Discover What’s New in the 2017-18 Winter Gateway

Discover what’s new in the Winter 2017-18 Gateway program guide for all your recreation programs this season! New program headers, including Arts & Education and Recreation & Sports make finding a program easy and will allow the Department of Parks & Recreation to highlight the diversity of programs available. Click here to view.

Gahanna inks deal with ExpressMed, Mount Carmel to run employee wellness clinic

Original story by Carrie Ghose, Columbus Business First

Gahanna is opening a primary care and wellness clinic for city employees inside a local urgent care center.

ExpressMed Urgent Care will provide scheduled primary care office visits starting in January its center at 445 Rocky Fork Blvd.

Under the agreement approved this week by City Council, Mount Carmel Health System will provide wellness education for city employees, operate a 24/7 nurse call center and collect and analyze the data to determine whether the program saves the health plan money.

The city will pay a fixed monthly cost for its insured members – $30 in 2018 and rising to $40 in year three. In return, it expects to pay fewer medical claims.

Gahanna is one of 10 Central Ohio municipalities that pool resources into a single self-funded health plan.

Employees get free preventative care visits and gain access to more health screenings and an on-site pharmacy. They can visit ExpressMed’s Hilliard and New Albany urgent cares, but can’t use those sites for scheduled appointments or health screenings.

ExpressMed was created in 2009 by Columbus parent HealthServe LLC, but has not expanded beyond its initial three locations. The Gahanna urgent care opened in 2014.

Whitehall opened a city employee wellness center in 2013 and has increased its budget every year. City school employees also can use it.

Thank you Byers Imports Team!

Earlier today, GRIN needed some assistance with moving some items from their current location to their new headquarters after the company they were initially working with were unable to fulfill their commitment.  Kevin King, general manager of Byers Imports and his team heard about the need and pitched in to help facilitate the move.  Please join us in thanking the Byers Imports team for coming in to help save the day for GRIN and for going the extra mile to help a neighbor in need!

New medical office development coming to Gahanna

Original story by Tristan Navera, Columbus Business First

Developers are planning an $8.1 million medical office building in Gahanna, and it’s already almost leased up.

The two-story, 32,700-square-foot medical professional building is envisioned for a four-acre plot at the intersection of Tech Center Drive and Buckles Court.

Termed the Walnut Creek Medical Office Building, it already has three commitments that will fill up 90 percent of its space, said Denny Freudeman, president of developer Hplex Solutions of Lewis Center.

“That location is really convenient for the Gahanna market,” Freudeman said. “There does appear to be a lot of demand, a lot of independent physician groups looking for expansion opportunities.”

Hplex worked with two major prospective tenants looking for new space — Dr. Stephen Smith, owner Smith Facial Plastics, a plastic surgery practice, and Dr. Steven Balaloski of WomanKind Health, an OB/GYN. Both will move into the new building.

Smith Facial Plastics is based at 5175 Morse Road in Gahanna, while WomanKind currently has its offices at 4030 Easton Station with satellite offices in Canal Winchester and Pickerington.

Another 25 percent of the space will be leased to Central Ohio Primary Care for a family practice. The Westerville-based group has two pediatric practices in the Gahanna area now.

With these main leases secured, the facility is 90 percent pre-leased, and the developers think it will be fully leased by the time the building opens in late October or early November 2018.

“Demand seems pretty solid right now. We try to size our buildings, we don’t like to build a lot of spec space,” Freudeman said. “These projects are very expensive, they are designed with HVAC and plumbing demands.”

Hplex develops medical office properties, and it’s behind the $12 million, 50,000-square-foot independent medical office next to the new Mount Carmel Grove City hospital, which landed its own anchor tenant in Orthopedic One. Overall, it has about four other medical offices under development around Ohio.

The land is owned by Andre Buckles of Columbus. Worthington-based Civil & Environmental Consultants Inc. is the project’s engineer.

Companies Consider New Office Development in Gahanna

Original story by Tristan Navera, Columbus Business First

Three companies want to consolidate and put up an office building in Gahanna.

Gahanna City Council will vote Monday night on whether to sell the 4.4-acre, city-owned property at 785 Science Blvd. to the Gahanna Community Improvement Corp. for $300,000.

If the sale is approved, the improvement corporation would then sell it to the businesses for the same price and those companies would put up a 50,000-square-foot office building on the site.

The city also could offer a 15-year, 100 percent property tax abatement on the project, city documents show, as well as reimbursing $10,000 for site preparation costs and providing fiber-optic cables from the site to a nearby data center to help bring “better and cheaper technology services.”

A memo from the city notes that the companies are in engineering and software development. They would invest $6 million to buy the land and build and outfit the building, city documents show.

The developer is listed as Franklin Peak LLC, which state filings show was incorporated by Wil Schulze, founder and president of two companies: IJUS LLC, which now is based at 690 Taylor Road and works in engineering design, project management and other things; and Spida Software, which now is located at 560 Officenter Place and works in software, data management and consulting mainly for electronic and telecommunications providers.

A message was left with Schulze.

The project will retain 131 jobs in the city and allow the companies to continue to grow by 27 jobs over five years, with the average job bringing $66,207 in payroll, for a combined $10.5 million in annual payroll if completed.

The city says the three companies would vacate a combined 26,000 square feet of office space, which will mean “indirect” benefit once they are backfilled.

In return, the city will get $1.5 million in income tax and property sale revenue for the first 15 years, and then $3.4 million in income tax and Tax Increment Financing revenue for the next 15 years, it said.

City of Gahanna Among Top 10 Micro American Cities of the Future

The City of Gahanna has earned a spot among the Top 10 Micro American Cities of the Future by FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) in its latest report, American Cities of the Future. The report contains a list of cities within North America that rank in the top 10 in various economic indicators including Overall, Economic Potential, Human Capital and Lifestyle, Cost Effectiveness, Connectivity and Business Friendliness.

In addition to being awarded in the Overall category, the city was ranked 6th in Human Capital and Lifestyle categories and is among the Top 10 Micro American Cities for Connectivity.

Click here to read the full report.

City of Gahanna Launches New Dynamic Website

Redesign offers mobile responsiveness, personalization, and real-time data visualization

The City of Gahanna has launched a newly redesigned website to enhance the online experience for Gahanna’s residents, businesses, and visitors.  The new site is a trendsetter in using web personalization, shifting away from a static department-based layout. The site has improved functionality for a powerful and visually-enhanced layout design while providing real-time visual data about the city tailored to each visitors’ needs.  The current focus is responsive to users’ specific requests with fewer web clicks for easier access to Gahanna’s vast services.

Users can personalize their Gahanna experience by planning upcoming events, receiving individualized notifications on their street paving and trash pickup schedule, real-time traffic and construction alerts, and trip planning for transit usage around central Ohio. Other key features include real-time map & directions for places to go and things to do around Gahanna, as well as social media feeds to provide an interactive website that’s easier to navigate.

For over a year now, we’ve been working hard to enhance two-way communication, improve efficiency and strengthen our business attraction and retention efforts,” said Mayor Tom Kneeland, City of Gahanna. “Having a new responsive and data-driven website will not only help us in our efforts to attract visitors and prospective businesses to our city, but will allow us to provide our residents with resources, data, and information more readily about our city services.”

Redesigned by ZED Digital, a Gahanna-based business, the software, and digital marketing enterprise that specializes in responsive data-driven website design providing real-time data, search engine optimization, online lead generation and web personalization.  ZED Digital has created personalized data-driven website for such agencies like The Cuyahoga County Board of Health, Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District, COTA, the Ohio Department of Transportation among other private and public sector entities.

“As a local business as well as a resident of Gahanna, it has been an honor to create a data-driven and personalized website for my community that provides meaningful information in a visually-appealing platform,” said Sumithra Jagannath, president of ZED Digital. “This will be the first municipal website in Ohio to provide personalized content for each resident, rather than a one-size-fits-all style. This platform will make Gahanna’s website a trendsetter among Government websites.”

Prior to the redesign, the site had not been updated since 2012.  The new website offers a consistent look and feel that aligns with the mission, vision, and core values of the City of Gahanna. The site will continue to build greater recognition for the city, improve search results and site rankings on Google and allow several language options for users to translate pages on the site.

For additional questions, contact City of Gahanna Public Information Manager, Níel Jurist at

Residents Can Prevent Issues Related to Wildlife

Posted on 7/6/2017

Column originally featured in ThisWeek Community News on July 3, 2017

The police department and city officials often receive calls throughout the year about domestic and wild animal issues.

I am in a unique position in my day job as the chief of police and in my civilian capacity as a state licensed wild animal control operator, and therefore I would like to share some thoughts on common issues and solutions.

Your neighborhood provides the perfect environment to sustain, and in some cases, increase the population of wild animals. First, decks, sheds, overgrowth vegetation, big den trees and even storm water sewers provide shelter. Second, farmers and gardeners provide additional sustenance for animals and unsecured garbage becomes a food source. However, the number one suburban food source for wild animals is bird food.

If you have a bird feeder, you have an animal feeder. The spilled seed attracts mice, rats, squirrels, skunks, groundhogs, rabbits, raccoons, opossums and deer; these, in turn, attract foxes and coyotes. Life is a big circle and it happens around your bird feeders.

If you feed your pet outside, you are feeding wildlife. The exposure to secretions or excretions — such as saliva, urine or feces — provides the perfect way to spread a plethora of zoonotic disease organisms including fungal, bacterial, viral, parasitic, protozoal and other things such as fleas and ticks. A zoonotic disease is one that can be transmitted between humans and animals.

Dennis Murphy

I spoke with a resident who feared that children might be exposed to wild animal diseases and at the top of her list were rabies, listeriosis and leptospirosis. In Ohio, the most common animals to have rabies are bats, raccoons, skunks, foxes and coyotes. Bats have been the only animal to test positive for rabies in Franklin County over the last 30 years.

The police are often called when nocturnal animals are seen during the day acting sick. Typically, it is raccoons with distemper requiring euthanization. People cannot contract distemper, but unvaccinated pets and other animals are susceptible to this highly contagious, and often fatal, disease.

According to veterinarians I have spoken with, the biggest health risks to people, especially children, is from feral cats.

There are individuals, who may or may not own the cats, who decide to feed and/or make litter boxes or shelters available. Regardless of the motivation or intent, Gahanna City Ordinance 505.09(b) states: “Any person, who allows any animal habitually to remain, be lodged, or fed within any dwelling, building, yard or enclosure, which he occupies or owns, shall be considered as harboring such animal.”

505.01(a) “No person shall own, have under his care or be in control of any domestic animal, including cattle, horses, swine, sheep, goats, dogs, cats or poultry, which is at large in the city. If a domestic animal, as defined herein, is at large in the city, then the person who is the owner or who normally has care or control of the animal shall be deemed to have violated this section.”

As a homeowner, you should be concerned with free-ranging cats who decide to use your flower bed, garden or your children’s playground as a litter box. Exposure to contaminated sand or soil can increase the risk of contracting diseases spread by cats. These include bartonellosis (cat scratch disease), salmonellosis, cryptosporidiosis, giardiasis, toxoplasmosis, ringworm and intestinal parasites such as roundworms and hookworms.

In Gahanna, your police department is equipped to handle emergency situations where animals pose an immediate threat to people. We investigate and address violations of the law. We do not have an animal control officer and rely upon the Franklin County Dog Warden to handle all dog bites and loose dogs that we cannot catch. Franklin County does not handle cat or wild nuisance animal complaints.

We work closely with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, which has regulatory authority over all wild animals in Ohio. They do not handle nuisance animal complaints but maintain a list of licensed wild animal control operators. These are private companies and are hired by the homeowner to provide a service.

Capital Area Humane Society will accept stray cats for a surrender fee.

So what can homeowners do to assist with this problem? You have several options to eliminate the conflict in the first place.

  • Remove all food sources.
  • Prevent access beneath your deck and sheds.
  • Install a chimney cap, cut back or lift the fringe of vegetation and trees.
  • Coordinate efforts with neighbors or homeowners associations.

Despite your best efforts, you may still experience problems. You can trap the problem critters, but Ohio law states that it shall be unlawful to fail to euthanize, or release on site, any nuisance raccoon, skunk, beaver, coyote, fox, or opossum that is captured, trapped or taken. By law, you can only release limited animals on the property of another with their permission. There are also laws on trap sizes, trap criteria, required tagging, species requirements and monitoring.

During my careers, I have witnessed far too many grievous wounds inflicted upon innocents by what many would describe as “harmless” animals. Similarly, I have seen an equal number of individuals who have contracted serious, and at times, life-threatening diseases from domestic and wild animals. We need to work together to prevent these senseless tragedies.

Volunteers have Big Roles in Strong Communities

Posted on 7/13/2017

Column originally featured in ThisWeek Community News on June 13, 2017


Gahanna Spotlight: Volunteers Have Big Roles in Strong Communities

By Tom Kneeland

Mayor of City of Gahanna

Gahanna is home to many wonderful service organizations that have been instrumental in upholding our most valued community traditions.

As I reflect on their many contributions, I am grateful for their time and commitment to making our community better. As someone who is actively involved in service organizations, I understand firsthand the challenges many of them face when it comes to attracting and retaining volunteers.

Growing up, I was influenced to serve by various people and groups to give back, in some fashion, to my community. I can vividly remember the Gahanna Lions Club selling barbecue chicken dinners at different events, raising money to pay for our fireworks. I also remember its members volunteering to mentor youth in our community.

Influenced by the Gahanna Lions Club and other community organizations, I was initially inspired to join the Mifflin Township Volunteer Fire Department under the leadership of Chief Jack Slevey. This experience greatly shaped my passion and purpose to serve my community and now, 40 years later, as I look back at the volunteer opportunities afforded to me, I feel a real sense of accomplishment.

In the last 20 years, many of our service organizations have witnessed a significant drop in their membership.

Tom Kneeland Since taking office in 2016, one of my commitments has been to re-engage and re-energize our service organizations.

Each month, I meet with leaders from these organizations to find out how we, as a city can help them continue to grow and thrive.

One of the challenges I constantly hear about is the lack of new members for these organizations.

Perhaps this decline can be attributed to the emergence of new online communities, possibly a different view and philosophy among the younger generations regarding civic groups, and their view of these organizations that were structured many years ago.

Whatever the case may be, I want to encourage Gahanna residents to get engaged and re-invest in our community.

There are many benefits to volunteering, including the ability to solve problems, improve the lives of others and the chance to strengthen our community.

Boxing great Muhammad Ali once said, “Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.”

I would like to encourage you to get involved in our community. Whether it’s one or two hours a month, your community needs you!

There are many opportunities for parents and our youth to volunteer or participate in projects and activities like helping the Gahanna Lions Club build a float for our annual Independence Day parade, volunteering in the food pantry for Gahanna Residents in Need or participating in a community cleanup through Make Gahanna Yours to preserve the beauty of our city.

To discover your passion or to get involved in your community, I encourage you to visit — a new website created to provide an easy to access directory of civic and service organizations. The site features volunteer opportunities available throughout our community.

Together, we can preserve the legacy of our service organizations and inspire our youth to give their time for generations to come.

Social Media Guide

Whether you are on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or YouTube, you can join the conversation about the City of Gahanna and our community. Below are a few guidelines to be mindful of when posting on the City’s social media platforms:

In order to maintain a respectful interaction on the City’s social media platforms, we encourage all content to:

  • Stay Focused.  All viewpoints are welcome, but comments should remain relevant to the social media platforms maintained by the City of Gahanna.
  • Be Respectful.​  Personal attacks, profanity, and aggressive language is prohibited.  Instigating arguments in a disrespectful manner is also prohibited on the City’s social media platforms.
  • Tell the truth.​  Purposefully providing false information, or the intent to mislead fans/followers is prohibited. If you have questions about information, please contact the appropriate City department or the Mayor’s office directly to get the facts before posting incorrect or misleading information on the City’s social media platforms.
  • No spam.​  Repeated posting of identical or very similar content advertising or promoting services or products on the City’s social media platforms is prohibited and is subject to removal.

Content posted may be subject to deletion if it contains:

  • Partisan political views or views of a political organization.
  • Commercial endorsements.
  • Discriminatory, racist, offensive, obscene, threatening, inflammatory, unlawful, or otherwise objectionable statements, language or content.
  • Content that advocates illegal activity.
  • Content that infringes on copyright or trademarks.
  • Personally identifiable medical information.

Explanation of deletion may be provided.

We reserve the right to block or delete offenders of this policy.

Please note that the content posted by fans/followers on our social media platforms does not reflect the opinions or position of the City of Gahanna or its employees.  If you have any questions concerning the operation of any of our moderated social media platforms, please contact the Public Information Manager at