By Andrea Cordle
Grove City Editor
For several years, Grove City officials have planned to extend Columbus Street to connect the Town Center to the redeveloped Beulah Park property. It was nearly three years ago that council approved $6 million in funding for the project.
At the Sept. 21 meeting, council approved the final piece of legislation to purchase the needed right-of-way to get the road project moving.
“This is the last two pieces of the puzzle,” said Stephen Smith, law director for the city. “Now, we can get the project out to bid and begin construction.”
The city agreed to purchase the Hill property, located at 3879-3889 Meadow Lane for $900,000. The city also agreed to purchase a portion of land located at 3937 Broadway known as the Mill Street property for approximately $1.2 million. Council had already approved funding to purchase property to acquire the roadway, but because both sellers requested payments spread out over a few years, council had to vote on the measure.
For the Hill property, the city will pay the seller $300,000 at closing, along with a $300,000 promissory note in 2021 and again in 2022 for the same amount. For the Mill Street land, the city will pay the seller $410,000 upon closing and will deliver the balance through similar payments in 2021 and 2022.
According to Smith, the entire Hill property was not needed; only a chunk of land was needed for the road project. However, Smith said, it was easier to buy the entire property because it would bring up too many problems.
The law director also said the Mill Street Market building will stay where it is, but the city is buying the parcel that includes the white barn and the parking lot behind the market. The barn would be demolished, and the parking lot would be removed.
In 2017, the city explored options to not only extend Columbus Street, but also construct a plaza and build a public parking garage.
City Administrator Chuck Boso said what will happen with the property remains to be seen, but the extension of the roadway is thought to bring an economic boost to the city.
Boso did say that the city has went about $400,000 over budget for the land acquisition costs. He thinks the city may be able to save some funds through the bidding process.
“I think the bid climate is right, right now,” said Boso.
Council president Christine Houk was the sole vote against the approval of the funding. She was not on council at the time of the previous funding vote in 2017 but noted her concern.
“The project needs its due diligence,” said Houk in 2017. “The $6 million is just the tip of the iceberg. You need the full picture.”
Now, Houk voted against the funding saying, “We will be going beyond $6 million for 700 linear feet of roadway.”