CW indoor athletic facility debated

By Linda Dillman
Staff Writer

Following pleas from volleyball players and a fundraising campaign study by Laura Waller, Canal Winchester City Council heard the second reading of a rezoning request to build an indoor athletic facility along Groveport Road.

“The property is still within a 100-year floodplain,” said Development Director Lucas Haire, who said although site work clearly elevated the land, the city has not received updated information documenting the action. “There’s still active fill taking place on site. They have to submit new hydraulic studies.”

Property owner Richard Stebelton is donating about three acres to locally operated Eastside Athletics to construct a 19,200-square-foot multi-sport training facility. The land is currently zoned low-density residential. In order to build the complex, the applicant is asking to rezone the land to general commercial.

Land abutting the parcel to the east is owned by Waste Management and is already zoned commercial. Although the request received approval from the planning and zoning commission, city staff recommended denial due to unanswered utility and site fill concerns. In addition, council members were worried if the zoning change was approved, but the project fell through, the property could later be sold for general commercial development not in line with city plans.

Waller, who works in fundraising at Ohio State University, said she reviewed Eastside Athletics’ proposed capital campaign and what it would cost to get the building up and running with community support. She also spoke with the proposed general contractor.

“I find a great deal of enthusiasm,” said Waller. “This is an athletic training center for the whole person. You can raise money to build a building, but you need ongoing support. I feel Eastside Athletics has a good chance of sustainability. This property is a good piece of property.”

Waller said if Eastside Athletics had to go out and purchase property, it could cost the group an extra $300,000 to $400,000.

Volleyball player and Canal Winchester High School senior Rebecca Vogt said the city is a great community, but there is not a lot for teenagers to do.

“I want to have a place where kids can go and be safe with their friends,” Vogt said. “There are so many possibilities this program could offer if the community would permit it.”

Eastside Athletics representative and city resident Glenn Ferrone said his organization has a company lined up to do the soil samples and Fred Kreutz reported a local architect is participating in the project.

“We have all our ducks in a row as far as drilling,” Kreutz said. “We’ll do whatever we need to do. I’ve been in construction all my life.”

The final reading of the rezoning request will be heard at council’s Feb. 17 meeting.

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