The city of Westerville recently issued its 2015 annual report and residents’ guide.
Progress on a number of projects in Westerville will also impact residents in Delaware County.
Perhaps most visible to anyone who drives through Westerville is the continued construction on State Route 3. The city said this is phase 2 of the South State Street improvements, or the “coffee shop to coffee shop” phase, since it goes from the Tim Horton’s to Starbucks.
“Phase 2 carries forward roadway improvements, including utility line underground relocation and pedestrian-friendly features,” said the report. “The completion of the intersection improvements at State Street and Schrock Road will include new sidewalks, crosswalks, street trees, streetlights and traffic signals. Schrock Road will also have bicycle lanes.”
“Yes, the start of the State/Shrock improvement project has and will continue to be difficult, but the end result will match the classic upgrades at the Interstate 270 interchange to the south, with practical and important improvement of buried utility lines, safer pedestrian access and better street navigation for motorists,” City Manager David A. Collinsworth said in the report.
Near SR 3 is Heatherdown Drive, which was once the site of a Knights Inn. That will be replaced by a 101-room Aloft Hotel. The chain is expanding in Ohio, with hotels in Cleveland and Beachwood, and two others under construction in Columbus and North Olmsted. “The boutique hotel is currently expected to open January 2018,” the report said.
A notable development, Westar Place, will be getting a 224-room Marriott Renaissance Hotel and Conference Center as an anchor. The nearby Westar Retail Center features the recently opened Fresh Thyme Farmers Market, BW3, a pet store and soon-to-open Beer 101 restaurant.
Next to the retail center is the Worthington Road connector, which joins Polaris Parkway and County Line Road. Called Vesper Way, it features Westerville’s first roundabout, and the Ravines at Westar luxury apartments.
Delaware County, Columbus, Westerville, the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission and Ohio Department of Transportation are collaborating on a $10 million project to extend Gemini Place from Orion Place to Worthington Road.
“Work on the new five-lane roadway extension begins this year and is anticipated to further reduce rush-hour traffic congestion on Polaris Parkway,” the report said.
There are two other capital projects of note.
First is a $14 million project to add lanes to Cleveland Avenue between I-270 and Mount Carmel St. Ann’s Hospital. “Additional northbound and southbound lanes along Cleveland Avenue and an additional turn lane to northbound Cleveland from Schrock Road will enhance traffic flow and safety in this highly traveled corridor,” the report said.
The other is a $9.3 million project to improve Sunbury Road from County Line to Maxtown roads. “The project includes a modified intersection at County Line Road with additional lanes to improve safety and reduce congestion,” the report said. “A new storm sewer and street lighting, a sidewalk on the west side of Sunbury Road and a multi-use trail to the east are part of the project. Construction is expected to begin this fall and conclude in 2017.”
The city said there are 1,570 parking spaces in uptown Westerville. A number of new eateries have popped up in the past year in the area — Asterisk Supper Club; 8 State Bistro; Koble Grill; Shirley’s Gourmet Popcorn; Uptown Deli and Brew; and Whit’s Frozen Custard. Soon to open will be Cucinova and Northstar Cafe.
The Parks and Recreation Department said the bicycle and walking bridge installed over County Line Road is a part of the 285-mile Ohio-to-Erie trail; Everal Barn at Heritage Park along Cleveland Avenue now offers catered beer and wine service; and Hoff Woods Park near Maxtown Road will receive a 15-acre expansion for additional sports fields and a second entrance from Westdale Avenue.
Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0906 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.