Brown’s Farm plan moving forward

By Andrea Cordle
Southwest Editor

The proposal has been kicked down the road for more than a year but now, it’s back on the schedule.

At the July 15 meeting, Grove City Council postponed two pieces of legislation pertaining to the Brown’s Farm redevelopment plan, located near Orders Road and Haughn Road. The first piece of legislation was the development plan that would allow Wilcox Communities to build 110 cottages, or condominiums, on the east side of Haughn Road and more than 200 apartment units on the west side of Haughn Road. The housing plan would cater to senior citizens and empty nesters. The second piece of legislation discussed was a tax increment financing (TIF) agreement with the developer.

Both items were postponed for council to consider at its Aug. 5 meeting.

Jonathan Wilcox, of Wilcox Communities, had requested the delay so he and city officials could address the traffic concerns brought forth by residents who live along Orders Road. Some of the area residents asked that the city address the safety concerns along Orders Road before they allow a large complex to be built.

Resident David Hellard reported witnessing three traffic fatalities near his home along Orders Road. Last year, he spoke out against the project saying it offered no comprehensive traffic plan for the road.

The legislation on the TIF agreement would address some infrastructure needs, according to the ordinance.

Tax increment financing agreements subsidize companies by refunding or diverting a portion of their taxes to help finance development or pay for infrastructure improvements near the development area. According to the legislation, the exemption may be for up to 100 percent for up to 30 years. The public infrastructure improvements may include improvements to public roads and water and sewer lines.

“I believe the only way we’re going to get repairs to Orders Road and Haughn Road is through a TIF,” said Grove City councilman Roby Schottke.

The legislation is not specific as to what infrastructure improvements would be addressed through TIF funds. It lays out where the money could be used. Once the funds start to come in, the funding for road and/or sewer improvements would come before city council.

According to Grove City Mayor Richard “Ike” Stage, some of the intended projects could include a safer Orders Road with shoulders, a bike path and a road that goes to the Grove City YMCA, instead of a lane.

“Orders Road is a problem,” said Stage. “The only way to get that resolved is if we have major funding. We have brought forth the best package for our community.”

There was also discussion about the city and developer working together to build a public dog park near Fryer Park.

According to Wilcox, there were plans to include a small, private dog park for residents in the senior complex. Councilman Ted Berry suggested making a larger, public dog park.

“If you’re already going to put money into it, why not make it a public park?” asked the councilman.

Wilcox thought it was a good idea and said he would review the mechanics and the project cost. If this is something city leaders and the developer want to explore, Wilcox would likely cover the initial cost to build the public dog park but would be reimbursed under the TIF agreement.

Not all city leaders were sold on the idea.

“We don’t know if this is something the public wants,” said councilman Steve Robinette.

A public dog park is currently not part of the legislation included in the Brown’s Farm development plan or TIF agreement.

City council meets at 7 p.m. Aug. 5 at City Hall, 4035 Broadway.

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