Mayor Richard "Ike" Stage announced Grove City has received $2 million from a new state job stimulus program.
On Jan. 26, the $2 million award was approved from the Ohio Department of Development’s, Development Financing Advisory Council (DFAC). Before the funds can be spent, they must also be approved by the state’s Controlling Board.
The funds will go toward a major overhaul of the I-71 and State Route 665 interchange, a project that began several years ago with a total cost of over $47 million. The money is from the Ohio Department of Development’s Logistics and Distribution program, which assists in the creation of a seamless multimodal transportation infrastructure across the state as part of the Ohio Bipartisan Job Stimulus Plan.
The program began funding economic development projects last summer.
The interchange is not only important to Grove City’s economic development, but for the entire area because it provides improved access to numerous logistics and distribution operations. Flow of traffic at the interchange had in recent years become greatly constricted, sometimes causing back up on the main travel lanes on the interstate.
Stage explained the project is scheduled to break ground in October. It will take approximately two and a half years to complete and will create $8.7 million in wages and benefits to the project workforce. There will also be major indirect benefits impacting businesses in this area. The largest employer affected by the interchange is FedEx Ground, which operates the nation’s second largest ground freight facility.
More than two dozen other companies in the area employ more than 2,600 workers. Improving the safe and efficient flow of traffic at the interchange will encourage these companies to stay and grow in their current locations.
The project would also bring access to undeveloped, yet "job ready" land that already has access to sewer lines and major infrastructure facilities.
Other projects around the state were vying for the funds and the process was highly competitive. Stage expresses his sincere thanks to everyone that assisted in this regional application process. Entities providing support for the application include: the city of Columbus, Mayor Mike Coleman; Franklin County Commissioners, Columbus Chamber of Commerce, Congresswoman Mary Jo Kilroy, State Representative Cheryl Grossman, FedEx Ground, Solid Waste Authority of Central Ohio, T. Marzetti Co., Tigerpoly Mfg. Inc., Jackson Township and many others.
Grove City has already made significant investments east of the interchange in infrastructure, road widening and lighting. Critical work west of the interchange has also been completed including rerouting Haughn Road to accommodate the interchange improvement project.