By Andrea Cordle
Grove City Editor
Plans to construct an Interstate 71 overpass are moving forward in the city of Grove City.
Last month, council voted to set aside over $200,000 for an engineering study on the feasibility of an overpass. At the Sept. 6 meeting, council approved a resolution that would allow the city administrator to apply for funding through the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission (MORPC) for the southwest area overpass project.
According to the legislation, the overpass would establish significant thoroughfare connectivity between Interstate 71 and the proposed southwest regional medical and innovation gateway.
The goal is to have access over Interstate 71 in the southern part of the city. The 2050 community plan recommends an overpass at Holton Road. According to the document, this would allow a new frontage road to be developed on the west side of the interstate, like North Meadows Drive on the east side of I-71. It would open land for development. An additional point of connectivity across the highway would also decrease the traffic on existing roadways.
“The reason we’re doing this ultimately is to create jobs,” said Grove City councilman Roby Schottke.
He said the bridge would connect land, spur development, then create employment opportunities.
Grove City resident Roger Burket spoke at the meeting and asked council to leave the land alone and keep it as farmland.
“We don’t need another overpass between Stringtown Road and 665,” said Burket. “I would suggest you trash can this whole idea.”
Schottke said that he would like graduating students to be able to work and live in Grove City.
“Yeah, we are taking agricultural land, but we are preparing for the future; for the younger folks,” he said.
The legislation that council approved is simply an application for funding. City leaders are still working to figure out what the project would entail and how much it would cost, though it is thought the overpass would be upward of $10 million.
According to Cindi Fitzpatrick, director of public service for the city, they are applying to MORPC for attributable funds. A committee will then decide which municipalities and projects would receive funding.
Grove City Mayor Richard “Ike” Stage said, “If we don’t follow the process and go through the steps, we’re out if it.”
Council also approved a resolution to seek financial assistance from the state of Ohio for improvements to Columbus Street.
According to the legislation, the Columbus Street corridor, between Dudley Avenue and Hoover Road needs improvements to support safe vehicular, pedestrian, and bicycle traffic.
Chuck Boso, the Grove City administrator, said this is part of a sewer relief program related to flooding in that area. The project is estimated to cost $8 million.
“Any funds we receive would certainly be a blessing for that project,” said Boso.