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Council discusses future of Town Center
On July 14, Grove City leaders met to kick around ideas for the redevelopment of the Town Center.
Council and administrators discussed relocating the Grove City Library, the lumberyard site and a community center.
Grove City Library
The Southwest Public Libraries had a consulting firm review the future of the library district. The study asked community members what they wanted from their local library. It also reviewed the Grove City Library property and space needs.
According to the study, the library would need approximately $2.5 million in structure improvements to expand.
Council questioned whether it is better to expand the current library or move it to a new location.
“I love the library, but when I walk in, I step back a few decades,” said councilwoman Melissa Albright.
Councilman Steve Bennett said investing in the current library site is like putting a Band-Aid on it. He believes the library should be relocated.
According to Amy Shaw, public information officer with Southwest Public Libraries, the last time the Grove City Library building expanded was in 1974, when the city’s population was around 9,000.
“Our space is inadequate,” said Shaw. “Parking is one of our biggest issues.”
Councilman and former library trustee Jeff Davis said he would like to see the library in a new building, but also said the city would need to work with the library board in a creative way to accomplish the task.
“I just can’t say how important the library is to the community and what it could mean to the Town Center,” said Davis.
Shaw said the city and library board have discussed the issue for years. She said the library would consider a relocation proposal depending on what was presented.
Grove City Mayor Richard “Ike” Stage said city leaders are open to ideas on the library. He said the city and library would continue to work together to come up with a plan.
“Something needs to be done now,” said council president Ted Berry. “It looks horrible.”
Berry was referring to the parcel of land that sits adjacent to City Hall, where the old lumberyard was located.
Berry suggested cleaning up the property with green space and putting up a few benches for public use until a developer comes along.
Councilwoman Maria Klemack-McGraw agreed and said the site is an eyesore.
“We should clean it up and let people be able to use it,” she said.
Stage said it is not as simple as putting down grass seed. He said engineers would need to review drainage and elevation. Stage said it may not be a good idea to invest nearly $100,000 for green space when the property could be developed in the near future.
Earlier this year, the city signed an agreement with Pizutti to redevelop the Town Center.
Stage said the private developer has offered several ideas, not just for the lumberyard site, but for the Town Center. A preliminary development plan could be presented to council by the end of September.
Council also suggested putting more parking around the lumberyard site and along Grove City Road.
Westerville, Dublin and Groveport all have community centers. Grove City would like to join the ranks.
“I think a community center is important in an area,” said Berry. “People need a place to play.”
Bennett agreed and said, “As the population grows, we need to keep the youth in Grove City. We need a place, like a recreation center, to keep youth.”
City Administrator Chuck Boso said there are a few issues with building a community center. One issue, there is no space for a large facility in the Town Center. The other issue, funding.
Boso said a recreation center, similar to the Westerville Athletic Center, would cost at least $19 million.
“We would love to have one, but it would take a new revenue source,” said Boso.
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