Council agrees to update a community center study

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By Andrea Cordle
Grove City Editor

Grove City councilman Roby Schottke has been pushing city leaders to get the ball rolling on a recreation and aquatics center for the community. At the May 16 council meeting, he proposed legislation that would move the idea forward.

Council voted to update a 2014 community center study.

“I was on the park board in 2014 when we had Ballard and King conduct this study, but it was put off,” said Schottke. “Many in the community want a recreation center. This is just the first part to update an old plan.”

Schottke said the study needed an update because the funding would have changed since 2014.

According to the study, it would cost an estimated $40 million to build a recreation center and about $2 million to operate it annually. The price for building materials have increased since 2014.

Schottke suggested building a recreation center in 36 acres of land the city already owns in the Pinnacle area. He also recommended using Pinnacle TIF funds to help construct the facility.

Grove City Parks and Recreation Director Kim Conrad said the city and park board are updating its long-term parks plan.

“This is an overall comprehensive plan for all the parks and a recreation center is part of that,” said Conrad.

Conrad did agree that the 2014 study was outdated and in need of an update.

Council members Christine Houk and Mark Sigrist voted against the legislation to update the 2014 study, though the measure still passed with a majority vote.

Houk said she would rather have an integrated approach with a conceptual plan that council members could put in front of residents for input. Sigrist agreed and said they should have more discussions before moving forward.

Council president Ted Berry said the city was not going to hire a consulting firm, they were just going to review and update the estimated costs associated with building and operating such a facility.

“We need to move forward on something,” said Berry.

Schottke said this was simply a request for more information.

In related news, Doug Stickel, the executive director of the Grove City YMCA, gave a brief presentation to council.

He said Grove City is one of the busiest YMCAs in central Ohio and roughly 20 percent of the Grove City population has a membership.

“We have 8,794 members at the Grove City YMCA,” said Stickel.

He said prior to the novel coronavirus pandemic, the city and the YMCA had discussed an expansion project for a YMCA/community recreation center. Something similar was built in Reynoldsburg. Stickel suggested city leaders revisit that idea.

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