As we look back over a year full of activity and progress, we can’t help but spend time reflecting on what we’re grateful for. The health of our families; the ability to learn, grow, and thrive in our close-knit neighborhoods; and the gift of our community. Thank you for your part in making Bexley what it is, and in helping to move our wonderful community forward. Here’s to a busy and energetic year behind us, and bright roads ahead.
Cheers and Happy New Year to you and yours!
– Mayor Ben
- Pop-up Senior Center opened on N. Cassady Avenue: In February of this year, we celebrated the ribbon cutting at the Bexley Senior Center! This space allows for older adults to engage in both socialization and physical activity, which are two crucial factors for maintaining strong cognitive health. For years the City has worked to identify space to home a dedicated senior center. The interim use of the space allows us to learn more about the programming and spatial needs for a senior center and to work to identify a long-term, permanent location for this very popular new use. Thank you to Bexley Recreation and Parks staff for the hard work and creativity that went into transforming this space for our community!
- Livingston Avenue Plan: After a robust public engagement process, the Joint Livingston Avenue plan was adopted by Bexley and the City of Columbus, with short term results already paying off on the stretch of Livingston between College Avenue and James. The new lane configuration has resulted in slower speeds and a much safer environment for motorists, pedestrians, and those living along the street. Long term plans are already underway to install more impactful elements of the plan, with Bexley and Columbus having applied for federal infrastructure for the project. For more information, visit bexley.org/livingston. Keep an eye out for the Blast for future updates!
- Year of the Parks is Underway: While the “Year of the Parks” technically kicks off in January, projects are already under construction! Current projects include the Havenwood Park refresh, Schneider Park Natural Dog Park, and the recently completed DGB Kindness Park on Main Street. Keep an eye out for exciting new improvements at Commonwealth Park, Schneider Park, as well as new public park spaces along Main Street to come in 2023! For more information on this series of park projects, visit bexley.org/YOTP.
- Welcoming Chief Lewis: Following the retirement of Chief Larry Rinehart, we set out on a nationwide search for a new chief. Facilitated by excellent feedback from the community going into the search, there were four finalist candidates who participated in a town hall forum. In September, Chief Gary D. Lewis, Jr. was sworn in as the city’s 10th Chief of Police. Chief Lewis has a depth of experience and has already proven to be a fantastic addition to city leadership!
- Busiest Event Calendar in City History: Following two impacted summers due to the pandemic, this summer welcomed a historical influx of community events! The Main Event returned to Capital’s lawn, Jazz in the Park was more popular than ever, and it seemed like every weekend there was something happening around town. A huge thank you to the Bexley Community Foundation and the 2022 Bexley Celebrations & Events Sponsors for helping make these events possible!
- City Council took action on a number of important topics, including providing protection for poll workers; enhancing environmental protections for contaminated sites; confirming appointments of new board and commission members; and approving a budget for 2023 that includes funding for a dynamic community-wide parks improvement program, lower pool membership rates, eliminating resident billing for sidewalk replacement program, new mental health services for employees and residents, and much more!
- Sustainability Initiatives Advanced in 2022 included a landmark mosquito control pilot program that studied alternatives to chemical spraying; the introduction at City Council of an ordinance to provide recycling at all commercial and multifamily properties in the City; the announcement of the Alley of the Future program; a comprehensive city-wide recycling education and data-collection campaign; the phase-in of the straw and cutlery provisions of the single use plastics ban; a restaurant and condominium food waste recycling pilot program; and another fantastic year of Love Your Alley! Keep track of the City’s environmental programming, events, and resources by visiting greenbexley.org.
- Bexley Community Foundation awarded over 30 grants totaling $300,000 in 2022: Grants include improvements to the North Community Garden, summer food assistance for DARN families, the Bexley Farmers’ Market, the annual Arbor Day tree giveaway, Jeffrey Mansion Camp Scholarships and Counselor Scholarship, the Splish, Splash & Dash Youth Triathlon, a baby grand piano at Jeffrey Mansion, Art and Wellness programs at Bexley Public Library, and much more. Thank you to the Bexley Community Foundation for another great year of resident-inspired programming, events, and scholarships!
- State Capital Fund Grant for Alum Creek bike/pedestrian bridge at Schneider Park: The City was awarded a $350,000 grant to help cover the cost of the proposed bike and pedestrian bridge over Alum Creek at Astor Avenue. The bridge will connect Schneider Park to the multi-use Alum Creek bike trail, and to points beyond!
- Businesses opening and expanding in 2022 included the new Tropical Smoothie in the former Jeni’s space; Clean Title moving into the Ohio State Bank building; Cherbourg Bakery opening a new cafe space on Drexel; Kitchen of Life opening a teaching kitchen in the former Bexley Premier space; Chambers Music Studio opening their cafe space; the new K Gallery art gallery at 2776 East Main; and Green Meadows Schoolhouse opening on North Cassady.