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.

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.

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.

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.
Pizzurro Park Drive Bridge Replacement, ST-1042

Bid Opening Date: June 2, 2017
Bid Opening Results: non-applicable – project will be rebid at a later date TBD
Downloadable Documents:
Notice to Bidders (posted 05/18/2017)
Plan Holder List (posted 05/30/2017)
Addendum #1 (posted 05/30/2017)

Request for Statement of Qualifications

Downloadable Documents:
Public Notice (posted 03/02/2017)
Gahanna QBS Procedure (posted 03/02/2017)

2017 Street Program, ST-1044

Bid Opening Date: March 3, 2017
Bid Opening Results: Awarded to Strawser Paving Company, Inc. 04/03/2017
Downloadable Documents:
Notice to Bidders (posted 02/16/2017)
Plan Holder List (posted 03/06/2017)
Addendum #1(posted 02/28/2017)
Bid Summary (posted 03/06/2017)