By Andrea Cordle
A few months ago, the city of Grove City formed a racetrack redevelopment committee. By establishing the committee, the city became eligible to receive up to $3 million from the state of Ohio’s racetrack facility community economic redevelopment fund. The fund would assist the city in redeveloping within one mile of Beulah Park, the abandoned horse racing facility.
The committee made its recommendations to Grove City Council at the June 15 meeting.
Andy Furr, chairman of the racetrack redevelopment committee, said the group suggested the city restore and relocate West Water Run. The committee also recommended site demolition/cleanup and construction of a Greenway Trail.
“That stream is a burden,” said Furr. “We deemed this project most necessary and believe it would have the greatest impact on the neighborhood.”
According to Mike Keller, of EMH&T, the estimated project cost of the stream relocation and restoration would be $2.6 million, though the city would ask for $1.3 million in funding from the state. The city has applied for a $776,850 grant from Clean Ohio. The stream restoration project also includes a $490,000 land donation from Penn National Gaming.
Keller said it would cost $750,000 for the cleanup and environmental site assessment and $295,000 for the Greenway Trail. The trail would be designed and constructed in conjunction with the stream relocation.
The objective of the stream restoration project is to restore habitat, create a forested floodplain and buffer, protect a stable stream corridor, reclaim flood prone property and accommodate future development.
Keller said the floodplain in that area currently affects 26 acres. The project would reduce that to 15 or 16 acres, potentially taking many residents in the vicinity out of the floodplain.
“This is in the best interest of the neighborhood and the community,” said Keller. “It will greatly reduce land impacted by the floodplain.”
Councilman Steve Bennett said the project could reduce expenditures for homeowners.
“This could save thousands of dollars on flood insurance per property,” said Bennett.
Keller said the intent of the stream restoration and relocation project is to get the area residents out of the floodplain, but the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) would have the final say on the matter.
Council unanimously approved the recommendations.
Joe Ciminello, racetrack committee member and potential developer of Beulah Park, said this project is a benefit to the whole community. He said even is his redevelopment plans falls through, this plan would help the development of the site.
The West Water Run restoration and relocation project is similar to Grant Run, also in Grove City.
Grove City Mayor Richard “Ike” Stage said there is one caveat to the plan. If the city does not receive the $490,000 land donation from Beulah Park’s current owners Penn National, the project dies.
The land in question is an easement.
According to city administrators, the city has been in contact with Penn National.