WESTERVILLE — The historic building at the corner of Tussic Street Road and Big Walnut Road, which one served as the Genoa Township Hall, will be relocated not too far away from its present location.
“Capital grant funds from the State of Ohio will enable renovations to Freeman Road Park and the relocation of the former Township Hall from the northeast corner of Tussic and Big Walnut to McNamara Park, making way for a Delaware County intersection improvement project,” said Trustee Connie Goodman in the latest township newsletter. “These grants stretch tax dollars. Thank you to Rep. Rick Carfagna for his work on the state budget and also to Genoa Township’s staff grant writer Jim Barna.”
As for the historic building, the words “Genoe Town House 1880” are etched inside a stone fan located over the front door.
Those who drive on Big Walnut Road along Tussic Street Road know the old hall sticks out and makes it hard to see traffic on Tussic that is wishing to turn or go across the street. The Delaware County Engineer’s Office has plans for intersection, as well as Big Walnut Road and Old 3C Highway.
“From 2016 to 2020, there were a total of 13 reported crashes at these two intersections, nearly all involving angle (T-bone) type collisions,” the engineer’s office notes in the project summary. “One crash involved a bicycle.”
With the exception of the COVID-related drop in 2020, traffic volumes have increased steadily in the past decade. Traffic engineers give grades to level of service, meaning delays. The grade of A means little or no delay, F means significant delays. The four-way stop at Old 3C Highway is graded C-D during peak travel hours, while Tussic Street Road is graded C-E during peak hours. There was little delay for either road during nonpeak hours.
“The county engineer has requested evaluation of alternatives, including traffic signals with turn lanes and single-lane roundabouts,” states the project summary. “Due to the intersection skew angle at Old 3C, a nontraditional ‘peanut’ roundabout will also be studied to see if it is feasible and whether it will reduce property impacts.”
The Delaware County Engineer’s Office stressed that no decisions have been made, and alternatives will be discussed with residents and local officials. The office was asked to present its upcoming projects at the Genoa Township Board of Trustees meeting on March 4.
“All options, including keeping the existing intersections as-is and delaying any action for a number of years, are on the table,” the project summary states. “Upgrades at one or the other intersection, instead of both, will also be considered.”
The project summary’s timeline said engineering work will continue into next year. Property will then be purchased if necessary, and the utilities would be relocated. Construction is expected to take place in 2024-25. No word yet on when the old township hall will be relocated.
Goodman also said in the newsletter, “March 23rd marks the first anniversary of Ohio’s stay home order. Life feels a bit more normal now than in the early days of the pandemic, but continuing to remain distant from others is difficult. This challenge resulted in renovations at Township Hall that, I hope, will improve the experience for resident engagement in public meetings now and in the future.”
The present Genoa Township Hall is at 5111 South Old 3C Highway, Westerville.
“In February of this year, trustee meetings began streaming live on WebEx with specialized cameras and microphones designed to capture the conversation and to allow public comment,” Goodman said in the newsletter. “This improvement project was funded by the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES).”
The township went on to say, “A new playground, fresh trail surface, and wildflowers are among the features planned to give new life to Freeman Park with the help of funding from the State of Ohio.”
Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0906 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.