City purchases property to expand Town Center Park

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By Andrea Cordle
Grove City Editor

Last month, Grove City Council approved legislation to install a permanent performing arts stage at the old library site, along Park Street. Now, the city is purchasing additional property in that area for public use.

At a recent meeting, the council approved a purchase agreement with the Virginia S. Cotton Trust and set aside $588,500 for the structures at 4107 Arbutus Ave. and 3378 Voeller Ave. The city is buying the properties for less than the appraised value, which is listed as $597,500, per the Horner Appraisal Group.

According to Stephen Smith, the city’s law director, these two parcels border city properties in the Town Center.

“This is a key purchase for how the city is compiling land in the Town Center,” said Smith.

City Administrator Chuck Boso said the city, as well as other entities, have been hosting events and programs in that area because they are not having as many events on Broadway. He said buying the two parcels of land gives the city opportunity.

“The need for increased space has become evident,” said Boso.

The city just received a $200,000 state capital grant that will be used to construct a performing arts stage. A temporary stage has been at the old library location for the past two years.

According to Kim Conrad, the city’s parks and recreation director, there are already plans to host events at that location in 2023. Some of those events include Friday night concerts, Arts in the Alley, and the Wine and Arts Festival.

It remains to be seen what the city will do with the two parcels it purchased. Councilman Roby Schottke suggested a skating rink.

“I would gladly support that,” said Schottke.

Council has asked the city’s administration to prepare an overall plan for the Town Center Park area.

Council also approved a purchase and donation agreement with Berkley and Joanne Roach. The city has been negotiating with the Roach family to acquire public park land on Holton Road. As part of the agreement, the city will buy just over four acres on Holton Road for $400,000 and the Roach family will donate an additional 4.9 acres to the city. Based on the city’s appraisal, the value of the purchased land and the donated land total $1.4 million.

The city will appropriate the $400,000 purchase from the Pinnacle Tax Increment Financing Fund.

City leaders thanked the family for the land donation and suggested building a water feature in the Roach’s name.

In other news, the council approved a development plan for an addition at the Buckeye Ranch, located at 5665 Hoover Road. The plan is to construct a new administration and residence building at the site.

The facility, formerly called the Buckeye Boys Ranch, opened in 1961 as a treatment center for 10 young men. Over the years, it has transitioned into a provider of emotional, behavioral, and mental health services for children and their families.

Councilman Randy Holt asked if there were any safety concerns about the Buckeye Ranch or its patients. Kevin Teaford, the city’s safety director, said they have had no issues and have a great relationship with the ranch.

“We have no concerns from a safety standpoint,” said Teaford.

Council members also heard a preliminary development plan for the Harris Property, located north of State Route 665 and west or Borror Road. The concept was to build more than 100 free-standing condominiums, 76 town homes, and nearly 150 ranch-style apartments on the land over several phases.

The city’s planning commission voted against this plan due to traffic and density concerns.

The developer has come up with a new plan that will be resubmitted to the planning commission before coming back before city council.

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