By Andrea Cordle
Grove City Editor
Ed Fleming, the president of the Grove City Area Chamber of Commerce had a clear message for city leaders – bring signature events back to Broadway.
Fleming spoke at the Aug. 2 Grove City Council meeting.
“The shops need events on Broadway,” said Fleming. “The businesses need our help.”
The chamber hosts several events that have traditionally been located along Broadway, like the Farmers Market and Arts in the Alley. The market has been moved off Broadway but is still in the downtown area. Last year, due to COVID-19 restrictions, Arts in the Alley was a virtual event. This year, it will be back in-person but will be held off Park Street.
According to Fleming, foot traffic to Broadway businesses have declined with the Farmers Market held off the main route.
“We are hoping for a return to normalcy,” said Fleming. “We have to figure out how to make it happen.”
It was several years ago that city leaders decided to extend Columbus Street to connect the downtown with the Beulah Park property. This work includes the closure of Grant Avenue at the railroad tracks, which would cut off the normal Broadway detour route.
“We’ve had discussions about this for the last four years,” said Grove City Safety Director and Deputy City Administrator William Vedra. “There is no viable detour.”
Vedra cited safety concerns as the reason to move the events off Broadway.
He said the latest traffic count reports that 26,000 vehicles travel through Broadway each day. He said that volume of traffic is too high to put a detour through residential areas in the city. He said the city cannot have semi trucks traveling through town navigating small, residential streets.
“It’s not fair to the neighborhoods,” said Vedra. “We had to look at the greater good and safety.”
Though the city’s administration made the decision to move the events off Broadway, some city council members support bringing events back to the main thoroughfare.
Councilman Roby Schottke said many communities shut down major routes for big events.
“It’s part of that hometown feeling,” he said.
Councilman Ted Berry said he too favors those events back on Broadway.
“What will it cost or what will it take to make this happen,” Berry asked.
Berry asked the city’s administration to put forth a plan that could safely move the events back to Broadway.
Grove City Mayor Richard “Ike” Stage said there is no budget on how to fix it. He said the city does not have a safe detour.
“It was understood when we started talking years ago, that changes were necessary,” said Stage. “We are in a transition time.”
The mayor also said it had been suggested that the chamber of commerce relocate its events to the redeveloped Beulah property, but that suggestion was declined because chamber leaders wanted to keep the events downtown.
The 42nd annual Arts in the Alley will be held Sept. 18-19.