Member Spotlight Archive

Westerville, Ohio

A charming place to live, work and visit
Published July 2012

Named for New York natives Matthew and Peter Westervelt, who bought 890 acres of land in 1816 on the east bank of Alum Creek in central Ohio, Westerville had a modest 275 residents when it was officially incorporated in 1858.

Today, Westerville is one of Columbus’ largest suburbs. Even with more than 38,000 residents, the city still maintains a small-town feel. Charming, historic Uptown Westerville is the heart of the community. With its new-generation dining establishments and retail shops adorned with nostalgic store fronts, plus family-friendly community events, Uptown attracts residents and visitors alike.

Business and development
Westerville is currently experiencing substantial growth in economic development. In March 2012, the city opened the nation’s first municipal data center. The We Connect Community Data Center is a carrier-neutral facility that offers an array of services designed to help local businesses grow while also creating jobs.

Home to what is known as the “Medical Mile,” Westerville is fast becoming a hub for health care services. The Medical Mile includes Mount Carmel St. Ann’s Hospital (central Ohio’s first planned suburban hospital), OhioHealth’s Westerville Medical Campus, Nationwide Children’s Hospital Westerville Surgery Center, urgent care offices and primary care clinics. Excellent care and an abundance of diverse jobs draw people from all over to Westerville.

Westerville is accessible by Interstates 270 and 71, and other major highways. The city is also only 13 miles from Port Columbus International Airport. Westerville is in the final stages of the revitalization of its South State Street gateway. This update involves expanding traffic lanes and adding street lighting and decorative piers.

Strong community ties
Being family friendly is a core value of Westerville, and with a nationally recognized and award-winning parks system, the city is able to uphold this value. Westerville maintains more than 580 acres of dedicated park land, a 96,600 square-foot Community Center and 26 miles of leisure paths. In 2011, the Highlands Park Aquatic Center received the Ohio Parks and Recreation Association Award of Excellence.

The Westerville Visitors and Convention Bureau presents community block party events called Fourth Friday celebrations on the fourth Friday of each month, April through October. Westerville residents enjoy free family-friendly activities during Fourth Friday with events such as the Dog Days of Summer in August and Midnight Madness in October. The Westerville Area Chamber of Commerce also hosts a popular annual Music & Arts Festival in July.

Westerville is home to Otterbein University, whose reputation for academic excellence was enhanced recently when it was ranked 14th out of 110 ranked schools in the Regional University Midwest Rankings of the 2012 U.S. News & World Report’s “Guide to America’s Best Colleges.” Nearly 3,000 students from throughout the United States and several foreign countries attend the university. Founded in 1847, Otterbein also has the distinction of being the first institution of higher learning in the United States to admit women without restrictions, the first to include women on its faculty, and one of the first to admit students of color.

Reliable power provider
Westerville is the only suburban electric utility provider in central Ohio. The city established its own electric division in 1898 and opened its first water treatment plant in 1901. Municipal electric and water keep utilities at the local level for Westerville residents and businesses. Having its own utilities is an asset to the City of Westerville.

Westerville has been named a Reliable Power Public Provider (RP3) program recipient by the American Public Power Association (APPA). RP3 is recognition for providing consumers with the highest degree of reliable and safe electric service. According to APPA, of the nation’s more than 2,000 public power utilities, 154 have earned RP3 recognition.

Advanced metering infrastructure implementation, which improves the process of managing demand for natural resources, is among Westerville’s many process improvement projects. The city is deploying advanced meters to 2,500 commercial and industrial customers over the next 12 months. The city has also established an internal green team, which has identified ways to make Westerville more environmentally friendly.

Westerville provides recycling at the curbside for its residents, and in regard to energy conservation efforts, officials launched a refrigerator recycling program in 2012. About 150 refrigerators have been collected through the program. The city is also involved with rain garden programs and has secured grants to fund education and outreach for residential use of rain barrels and backyard composting.

As a member of AMP, Westerville participates in a number of AMP programs and projects that assist in providing reliable energy and other benefits to the community and its citizen-owners. These include:

  • Central AMP Service Group (CASG).
  • Mutual Aid, a network of municipal electric systems that assist each other when utility emergencies occur that are too widespread to be handled by one system alone. After severe storms struck in late June, for example, crews from St. Clairsville, Ohio, assisted Westerville crews in their restoration efforts.
  • New York Power Authority (NYPA), providing hydroelectricity generated by the Niagara and St. Lawrence rivers.
  • Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Compliance Program, designed to help members comply with laws governing the workplace safety of public employees.

For more information, visit Westerville’s website.