A bit of history uncovered at Groveport’s Main Street construction site

0
494

By Rick Palsgrove
Groveport Editor

Photo courtesy of the city of Groveport
This concrete chunk was recently uncovered by construction workers at the Rarey’s Port building site. It is believed to be part of an abutment for the Ohio and Erie Canal bridge that once spanned Main Street.

When digging in a historic downtown, one nevers knows what will be found underground.

Work is progressing on the 14,145 square foot Rarey’s Port (674 Main St.) and the 12,184 square foot Wert’s Grove (480 Main St.) buildings that are part of the city of Groveport’s 1847 Main Project. Construction is expected to be completed on the two two-story brick, mixed-use commercial buildings in the spring of 2022.

The Rarey’s Port building sits on ground that was once the channel of the Ohio and Erie Canal that passed through Groveport in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Recently while doing some foundation work, construction workers ran into a large unexpected obstacle – part of what is believed to be an abutment for the old bridge that once spanned Main Street over the canal. When the canal bridge was taken down over a century ago the four large abutments at each corner of the bridge apparently were just buried rather than being removed due to their size.

Photo courtesy of the city of Groveport
This old building foundation corner was recently uncovered by construction workers at the Wert’s Grove building site.

“The bridge abutment actually presented a couple issues,” said Groveport Development Director Jeff Green. “One was the need to break up what was a sizable chunk of concrete that extended several feet along the footer that was being dug and, two, wet soils that were exposed under the concrete. The excavators had to dig down around seven feet to remove the wet soil and fill the hole with concrete.”

Also when the canal fell into disuse and was drained of water more than 100 years ago, its empty channel was filled with trash and covered with dirt. Trash that 21st century construction workers came upon while digging on the site.

“I saw bottles and cans but, according to the on-site project manager, there was all kinds of trash and debris,” said Green. “This was on the west end of the building. They removed the soil by digging down about six to seven feet and filling the hole with concrete. We’re through the worst of it.”

Photo courtesy of the city of Groveport
The steel framework of the new 14,145 square foot Rarey’s Port building, being constructed at 674 Main St. in downtown Groveport, is rising from the landscape. The building is expected to be completed by late March 2022. Construction of the 12,184 square foot Wert’s Grove building at 480 Main St. is also ongoing and that building is expected to be finished by April 2022. The mixed use commercial buildings will also be home to three restaurants: Delaney’s Diner will be in the Rarey’s Port building and Preston’s: A Burger Joint and Honey’s Fried Chicken as well as Mmelo Confectionary and Cafe will be located in the Wert’s Grove building.

Compared to the obstacles uncovered at the Rarey’s Port building site, the Wert’s Grove building site has progressed with relative ease.

“There have been no similar issues at the Wert’s Grove site,” said Green. “The soil under the old asphalt pavement at the Wert’s Grove site was firm, compacted clay and was very easy to excavate. It cut like butter. The only thing workers encountered there was a corner of an old foundation, but they were able to break it up easily.”

The old foundation at the Wert’s Grove site could from an old house or outbuilding that once occupied the site or possibly from the Campbell Hotel, which is believed to possibly have stood on the site in the 1800s.

Green said construction is progressing well on the two buildings.

“The work is actually a little ahead of schedule,” said Green. “Once the footers were dug and poured, the rest of the foundations and now the erection of steel is going very well.”

About the 1847 Main Project

Messenger photo by Rick Palsgrove
The Rarey’s Port building is taking shape as the framework structure of the building rises from the ground. The tall portion at right is the elevator tower.

The cost to construct the two buildings is approximately $7.6 million. It is funded by a combination of non-tax revenue bonds and tax revenue bonds. According to Groveport Finance Director Jason Carr, non-tax revenue bonds equal taxable bonds and tax revenue bonds equal tax-exempt bonds. He said the project will be funded by general obligation bonds, which are bonds from the bond market and are not property tax bond issues that would be voted on by the residents.

Three restaurants will occupy the lower levels of the Wert’s Grove and Rarey’s Port buildings. They include: Delaney’s Diner – a breakfast, lunch, brunch restaurant that will occupy 4,000 square feet of space with a patio on the west end of the Rarey’s Port building; Preston’s: A Burger Joint and

Messenger photo by Rick Palsgrove
Welders working on the Rarey’s Port building.
Messenger photo by Rick Palsgrove
Workers laying the foundation for the Wert’s Grove building.

Honey’s Fried Chicken, which will occupy a little under 3,000 square feet on the west end of the Wert’s Grove building; and Mmelo Confectionary & Café – a high-end chocolates and confections place that also offers breads and pastries, a full lunch and dinner menu, and made to order specialties, coffee and espresso – will occupy around 2,300 square feet, plus patio, on the east end of the Wert’s Grove building.

The canal bridge that once spanned Main Street can be seen in the foreground of this photo from the early 20th century. (Photo courtesy of the Groveport Heritage Museum.)

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.