News From Around Delaware County

February 26, 2014


Seven non-profit organizations on Monday made their case to the Delaware County commissioners for a share of the county’s Community Enhancement Program.

The organizations are asking for nearly $170,000. The county’s Community Enhancement Program has just $92,500 remaining of the $650,000 originally budgeted for 2014.

The commissioners approved no requests Monday. Instead they will vote on each request at a later date.

“We do have limited dollars to work with,” Delaware County Commissioner Gary Merrell said. “So we’ll have to take that into consideration.”

The bulk of the money — $500,000 – is earmarked for the OSU Extension Office and the Delaware Soil and Water Conservation District.

Delaware County Fair — The largest request comes from the Delaware County Agricultural Society, which is hoping to use $75,000 to complete a renovation of its Junior Fair Building, with an eye towards using the facility to generate revenue year-round.

Hartford Fair — Officials with the Hartford Fair are also seeking to tap into the Community Enhancement Program, asking the county for a commitment of $5,000 annually for the next four years.

Delaware County Historical Society — The Delaware County Historical Society hopes to expand its outreach program to students around the county, and is asking the commissioners for $20,000 to help with that effort.

The Arts Castle — The Arts Castle is set to celebrate its 25th year of offering classes, workshops and special events, and it is seeking $15,000 to help cover the expenses associated with its historic building.

Central Ohio Symphony — The Central Ohio Symphony hopes to expand its educational programming into the Buckeye Valley Local School District and the Big Walnut Local School District.

Delaware Speech and Hearing Center — The Delaware Speech and Hearing Center’s building and equipment fund has been depleted due to a leaking roof at its West Central Avenue location. The leaking began during a major renovation project, which has been put on hold due to a lack of funding.

Main Street Delaware — Main Street Delaware is asking for $15,000 from the county’s Community Enhancement Program.


A Delaware woman says her cat was attacked and killed by a coyote over the weekend.

Connie Lukas, a resident of West Central Avenue, says the large canines have been spotted in her neighborhood more frequently in recent months.

“We had a lot of people in our neighborhood see the coyotes,” she said. “There isn’t thing else that it could have been.”

Karen Norris, a wildlife communications specialist with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, said coyotes in urban areas are more common than most people think.

“Coyotes are always in urban areas,” she said. “They are common in all 88 counties.”

Given that their mating season runs from January through March, it is all the more common to see coyotes this time of year, Norris said.

Heavy snowfalls have made it even easier to spot the coyotes in the whitened landscape, but it has also sent the animals out in search of food sources.

“With extreme snow cover, food sources are limited and they are more apt to take pets,” Norris said.

Norris advises to accompany small pets outdoors at all times.

“When you do let them out, stay with them and be very cautious of letting them out,” she said.

She also said removing all “attractants” from a property can help to keep coyotes at bay. Attractants include food, garbage and even grill drippings.

Coyotes pose little risk to humans, she said. The animals can typically be scared off by making loud noises or throwing things at them.


Delaware County last week formally appealed a decision by the City of Delaware’s Historic Preservation Commission to reject an application to allow the demolition of a historic downtown building.

The county will ask Delaware City Council to reverse the Historic Preservation Commission’s January decision to prevent the demolition of the old Elks Lodge, at 110 North Sandusky Street.

City Council would typically have 30 days to make a decision on the appeal. However, the county has extended the deadline to June 1 to allow both sides to further discuss the matter.

While Delaware County Commissioner Ken O’Brien voted in favor of the appeal, he said he believes extending the deadline until June is a bad move.

“With the facilities meeting coming up, I don’t want the county to spend a great deal of money to come up with solutions we are not going to follow,” he said.

The county is in the process of developing a comprehensive plan for facilities, and some options include the possibility of building a new judicial center on the Elks property.

County officials have threatened to build the judicial center outside the city if the county does not ultimately receive a green light to tear the building down.

The building was constructed in 1877. It would cost the county at least $2 million to preserve the building in its current state, according to Delaware County Administrator Tim Hansley.


Two athletic events will make their debuts on the streets of Delaware this year – a half-marathon and a triathlon.

Both events are being organized by Delaware County resident Craig Thompson, who happens to be a runner and triathlete.

“I’ve always felt that the city of Delaware would be a great place to have an event, with its downtown activity, its schools, the great park trail system,” Thompson said. “Just knowing the health-minded folks there, I thought it was time to have an event like this in the city.”

First up is the New Half-Moon and Quarter-Marathon, to be held at 6 p.m. May 31. A half-marathon is 13.1 miles in length; a quarter-marathon is 6.55 miles.

Thompson explained the New Moon’s distances.

“The half-marathon distance is very popular, but not everyone can do a half, so adding a quarter marathon for those who may be new to running can get a longer-distance run experience.”

The New Moon course starts and ends on Sandusky Street between William and Winter streets. It winds its way around the heart of the city, including the fairgrounds and campus area. One lap around the course is a quarter-marathon, a second lap equals a half-marathon. Seven aid stations will be set up along the course.

The event is open to runners and walkers and benefits the American Lung Association of Central Ohio. Participants will receive a shirt, refreshments, and a medal if they finish. A post-race party is slated for 7:30 p.m.

Thompson said he spent several months planning the New Moon race with city officials, police and Main Street Delaware.

“We had several considerations as we were developing the course,” he said. “We wanted to showcase the city and all the amenities that make Delaware a health hub and attractive for people to visit and live. I think we have a wonderful course that people will enjoy. It’s the kind of course I would want to run on.”

City Manager Tom Homan said New Moon will conclude a busy month of activities for Delaware, adding that the race is “another way to celebrate the city.”

The second athletic event is the Mingoman Triathlon/Duathlon, which will be held on Sunday, August 17. Thompson said the swimming portion will begin in Delaware State Park, bicycling will take place on US 23, Ohio 229 and US 42, down to Mingo Park and then running through the streets of Delaware.

“It’s another great course, somewhat different than the other,” Thompson said. “For triathletes and runners, it’s another opportunity to experience more of Delaware.”

To register or for more information, visit < >.


The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium now has a 1956 Beech Model 18 aircraft installed at its newest region, Heart of Africa.

“It creates a better storyline for the guest experience and it gets you closer to the animals,” Zoo spokeswoman Jennifer Wilson told The Gazette. “Part of the airplane is in the public path of the exhibit. A wing and part of the plane is in the animal habitat.”

The non-flyable plane will be facing as if the pilot landed near the park entrance. People will be able to enter the six-passenger plane from the back door, and view lions from the windows. An air-conditioned wing will allow lions to on it, lay down or look back through the window.

The plane is the latest addition to “Heart of Africa,” currently under construction.

“Even though this weather has been terrible, you can see it coming together,” Wilson said.

All 43 acres of Africa will open in May.

“It’s the largest region we’ve built to date,” Wilson said. “We’re excited because we’re able to bring giraffe and zebra back to the zoo, and they haven’t been here for eight years. Our zoo is built in geographic regions, and up until the addition of Heart of Africa, we haven’t had the region where those animals would live. Now that we’ve built this new Savannah-type region, we’re able to bring those guys back in.”

Wilson said the zoo is missing regions for South and Central America, “but those are in the plans for the future. (Africa) gets us one step closer to being complete.”