By Andrea Cordle
According to the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission (MORPC), central Ohio is going to grow. The population in the region is estimated to increase by one million by the year 2050.
In 2016, MORPC published its insight2050 report to prepare central Ohio communities for future growth. As one of the fastest growing municipalities in central Ohio, Grove City wanted to be prepared and city leaders established its own GroveCity2050 initiative.
At the Jan. 16 meeting, Grove City council adopted the 2050 community plan.
The GroveCity2050 initiative began about two years ago with the appointment of a 30-member steering committee.
The committee members reviewed growth trends and changing demographics and used the information to formulate a plan for future development in the city. The committee held workshops and open houses to gather community input.
The final plan presented at the council meeting will help guide city leaders in making decisions about land use, economic development and transportation.
According to Grove City Mayor Richard “Ike” Stage, the city is ahead of the game.
“To some degree, we are already executing the plan,” he said.
Stage cited the redevelopment in the Town Center and Beulah Park as examples.
“This (GroveCity2050) is a guiding document and it is dynamic,” said Stage.
According to the GroveCity2050 community plan, the city will continue to be one of the fastest growing communities in central Ohio. The land use plan puts a priority on developing under-utilized land and land adjacent to existing development, like the Town Center and the Beulah Park property.
While the plan deals with using space for development, it also puts a focus on expanding parks and recreational opportunities throughout the city.
According to the plan, Grove City has 8.4 acres of public parkland for every 1,000 residents. This falls in line with the national trend for cities of similar size. However, it falls below the city’s own goal of 20 acres of parkland per 1,000 residents, though the opening of the Scioto Grove Metro Park helped the city in this aspect.
The community plan also addressed public transportation. Its goal is to design corridors to balance different modes of travel, reduce congestion while increasing walkability in the city, ensure new developments are connected into existing transportation networks, expand public transportation options and expand sidewalk and bike paths.
Stage said the city is already working on expanding bike trails through the area.
The other major aspect of the plan deals with economic development planning. GroveCity2050 is a tool city leaders would use to create additional businesses and employment growth to benefit the community through an expanded income tax base.
The plan aims to bring in jobs that residents want, promote the city as a desirable place to do business, provide infrastructure to support the city’s employment centers, and advance higher education and expand workforce training.
According to the GroveCity2050 community plan, only 11 percent of the city’s working residents are employed in Grove City. The majority of residents, work outside of Grove City, which is common of the Columbus suburbs. However, city leaders want to change that. They want people to live, work and play all in Grove City.
The plan also puts an emphasis on promoting ‘green’ industries by partnering with the Solid Waste Authority of Central Ohio.
Stage said a city representative will take the community plan to Jackson Township, Pleasant Township and the South-Western City Schools District for endorsement.
For more information on GroveCity2050 or to view the full plan, visit www.grovecityohio.gov.