Public Notice for 12/17 – Hearing on 2019 Proposed Budget and Paulina Place Zoning & Variance to Take Place at 7pm

City Council will hold its final hearing to allow for public comments on the 2019 Proposed Budget on Monday, December 17, 2018.  Additionally, there will be a public hearing held for the Paulina Place Zoning and Variance.

The meeting will take place at 7 pm at City Hall, 200 S. Hamilton Road.

For more information about these meetings, contact the Council Clerk’s Office at 614.342.4090.  To connect with your Council Member, click here.

Daytime Restrictions on I-670 East to Begin Wednesday, October 3

Beginning Wednesday, October 3, the left lane of I-670 E between I-71 and I-270 will remain closed until 1 pm each day. Extending this lane closure will expedite payment repairs that must be completed before the temperatures drop.  Along with the left lane, the entrance ramps from E. 5th Ave. and Leonard Ave. to I-670 E will also remain closed until 1 pm.

Drivers should plan for extra travel time, especially during the morning commute.

INTERSTATE 670 EAST

  • I-670 E will be reduced to two lanes from 7 pm until 1 pm the next day
  • Ramps from E. 5th Ave. and Leonard Ave. to I-670 E will also be closed from 7 pm to 1 pm
  • 5th Ave. WB Detour: Nelson Rd. to Airport Dr. to I-670EB
  • 5th Ave. EB Detour: Cassady to I-670 EB
  • Leonard Ave Detour: 5th Ave to Cassady to I-670 EB

The extended lane closure will occur Monday through Friday and all lanes of I-670 EB will be open from 1 pm – 7 pm daily.

Pavement repairs on I-670E are expected to be completed by the end of October, weather permitting.

For more detailed traffic information, and to get personalized traffic alerts for your community, download the OHGO app or visit OHGO.com.

 

 

Plan to Make Olde Gahanna Bell Tower Glow Takes Off

Original Story by Marla K. Kuhlman, ThisWeek Community News

A historic bell tower in Olde Gahanna might be a beacon for various celebrations in the future.

The Gahanna Foundation is in the process of being formed as a 501c(3) organization, with the lighting of the bell tower of the Olde Gahanna Sanctuary, 82 N. High St., as its first community project.

John Michael Spinelli, treasurer-secretary of the Olde Gahanna Sanctuary Board, is leading the campaign to raise $7,700 for the project. Any funds raised in excess of that amount will go toward other Olde Gahanna Sanctuary or community projects, he said.

Spinelli and his wife, Kathy, hosted a pledge party June 19 with friends and city leaders at their residence to start the initiative.

“We’re going to light up the bell tower on the historic sanctuary with some really unique lighting,” he said. “It will be exterior and circular. We think it will be a new landmark for Gahanna.”

Chris Apfelstadt, who is with Light Up Columbus, is expected to handle the project.

“It’s something we have experience doing around Columbus and in the Chillicothe area,” he said. “I showed (John) a couple projects we’ve done in the past, including the Ross County Courthouse.”

Light Up Columbus also has worked with the city of Dublin to light its city hall for the holidays.

“We’re super excited to light up the architectural features of the Old Gahanna Sanctuary,” Apfelstadt said. “We will use LED fixtures that are controllable. We can make it green for St. Patrick’s Day; red, white and blue for the Fourth of July; orange for Halloween; and everything in between.”

He said the plan is to put 12 fixtures on the tower, with one on each lower-level window, pointing up to highlight the architecture on and above the window.

Four more fixtures are planned on the second level.

“It’s fully programmable, not only for holidays but weddings,” Apfelstadt said. “If a bride chooses lavender, we can make the tower lavender. We’re taking one of the most beautiful architectural features and highlighting it.”

The Olde Gahanna Sanctuary has rented its space for decades, becoming a sought-after venue thanks to its location, affordability and flexible food-service rules.

The structure was built in 1895 as Peace Lutheran Church, although its congregation later moved to Clark State Road.

Spinelli said a single light on a telephone pole was erected last year and that illuminates half the tower.

“Now we’re really going to light this thing up — the arches and the crown,” he said. “It will help business at the Sanctuary. It will be a destination point for Gahanna.

 “We think it will be really, really popular,” he said.

Apfelstadt said he’s looking forward to turning an enthusiastic vision into a reality.

“We want to make it a focal point for the Gahanna, downtown area,” he said.

Tim and Vickie Kapp have pledged $100 for the project.

Vickie Kapp’s mother lives in Gahanna.

“I grew up in Columbus and moved to Hawaii in 1981,” she said. “This is so American and shows pride. As Tim heard the story, he pledged $100 before the story ended. It’s a win-win. It’s tax deductible. Tim is very patriotic. He was in the Marine Corps.”

Gahanna Mayor Tom Kneeland said it’s a neat project.

“The Sanctuary has been a landmark that has been very unique,” he said. “I applaud John and his wife for getting this going. With a lot of new development in Creekside, this will help with the ambiance of the area.

“I can’t wait to see it finished. It’s a huge icon for Olde Gahanna. It will be awesome,” Kneeland said.

Pledge forms are available at in the lobby area of Gahanna City Hall, 200 S. Hamilton Road or you may click here to download a copy.  For more information about this initiative or about the Olde Gahanna Sanctuary contact 614.475.9265.

Online Utility Bill Pay Option Now Available

Beginning with the next bill, Gahanna customers will now have the option to pay their utility bill’s online.
The new online portal is user-friendly and will feature paperless billing and payment history. The e-Check option offers customers a way to pay their bill online without a processing fee. For customers who prefer pay online using a credit or debit card or by telephone a fee will be applied by the payment processor to offset credit card company fees. Telephone payments using a credit or debit card can be made by calling 1.888.272.9829, option 3, jurisdiction code 8459.
Customers will also notice a new, easier-to-read bill format when they get their next statements. The new format features a graph to show customer usage and history. Additionally, payments and other adjustments will also be listed on the bill, making it easier to understand changes as they occur.
To access the Customer Portal:
  1. Click here or go to https://gahanna.authoritypay.com to access the myGahanna Account page.
  2. Click on “Set up online access.” 
  3. Enter the Account Number and CID that are printed on the upper left side of the bill.
  4. Enter your email address and a password of your choice
  5. Click ” Create Account.”

For more information, click here. 

Let the Adventure Begin with Gahanna Parks & Recreation

The 2018 Spring/Summer Gateway is now available! Learn about events, rental opportunities and more in this issue. Let the Adventure Begin by purchasing your pool and golf memberships, paddling the Big Walnut Creek, running a race, and so much more. The Department of Parks & Recreation wishes to recognize the Gahanna Parks & Recreation Foundation […]

Gahanna offers city employees health care at nearby clinic

Original story by Alissa Widmann Neese
The Columbus Dispatch

Any other winter, Jill Webb might have ignored the sniffles, coughing and congestion settling in her chest.

Waiting for an illness to run its course sometimes seems simpler than scheduling an appointment, taking a day off work and spending time in a crowded waiting room to see a doctor, she said.

But this year, the Gahanna city employee just walked across the street on her lunch break for a free appointment that took less than 30 minutes, including filling a prescription.

“It was totally hassle-free,” said Webb, an engineering program technician.

Gahanna is one of a growing number of Ohio municipalities that have established a near-site health clinic for its employees and their dependents. The arrangements not only make accessing health care more convenient and affordable for employees, but also help self-insured employers cut costs by reducing their number of claims.

Self-insured employers operate an insurance plan themselves instead of purchasing a fully insured plan from a carrier, which typically tacks on additional costs. But if a self-insured employer processes more claims than expected, the arrangement can sometimes be more costly.

Gahanna is a member of the Central Ohio Health Care Consortium with nine other self-insured local governments.

Its near-site health clinic opened Jan. 2 and Webb was one of the first in line.

ExpressMed Urgent Care, in partnership with Mount Carmel Health, has a contract with Gahanna to provide the services in its existing facility at Rocky Fork Boulevard and South Hamilton Road, adjacent to Gahanna City Hall. Gahanna employees can schedule primary care appointments in advance or visit during normal business hours for urgent care. There is no co-pay charged.

A pharmacy is on-site, though some medicines might not be stocked, requiring a visit to another pharmacy. The clinic also doesn’t employ specialists.

Mount Carmel Health will coordinate follow-up care after appointments and general wellness programming for employees.

Gahanna expects to pay $140,000 for the arrangement in its first year.

In that time frame, it’s expected to save $109,000 by reducing the number of visits employees make to urgent care and emergency rooms for services that could be handled at the clinic, Gahanna Mayor Tom Kneeland said.

That figure doesn’t include savings associated with primary-care services, prescriptions and on-the-job injuries, which haven’t been estimated but will be calculated at the end of the year.

The arrangement has proven successful in other area communities.

Whitehall opened a near-site health clinic in 2014 in partnership with KeyPoint Medical and has saved about $958,000 during that time, city development director Zach Woodruff said.

The clinic has since expanded to serve Whitehall school district employees.

Kneeland, who once worked as Whitehall’s technology director, said he enjoyed the clinic’s benefits so much that he made establishing one in Gahanna a priority after he took office in 2016.

“The ability to call and get an almost immediate appointment was amazing and the personalized service the clinic provided was extraordinary,” he said.

Near-site and on-site health clinics have been a popular arrangement for years for private businesses, but have just recently gained popularity among governmental entities nationwide, said Larry Borres, executive director of the National Association of Worksite Health Clinics.

It can sometimes take time for employees to buy into the new concept, meaning maximum savings might not be realized for a few years, Borres said. But he believes that in time it will become a more-common practice.

By 2020, it’s estimated 65 percent or so of large employers will have one, an increase from 50 percent today, according to the association’s projections. About one-third of employers of all sizes currently have one.

For many employees, the clinic becomes their primary source of medical care, Borres said.

Though cutting costs is important, officials and employees agreed that perhaps the greatest benefits of near-site health clinics are those that aren’t measured by price: employee health, happiness, retention and productivity.

“Getting treatment easier is a huge benefit, regardless of the cost,” said Robert Alexander, an equipment operator for Gahanna’s water department and an employee union president.

“We’ll be taking less time off work, taking care of illnesses and spreading less germs,” he said. “That alone makes it worth it in my mind.”

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.

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.