The 12-year tenure of Grove City Mayor Cheryl Grossman is coming to an end as the life-long city resident prepares for a new political path leading to the Ohio House of Representatives.
Grossman began her career in local politics as president of the Grove City Council and a member-at-large from 1994-1995, following a stint on the planning commission. At the conclusion of her council term, she became mayor on Jan. 2, 1996.
"As our sons (Justin and Joshua) were growing up, I became very active in our community in many volunteer positions," recalled Grossman, who has been married to her husband, Ron, for 37 years. "I was encouraged by several of the people that I worked with on the various boards and committees to run for Grove City Council.
"I was elected in 1993, served in 1994 and 1995 and was also elected by fellow council members as council president during both years of my term. I ran for mayor in 1995 and have served for 12 years as Grove City’s first female mayor."
Hoping to stem a decreasing tide of the number of women serving in the Ohio House, Grossman is pursuing higher office and said she is the endorsed candidate for the 23rd Ohio House District in the November 2008 general election.
Her list of membership in local, county, and state organizations is lengthy.
As mayor and council member, Grossman was involved in many endeavors and served on myriad commissions and committees including the National League of Cities’ Community and Economic Development Committee, State Auditor’s Central Ohio Regional Advisory Board, Natural Resources Assistance Council, Columbus Chamber of Commerce Regional Economic Development Leadership Group, Central Ohio Municipal Council Board, Franklin County Emergency Management Association Board, South-Western Educational Foundation Board, and the Grove City Town Center Merchants Association.
She was in the first graduation class of the JoAnn Davidson Leadership Institute, was a founding member of the Grove City Rotary, and is a Central Ohio YMCA board member, past board member of the Grove City United Methodist Church, a lifetime member of Southwest Franklin County Historical Society, and past president of Children’s Hospital TWIG 184.
In looking back over her years in office, Grossman said highlights include "the Olympic Torch stopping in our Town Center in 1996 when the original plans had no such stop. Our sesquicentennial celebration will be remembered for years to come. The Big Splash opened as Grove City’s first public swimming pool."
"The YMCA’s addition to the community filled a much needed health and leisure option for our residents and is so popular, an addition is currently being planned. We dedicated Adventure Playground at Fryer Park with Dr. Katherine Sullivan. She couldn’t believe what an amazing playground we opened; accessible to all children."
Grossman said events added throughout the years are reflective of the high priority her administration placed on residents.
"When the Big Bear Hot Air Balloon Festival left, we were fortunate to start Balloons Off Broadway that grows every year and is popular throughout central Ohio," continued the mayor. "The Blast at Beulah has thousands of participants who join together to enjoy an incredible fireworks show and thank our valued veterans every year. These events and many more are a point of pride and have been successful through the efforts of an outstanding city staff and community partners."
She added, "The 2007 BIA Parade of Homes was something that some people said would never happen in Grove City, yet it did and it was a tremendous success. For the first time, a welcome park was created at the parade through the efforts of city staff and local businesses that donated or loaned materials for the park."
The opening of medical facilities throughout Grove City and the number of specials attracted to the area was cited by Grossman as a tremendous benefit for residents, in addition to the opening of Parkway Centre and the Inn at Summerville.
"Most of all, I feel that the city staff has grown in so many positive directions," remarked Grossman. "We have two departments that are nationally accredited and throughout the city staff, there is a ‘can do’ attitude offered daily to assist in any way they can.
"The city has changed in many directions since I took office. The Town Center has become the beating heart of the city. Our selection of homes has improved dramatically and there is something available for everyone. Pinnacle Golf Course Community has made our community noticed in many positive ways. Stringtown Road received major improvements. Hoover Road was totally rebuilt with Issue II grant money paying for a significant portion of the re-construction."
"More than anything else, I feel the city has grown yet remains very proud and cognizant of our past; striving to always value our small town feel. I have watched so many residents volunteer their time and talent in so many directions that make us the envy of many other communities."
As she prepares to leave her office overlooking Broadway, Grossman said there still are things left undone that she hoped to finished – such as finding the remaining funding for the replacement of the I-71 and State Route 665 interchange – or brought to fruition – attracting a book store to the area; the number one request made by residents or start development of the lumberyard property – during her tenure.
"For a project estimated at some $45 million (I-71 and SR 665), our efforts have secured or identified all but the final $12 million needed to build it," commented Grossman.
"Some of this funding resulted from an $11.2 million federal earmark arranged through Congresswoman Deborah Pryce. We have worked for more than five years thus far to get ODOT to recognize the importance of this project and commit to its near-term construction, but without success."
Grossman continues to be extremely concerned for the safety of motorists passing through the interchange and said Grove City’s ability to attract economic development to that area of the city has been significantly diminished by the failing condition of the interchange.
"My hopes for the future of Grove City are that we continue to be a caring community willing to reach out and help others. We raised the most money of any first time city when we hosted our first Relay for Life through the American Cancer Society. We have reached out to support the Grove City Emergency Fund and Food Pantry through so many events that we host. Let us all realize how important it is to care about others and help how we can," she said.
"The Southwest-Franklin County Historical Society has become an important partner to our community; our support of that organization is important as we look to the future by remembering our past. I also hope that the outstanding city staff we currently have will continue to be able to serve our residents. They are incredibly dedicated for the right reasons to the people of Grove City."