Gahanna Residential Paper Shredding and Electronic Recycling Event to be Held April 21

Please join us for the Gahanna Residential Paper Shredding and Electronic Recycling Event on Saturday April 21, 2018 from 9:00am – 12:00pm at the City Hall parking lot, located at 200 S Hamilton Rd.  Residents can drop off their family and household records for shredding as well as computers and other electronics devices for recycling.

If you are interested in volunteering for the event, you can sign up here.  If you would like more information, you can download an FAQ here.

Weather Safety Tips from Franklin County Public Health

A Holiday Message from Mayor Tom Kneeland

The Holiday season is a time to reflect on the achievements of the passing year and to celebrate time with friends and loved ones. It’s also a time to show support for those less fortunate than ourselves.  We are truly blessed to live in a community that helps one another during challenging times.  Recently, some families in our community were impacted by a fire. Thankfully, no lives were lost, but these families lost many of their personal belongings. Recognizing the need, three area businesses – AutoZone, Lind Automotive and Gahanna Hardware stepped up to help replace many of the items lost and provided services so that those impacted would be able to resume some sense of normal life. During the December 18th Council meeting, I recognized these businesses with my Lead by Example award for their willingness to step up and fill a need. For these businesses to go above and beyond is a testament to the kind of compassionate community we are blessed to be a part of.

It’s been an exciting year for Gahanna as we’ve witnessed substantial progress in our city including the completion of Hamilton Road Central, continued success with the Detroit subdivision street rebuild program and the approval of a much-needed neighborhood park for the residents of the west side. We also launched a new data-driven and responsive website to help enhance our customer’s experience.  We also led an initiative to establish the Gahanna Area Arts Council, an organization that is committed to promoting and cultivating the arts in our community.

Through a partnership with the Gahanna-Jefferson Public School District and our local businesses, we have made important progress on a workforce development initiative – a partnership created to help prepare today’s students for tomorrow’s jobs.  We also reaffirmed our commitment toward protecting our natural resources through a proclamation I signed making Gahanna a Pollinator-Friendly city and through a resolution adopted by our City Council, we were awarded the distinction of Bee City USA.

Thanks to Make Gahanna Yours and many other community organizations, we have been able to restore some treasured community traditions like Music in the Park, and holiday decorations in our public spaces.  And, we also saw the “G” on our signature arch lit thanks to CRT Realtors.

In the coming year, we will continue to make progress on our Detroit subdivision Street Rebuild program, improve trail connectivity on the Big Walnut Trail, expand on our workforce development initiative, begin construction on the new park located on McCutcheon Road and implement strategies to address traffic congestion on the west side of our city. We will begin work on creating a new brand for our city, one that residents and businesses will be proud to embrace and will ultimately help bring commercial real estate development to spur economic growth for Gahanna.

In 2018, there will be a new community-wide initiative that will be an all-inclusive collaborative effort between the City, schools, Gahanna Ministerial Association, and the entire community to firmly establish and identify Gahanna as a compassionate, and communicating community that cares about its vision, values, and faith. More details about the exciting initiative will be coming in the new year.

We have much to be thankful for this year. I am especially grateful for the support of Council and the efforts of a dedicated and hardworking City staff.  Most of all, I am thankful to have your support and confidence to serve as your mayor!  The success of our city lies in our ability to come together for a common purpose, which is to make Gahanna the best place to live, work, play, visit and shop. I look forward to working with each of you in the coming year!

From my family to yours, Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

In service,

Mayor Tom Kneeland
City of Gahanna

West Side Intersection Improvement Alternatives Analysis Update

For those unable to attend any of the scheduled open houses concerning the West Side Intersection, we have provided a link to the materials disseminated outlining the proposed alternatives.  If you have additional questions or would like to provide feedback, please email the City Engineer Robert Priestas at robert.priestas@gahanna.gov.

City of Gahanna Awarded Certificate of Achievement of Excellence in Financial Reporting for Fourth Consecutive Year

The City of Gahanna has been awarded the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting by the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States (GFOA) for its Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) for the fiscal year ending December 31, 2016.

The Certificate of Achievement is the highest form of recognition in governmental accounting and financial reporting, and its attainment represents a significant accomplishment by a government and its management.  This award is the fourth consecutive year the City of Gahanna has earned this distinction.

“Earning this recognition for the fourth year in a row demonstrates our continued commitment to transparency and fiscal accountability to Gahanna’s taxpayers,” said Gahanna Mayor Tom Kneeland.  “I am very pleased by the efforts of our finance department, led by Joann Bury to ensure we are adhering to the highest standards of reporting to our citizens.”

The CAFR was judged by an impartial panel to meet the high standards of the program including demonstrating a constructive “spirit of full disclosure” to clearly communicate its financial story and motivate users and user groups to read the CAFR.

“It is always an honor to receive this recognition,” said City of Gahanna Finance Director Joann Bury. “Receiving this award demonstrates our continued dedication to providing comprehensive financial information and transparency to our citizens.”

The City of Gahanna’s Finance Department oversees all of the City’s financial operations, which includes the municipal income tax, city budget, annual appropriations, accounts payable, debt, banking and investment management and payroll.

A copy of the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) for FY16 may be found under the “Finance” section of the City’s website.

The Government Finance Officers Association is a major professional association serving the needs of nearly 19,000 appointed and elected local, state, and provincial-level government officials and other finance practitioners. To learn more about the GFOA, click here.

City Buzzing with Enthusiasm for Bee City Projects

Original story by Marla Kuhlman, ThisWeek Community News

The buzz around Gahanna is that the city is officially a “Bee City USA.”

Gahanna landed the status after city council voted to pursue the program that helps communities recognize the importance of pollinators.

Residents can expect to see a variety of initiatives, including the installation and maintenance of three active beehives within the city.

Additionally, the city plans to landscape the newly opened roundabouts on Hamilton Road Central to create pollinator habitats.

Mayor Tom Kneeland signed a proclamation making Gahanna a pollinator-friendly community last spring.

The Bee City USA status reaffirms the city’s commitment to help create pollinator-friendly habitats that ensure the survival of animal species, such as bees, which improve regional food production and stimulate the local economy.

“I’m excited about the progress we have made from becoming a pollinator-friendly community to the Bee City USA status,” Kneeland said. “I encourage residents to look for ways in their own yards to create a pollinator-friendly habitat.”

Bee City USA is a nonprofit national organization that encourages communities to sustain pollinators by providing them with a healthy habitat, rich in a variety of native plants and free or nearly free of pesticides.

Some of the installations include gardens at McCorkle Park, Creekside Park and Plaza, the Geroux Herb Garden at Gahanna City Hall, Gahanna Swimming Pool and Veterans Memorial Park.

“When researching community ecological initiatives, I found Gahanna’s current practices to meet or exceed the requirements,” said Shannon Barnette, horticulture coordinator for the Department of Parks and Recreation. “Our city parks and local wildlife can benefit greatly from our ongoing efforts.”

The certification Gahanna received includes a requirement to annually celebrate being a Bee City USA community through public-awareness activities, including a proclamation, signs and web links; with the expectation to annually report activities to Bee City USA to renew the certification.

Gahanna plans to annually celebrate National Pollinator Week during the third week of June.

More information about Bee City USA can be found at www.beecityusa.org.

To learn more about Gahanna’s pollinator initiatives, contact the Ohio Herb Education Center at 614-342-4380.

Guidelines for Curbside Collection of Leaves and Other Yard Waste

It’s that time of year to enjoy the fall colors in Gahanna’s beautiful parks and neighborhoods.  It’s also a time when residents can help pitch in to keep our streets clean and to prevent flooding by raking up fallen leaves and pine needles.  Proper disposal of leaves is through the City’s yard waste collection service that occurs every Monday.  Leaves need to be put in a paper bag, or container clearly marked as “Yard Waste,” and placed curbside prior to 6 a.m.  Yard waste stickers are available from the Water and Refuse Department in City Hall.  The weight of any yard waste container must not exceed 50 pounds.  Yard waste may also be dropped off in the yard waste dumpster located behind the Service Complex at 152 Oklahoma Ave.  Access to the dumpster is available Mon.-Fri. from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

As a reminder, the City of Gahanna does not provide curbside vacuuming of leaves and needles.  It is important that leaves and any other yard waste not be raked or blown into the street.  This helps prevent stormwater drains from becoming clogged.  It is a violation of City code (Codified Ordinance of the City of Gahanna 941.02) to intentionally rake or blow leaves into the street.  Below are best practices to keep in mind when disposing of leaves in order to protect water quality and the local infrastructure:

  • Keep leaves out of the street and away from storm drain inlets.  Leaves left in streets get blown by the wind and carried by rainwater to the nearest storm drain.  They form thick mats that prevent water from flowing into the stormwater system, which in turn, causes street flooding.
  • If you use a professional landscape company to maintain your yard, request that leaves blown off sidewalks or driveways are directed back into the yard and not into the street.
  • If you live along a ravine or stream, do not dump leaves over the edge.  The leaf piles will form thick mats that will not decompose over the winter.  The vegetation under the leaf piles will then die, leading to erosion of the ravine or stream bank.
  • Excessive leaves entering streams pose water quality concerns.  Bacteria use dissolved oxygen within the water to decompose organic matter.  Increased levels of organic matter from leaves result in depleted oxygen levels and consequently kill fish and other aquatic organisms.
  • Leaves can be added to a composting bin; however, other high nitrogen ingredients may be needed for optimum results (due to the high carbon to nitrogen ratio).
  • Leaves can be mulched with a lawn mower and left to decompose on the lawn.

Leaves can also be used as mulch around trees, shrubs, flower bushes and vegetable gardens.  They help impede the growth of weeds, retain soil moisture, maintain lower soil temperatures in the summer and protect against temperature fluctuations.  Leaves will eventually decompose, adding their nutrients to the soil and improve soil structure.

For more information, contact the City of Gahanna Water, Sewer & Refuse Division at 614-342-4440.

City of Gahanna and local writer team up to team up to capture stories of City employed Veterans

The City of Gahanna is teaming up with Gahanna writer Jef Benedetti to tell military stories of City employees who are veterans. The resulting video interviews and veteran information will become part of the Veterans History Project (VHP), which is run under the auspices of the U.S. Library of Congress.

The VHP website contains stories of veterans from all conflicts of the 20th and 21st centuries and from all American military services. The veterans’ stories are submitted from a wide variety of sources including family members, students looking for a project involving veterans, and other interested parties.

In 2016, Benedetti a former City employee published a biography titled The Hundred Year Road Trip. In the biography, Benedetti tells the story about of his mother, Solange D’Hooghe, who was a gold and silver miner, a Women Airforce Service Pilot during World War II and was involved for 50 years in the startup and evolution of the commercial airline industry in Las Vegas, Nevada.

“I recently began volunteering at the VA facility in Columbus and found out about the Veteran History Project. I had just completed Mom’s biography and was looking for another similar project. Finding veterans to tell their stories, I found out, starts at home. For me, that’s the City of Gahanna,” said Benedetti.

Gahanna Mayor Tom Kneeland, an Army veteran, is in support of the idea of highlighting City employees’ military service.

“I am proud to say that the City has a number of employees that are veterans and equally proud of everyone that has served in our armed forces,” said Gahanna Mayor Tom Kneeland. “When Jef introduced this project concept to us, we were very excited to partner with him on this initiative and look forward to seeing the end result.”

Participation in the Veterans History Project is voluntary for City staff. Eventually, stories will be collected from Gahanna veteran-residents.

The interviews and information Benedetti collects will be transmitted, unedited and sent to the Library of Congress, which then edits the videos and adds the information to its website: www.loc.gov/vets.
A small amount of paperwork is required before each interview, which lasts around 30 minutes. Benedetti said he hopes to start the interviews in the next 30 to 60 days. The location will be determined by the number of responses received.
To participate in this project or for more information contact Jef Benedetti at jefbenedetti@hotmail.com or 614.855.5678. To learn more about the Veteran History Project visit www.loc.gov/vets.

Gahanna Spotlight: Actions of City, residents can help pollinators

Original article featured in ThisWeek Community News

By Mayor Tom Kneeland

On April 7, 2017, I proclaimed Gahanna a Pollinator Community.

Since then, the efforts put forth by our Department of Parks & Recreation have allowed the city to achieve the status of Bee City USA — the first central Ohio city to receive this recognition. In the last three months, the city has also joined the National Wildlife Federation-Mayor’s Monarch Pledge and the Ohio Pollinator Habitat Initiative, as well as celebrated our 28th year as a Tree City USA community.

Our parks division has made tremendous progress with several initiatives around the city, starting with removing invasive species such as honeysuckle, grapevine and privet that suppress the native species.

You may have seen the new planting bed behind Creekside Cafe which is now thriving with new native plants that provide crucial habitat for pollinators while controlling erosion. The wildflower prairies at Gahanna Woods are an all-year food source for a variety of pollinators including moths, birds, native bumblebees, butterflies and hummingbirds.

New micro-climate designs at the Geroux Herb Garden considered the soil, light and watering needs of the land and were paired with native plants and lesser-known herbs to reduce watering, provide for year-round food sources and color and, ultimately, require less maintenance.

Another initiative is the use of “low-mow zones” in Hannah, Friendship, Lower McCorkle, Gahanna Woods and Woodside Green Parks. Once established, the long-term benefits of these areas include stabilizing the soil to reduce erosion, slowing stormwater runoff and filtering pollutants such as fertilizers and pesticides that would have otherwise entered the groundwater or streams.

Fiscal savings to our taxpayers include lower maintenance costs of our green space with fewer hours of labor, less fuel and equipment wear and tear and a decrease of herbicides and fertilizers to maintain those areas.

As a Gahanna resident, I am looking forward to putting pollinator-friendly practices to work in my own yard.

Here are a few tips for attracting pollinators to your garden and flower beds this fall and protecting pollinators during the coldest months of the year.

* Keep tall, ornamental grasses free-standing. Native bees and butterflies will shelter here.

* If you must cut tall grasses, consider “chop and drop.” This creates a natural mulch that will protect perennials and give shelter to pollinators.

* Rake leaves into your flower beds to add good nutrients to your soil as a natural fertilizer and to provide shelter for native pollinators.

* Create natural bird feeders by keeping the seed heads on flowers.

* Plant bulbs for springtime flowers before the first frost.

* Research what pollinators you want to attract in the spring and summer then plan changes to your garden or landscape accordingly.

* Consider native species of plants and avoid many popular invasive species such as purple loosestrife. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources provides alternative to Ohio’s top invasive plant species at ohiodnr.gov/ invasiveplants.

* Take advantage of upcoming programs such as the Earthy Herbal Garden Series or the Beekeeper’s Year at the Ohio Herb Education Center (ohioherbcenter.org) to learn more.

These initiatives are fun, productive and environmentally friendly and I encourage residents and businesses to look for similar ways to be eco-friendly and help our natural pollinators. Their world is shrinking as ours is growing.

To learn more about our pollinator-friendly initiatives contact the  Ohio Herb Education Center at 614.342.4380.