patrollers would likely continue to work out of the MSC.

“I don’t think the (UAPD) space has been redone for about 30 years,” he said. “It’s not working well for the way we want our officers, investigators and administrative staff to work.

“There is not enough meeting space, and we will also make some security improvements to the building.”

Schoeny said the city will also continue its initiatives to strengthen diversity, equity and inclusion.

The city’s Community Relations Committee will be accepting applications in the coming months for grants of $1,000 to $5,000 for community group programs that support DEI.

“We will be rolling out a small grants program for community organizations who want to establish a program that supports diversity, equity and inclusion in Upper Arlington and makes Upper Arlington a more welcoming place,” Schoeny said. . “It will be a competitive process and we hope to get some good ideas from organizations in the community. We have set aside $15,000 for this.”

In addition to the city administration’s priorities for 2022, Upper Arlington City Council Chairman Brendan King said council is focused on the community center and city services.

“I believe council’s priorities for 2022 will be to continue to provide the cost-effective, high-level services our residents have come to expect from the city, to continue to be fiscally responsible as we improve our aging infrastructure, and to continue the commitment of the council to engage the community in every decision,” he said. “We will particularly focus on listening to residents about the design and construction of the community center.

“On the design and construction of the community center, we will continue to work to find residents where they are through workshops and open houses to learn and understand the amenities residents want in the building.”

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Jill E. Washington