Office of the Mayor
Ben Kessler, Mayor of the City of Bexley
The Mayor serves as the chief executive officer, safety director, and director of development for the City of Bexley. As well as overseeing day-to-day operations at the city and supervising city personnel, the Mayor is also tasked by the City's charter with creating and implementing the City's strategic plan.
Last Updated: March 7, 2016
One of the most frequent questions I get is "what is happening with the Sunoco on N Cassady?" This is a complicated issue, given the multiple owners of the property over the past decade, as well as the lack of a viable responsible party for the contamination that is on the site. The City is committed to helping to facilitate the cleanup of this site so that it is a viable property that is able to be developed.
In 1993 and 1998 there were document fuel leaks from the underground storage tanks at the former Sunoco station at Cassady and Ruhl. The Sunoco closed in 2006, but the contamination that had occured prior to that date had not been cleaned up. In 2009, the underground storage tanks were removed, but the site was still not cleaned. During this time the State of Ohio was pursuing the property owner at the time of the contamination in order to force cleanup of the site. The State's actions were unsuccessful, and the party responsible for the contamination was found to be incapable of paying for cleanup.
The City applied for funding in 2009 from the Governor's Stimulus Fund to facilitate cleanup, but was unsuccessful.
In 2012, the City began looking for options to assist the property owner with cleaning the site. The City applied for an assessment grant from the Ohio EPA, which it received in 2013. Assesment began in 2013 and continued in 2014 through multiple tiers of assesment with the EPA. The assesment confirmed widespread contamination of the site, including contamination that continued to the south of the site under Ruhl and impacted a residential property to the south. The property owner at the time was unable to afford any cleanup of the site, and the site sold to a new owner in 2015. The new owner has experience with impacted properties and is working closely with the City to complete the processes necessary to be able to develop the site with a new use.
In 2015, the City began talking to the State of Ohio, which had announced a new Abandoned Gas Station Cleanup Grant. The new grant was intended for properties just like the one at Ruhl and Cassady. This grant program is vastly superior to earlier programs, in that it provides full funding for cleanup. The application for this grant became available in early 2016, and the City is due to apply for the grant by the Spring, 2016 deadline. The recent assesment work with the Ohio EPA is making the process of application relatively simple, given the volumes of data recently collected regarding the site. If successful, the grant should allow for the full cleanup of the site and surrounding impacted areas.
Future of the Property:
If successful in obtaining the cleanup grant, the property should be cleaned in 2016. The site is no longer zoned for a fuel station or convenience store. This property is zoned Mixed Use Commercial, and the current owner is examining a variety of business concepts that have been proposed for the site.
In "Ask The Mayor" posts, I'll be posting redacted questions or comments from residents and my answers to them, in case the information is helpful to other residents wondering the same thing!
I am a resident of Bexley and I have been living in Bexley on Bellwood Avenue for 28 years. It has been at least 10 years since the City has redone the asphalt on Bellwood Avenue. When I called the City they told me that Bellwood Avenue is not a busy street and that is the reason they have not done it. I would disagree with this statement because Bellwood is off of a primary street, Cassady Avenue, and there are apartments to the east of Bellwood and Standwood Ave that attract a large amount of traffic. It is disappointing to see that the "richer" parts of Bexley tend to get more attention when it comes to the quality of the streets, but not on our side of Bexley. I do not know if the condition of the streets in areas such as Parkview Avenue are in better condition because the city spends more money there or maybe because those streets truly do not get as much traffic as Bellwood Ave.
I'm happy to announce the completion of the 2012 annual report and 2013 budget book. This year we've decided to add more information to our annual budget report, and we've included a synopsis, by department, of the various initiatives we are working on here at the City. Hopefully this information helps to contextualize the City budget and provide more helpful information. To download the 2012 annual report and 2013 budget, click here.
As we prepare for a busy and exhilarating year ahead, here are some highlights:
Main Street in Focus
Plans for this year’s Main Street streetscape project and traffic signal upgrades have gone to bid. A combination of TIF funds and OPWC grants will be funding enhanced brick crossings, a streamlining of signage, and medians installed in select unused center turn lanes along Main Street. To see plan details, visit www.bexley.org/main.
City Hall Redevelopment
Redevelopment of the 1.6 acre City Hall site has long been a goal of the City’s, and after several attempts over the years, we’ve been working hard to make this the year that it all comes together. Who knows? 2013 might just be the year it does...
A vacant and environmentally impacted gas station on North Cassady and troubled properties along Livingston Avenue are among the redevelopment challenges that the City continues to confront. We’d like 2013 to be a year of solid progress, and will continue to work towards solutions for these difficult challenges. To view a roadmap of the City's redevelopment priorities, you can download the Bexley Land Use Strategy by clicking here.
Online Payment Options for Water Bill & More
We’ve prioritized this project and will be working on bringing online payment options to the City’s billing.
The Bexley City Arboretum
In March of 2013, the City of Bexley was accredited as an arboretum by the Morton Register of Arboreta, making it the first City in the United States to successfully obtain arboretum accreditation. For nearly 25 years the City of Bexley has been a participant in the Tree City USA program, carefully compiling a catalogue of the over 14,000 trees that are managed by the Bexley City forester within the City's right-of-ways.
Next steps for the City will include developing a more formalized educational component to the Bexley Arboretum and continuing to curate the City's extensive collection of over 100 unique tree species. For more information, visit the City's Arboretum page.
The Main Event
"The Main Event" will be a monthly mingle on Main Street from May through September this summer. This event will bring together Movies on Main (a free, outdoor movie series on Capital's main lawn), along with a revamped Music on Main, and based on strong interest from restaurants and merchants we are also working on adding restaurant specials and merchant open houses into the mix. Each month will feature a theme based upon the movie being shown, with activities for kids and families centered on that month's theme. To keep up with the main event, visit www.gobexley.com/mainevent.
In March, community leaders from Bexley’s major institutions provided a preview of 2013 at the first annual Bexley State of the Community Address. To view video of the address, see the embedded video below (the City's portion of the address is at about the 35:50 mark):