Decision coming soon on the fate of Groveport’s Crooked Alley KidSpace

By Rick Palsgrove
Groveport Editor

Messenger photo by Rick Palsgrove
The future of Crooked Alley KidSpace building, located at 630 Wirt Road in Groveport, could be decided soon.

Another option has arisen for the future use of Groveport’s Crooked Alley KidSpace

The city of Groveport’s 2024 budget includes $500,000 listed under capital projects for “KidSpace Building improvements.”

Last year’s city budget included funds for the proposed demolition of the 3,100 square foot KidSpace building, located at 630 Wirt Road, and replacing it with additional public parking at an estimated cost of $500,000. But no action was taken last year regarding the building.

At Groveport City Council’s Feb. 26 meeting, members of Robert Dutro American Legion Post 486 asked city officials to consider donating the KidSpace building to their organization instead.

“We need a home base. We have not had a permanent home,” said Robert Dutro American Legion Post 486 Commander Josh Saunders representing the 50 members of the post, which currently meets at the Madison Township Community Center.

The post hopes to also use the building for community space and space for satellite offices for veterans assistance agencies. According to members of the post, this would make veterans assistance more accessible to the over 850 veterans and their families in the Groveport, Canal Winchester and Madison Township areas.

Saunders said the post could have repairs made to the building by obtaining various grants.

“Taxpayers would not have to pay for the repairs and it would give the building a new lease on life,” said Saunders, who added there would be no alcohol or gambling on the premises.

Last year, Groveport City Administrator B.J. King said the 69-year-old KidSpace building needs repairs including a new roof and the HVAC system needs replaced.

“I wanted to salvage the building from day one,” said Groveport Mayor Lance Westcamp, who added the building’s fate is up to Groveport City Council.

In a written report to council, King said city administrators and council have been looking for ways to address the parking shortage in the city’s historic downtown.

“We are looking how best to maximize the existing parking area,” said King.

In a past interview, King said several downtown area businesses have expressed a need for more public parking and the city is looking at options. Currently the downtown public parking lots south of Main Street are often full. Another downtown public parking lot with about 99 spaces is located on the north side of Main Street near Ace Hardware and Delaney’s.

Council is considering two pieces of legislation to address the situation. One would authorize King to solicit bids and contract for the re-alignment and expansion of the existing municipal parking lot situated along Wirt Road, Crooked Alley, and Cherry Street.

“This expansion would increase the parking capacity in the lot to approximately 100 spaces. There are currently a little over 50 spots, inclusive of those in the municipal lot and KidSpace,” said King. “If approved, the plan associated with this project would include the demolition of KidSpace and the closure of a portion of Cherry Street to combine these properties with the existing municipal parking lot property.”

The second ordinance would authorize King to contract with Leukco Construction for the buildout of the second floor of the Rarey’s Port building on Main Street (above Delaney’s Diner).

“That space is proposed to be used as the new location of KidSpace activities as well as conference room space,” said King.

Both pieces of legislation, as well Robert Dutro American Legion Post 486’s request that the city donate the building to them, will be discussed by council at its committee of the whole meeting on March 18 at 5:30 p.m. in the municipal building, 655 Blacklick St.

The KidSpace building was built in 1955 and was originally the Groveport Municipal Building for many years and later was home to the senior center. KidSpace moved into the building in the early 2000s after the senior center moved to the Groveport Recreation Center.

The KidSpace building also includes two public art works – a mural on an interior wall depicting Groveport during the 19th century Ohio and Erie Canal era and a Groveport Elementary School student art project on an exterior wall.

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