NorthGate Commerce District has been in the news during the past several years, but one key element that will make the retail development a reality is the yet to be built I-71/36-37 Interchange modifications that would create a southern interchange near the closed Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) weigh station on northbound I-71.
Columbus developer Pat Shivley had a vision for what NorthGate could become 10 years ago. Over the past two years Shivley and his NorthGate Development, LLC Partnership has been moving forward with plans to create an upscale, residential, commercial, and recreational complex on property annexed over the past several years into the Village of Sunbury.
Several roadblocks prevented Shivley and his NorthGate partners from moving forward as rapidly as originally planned, including a preferred route for a new roadway, Sunbury Parkway, moving traffic east and west from the proposed southern interchange.
The project was also delayed by an environmental study once the preferred Sunbury Parkway route was determined — there have been project funding issues, the county had not yet approved a Wilson Road extension to connect with yet to be built Sunbury Parkway, and there were questions about county and Village of Sunbury sanitary sewer service areas.
In mid-April Delaware County Commissioners approved a key component allowing the southern interchange project to move forward at an accelerated pace, an intergovernmental agreement between the county and the village formalizing sanitary sewer service areas that would be covered by each entity and the extension of Wilson Road.
That agreement stipulates that Delaware County would provide sanitary sewer and wastewater treatment services within the NorthGate development west of South Galena Road; Sunbury would provide sewer services east of South Galena Road. The sewer agreement also set sewer rates in areas of the village serviced by the county, and areas of the county serviced by the Village of Sunbury.
Sunbury Mayor Tommy Hatfield said the village’s increased sewer service area does not pose a problem. The Village of Sunbury Wastewater Treatment Plant was designed to process 1.5 million gallons per day (gpd) of wastewater, he said; and the plant’s Ohio Environment Protection Agency permit allows the plant to service 1.125 million gpd.
On average the Sunbury Wastewater Treatment Plant operates at a bit over one-half of the Ohio EPA permit level; and the plant was designed to double in capacity to 3 million gpd at a future expansion. Hatfield said he understands that the plant site’s footprint would accommodate further expansions up to six million gpd.
“We’ve worked very hard to put an agreement together that works best for our community,” Hatfield said. “This agreement was a critical step forward for future development around the interchange at 36/37 and I-71. Ultimately, this agreement will save money for all parties involved and will reduce the duplication of services between Sunbury and Delaware County.”
Hatfield added that the agreement would now allow Sunbury and the county to move forward with finalizing service area planning.
Delaware County Commissioner Gary Merrell agreed with Hatfield that the sewer agreement would prevent a duplication of services as the Ohio 37/US 36 I-71 Interchange improvements move forward.
“The agreement between the county and the Village of Sunbury allows the best use of resources,” Merrell said. “This is a win-win for everyone.”
Information for this story was provided by NorthGate Companies.