By Andrea Cordle
City leaders are anticipating progress in the Columbus Street extension project.
At the Jan. 7 meeting, Grove City Council approved an ordinance to issue notes in the maximum principal amount of $6 million in anticipation of issuing bonds for the road project. Notes are issued in the short-term for capital projects repaid from proceeds of long-term bonds.
“We do this for flexibility,” said Michael Turner, finance director for the city of Grove City. “We don’t want to issue long-term debt when we do not know the final cost.”
Councilwoman and newly-appointed finance chair, Christine Houk was the sole vote against the funding ordinance. She had concerns about setting aside money for a road project with so much uncertainty.
“Is this the best we could be doing,” asked Houk. “Putting this road through is forcing the issue.”
Houk said economic growth is a key concern.
“We don’t have private investment,” she said.
City leaders began discussing the idea of extending Columbus Street about five years ago when they were brainstorming ways to redevelop the Beulah Park property and connect that area to the Town Center.
“We all thought we would be further along by now,” said City Administrator Chuck Boso.
Boso said aspects of the plan have been completed such as rezoning of the area and a stream improvement project. He said there has been a delay in construction due to uncertainty from the Beulah property developer over who would cover what. The city still anticipates real estate transactions would be needed to complete the extension project.
Houk said an additional concern of hers is safety for library patrons.
About two years ago, the Grove City Library relocated from Park Street to its current location along Broadway, next to the Columbus Street extension area.
“There are just still so many unanswered questions,” said Houk.