Bike path plan debated


By Andrea Cordle
Southwest Editor

Does Grove City need a path that would take pedestrians and bicyclists from Windsor Park to Fryer Park?

Council is debating this question.

At the Sept. 6 meeting, council had its first reading on an ordinance that would appropriate $128,300 from the general fund to extend a bike path that would connect the Town Center area to Fryer Park and the YMCA. The connection would go through the Southern Grove subdivision, a neighborhood in Jackson Township, off Orders Road.

According to Grove City Mayor Richard “Ike” Stage, the city would cover the costs of the bike path by resurfacing Southern Grove and improving the intersection of Orders Road and Southern Grove Drive.

“The administration put forth an opportunity to the township to repave the streets. We have done about all we can to make sure there is a bike path,” said Stage.

The path would include painted symbols and signage to mark that it is a designated bicycle path.

Councilman Jeff Davis questioned the need for the path markings.

“I know that times have changed, but when I was a kid, I just rode my bike down the street,” he said.

Councilman Ted Berry said he is an avid biker and the painted markings are “extremely important,” not only for the bicyclists, but also motorists.

“Thousands of people in this county ride bikes through the area,” said Berry. “Not all of them are familiar with the roads.”

Stage said the markings and signage need to be posted for safety reasons.

Councilwoman Laura Lanese said she sees no reason for the bike path as Southern Grove is not a through street.

“It is not necessary in any way, shape or form,” said Lanese.

While the township and the city have been at odds about Southern Grove, the Jackson Township trustees submitted a memorandum of understanding to the city regarding the neighborhood. It says, the township has resisted connecting the Southern Grove streets to new or planned streets in the city for vehicles, but the streets should be made as safe as possible for pedestrians and bicyclists.

“We’ve got to get kids and people safely across Orders Road,” said trustee Dave Burris. “This path is a really nice way to get kids across there.”

According to the memorandum of understanding, the township would maintain the streets, signs and pavement markings along the path.

It also states that Grove City will develop new subdivisions around Southern Grove, but will not connect for vehicular traffic until the trustees and neighborhood residents agree.

City leaders had just received the memorandum by the township before the council meeting and had not had time to review it or comment.

The Southern Grove subdivision has been in the township for more than 50 years. There is only one way in and out of the neighborhood and it includes several streets that dead-end into farm fields.

Residents of the area, along with township trustees have been in opposition to a city plan that would connect the Southern Grove streets to a new development near Haughn and Orders road.

The residents believe their neighborhood would become a cut-through and it would bring excess traffic. The residents signed a petition against the city’s plan, created a website to save Southern Grove and even threatened legal action. Earlier this summer, the township trustees officially opposed any connection that would take more traffic through the neighborhood.

Burris said he believes that with the bike path, the city and township have reached a compromise and the connector plan is off the table.

Legislation to connect the Southern Grove streets to a new development has been postponed.
A second reading and public hearing on the proposed bicycle and pedestrian path is scheduled for Sept. 19.


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