By Rick Palsgrove
Groveport City Council approved the creation of a city transportation department to help ease mass transit issues in the city.
The department includes a transportation director who will manage a shuttle bus system between area COTA routes and Groveport businesses to help area employers and workers. The department will also oversee the city’s senior transportation program.
“We’ve received so much positive response from the area businesses about this,” said City Administrator Marsha Hall.
City officials say businesses in Groveport’s industrial parks are having difficulty finding enough employees to fill their needs with one problem being that potential employees are unable to come work in Groveport’s industrial parks because the city’s transportation needs are underserved by the COTA bus system.
“Potentially losing large employers because they cannot find workers would be detrimental to the city’s financial stability,” said Hall. “We need our businesses to be successful.”
According to city officials, businesses in the city’s industrial parks bring in 95 percent of the city’s income tax revenue.
The new transportation director (with a salary range of $21.95 to $35.27 per hour), will oversee the shuttle bus system.
Hall said the number of shuttle bus routes and stops are being discussed.
“The routes will originate at the farthest COTA stops – State Route 317 at Homer Ohio Lane and Alum Creek Drive to the various Groveport businesses in the Rickenbacker area,” said Hall. “We are also exploring a connection with the Fairfield County Bus System, possibly at the Gender Road Park and Ride. Our goal is to be operational by Sept. 1 so we are ready for when the businesses start hiring for their busy holiday season.”
Hall said the cost of operating the shuttle bus program is being determined. The city is looking into the purchase/lease of two to three shuttle buses that could carry 12 to 18 passengers each.
Hall said area businesses are willing to contribute financially to the shuttle bus program.
According to Hall, COTA officials said they will assist Groveport in attempting to obtain grant funds for the purchase of future shuttle buses once the city has an operational program and has the ridership numbers to support the grant requirements. Also, Hall said U.S. Congressman Steve Stivers will assist the city in obtaining potential grants for the shuttle buses.
Safe Craigslist exchange site program
Mayor Lance Westcamp has asked the Groveport Police Department to implement a program to provide a safe and secure location for those dealing with purchases or exchanges through Craigslist.
According to Groveport Police Chief Ralph Portier, after learning of this program from another community, Westcamp felt the city should consider this same safety for its residents.
“The concept will allow buyers and sellers using Craigslist to meet at the police department’s parking lot located at 5690 Clyde Moore during normal business hours of 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday,” said Portier. “Buyers and sellers can still use the lot during other hours, if needed.”
Closed circuit recording units can monitor the activities, and during the normal business times administrative staff are usually nearby.
“This safety idea may prevent the theft of personal goods, robbery and even serious physical harm,” said Westcamp.
The program will take effect May 1.
Portier said caution is still advised when dealing with persons unknown to either the buyer or seller. The police department will not provide any security or witnessing to private sales.
Other Groveport news
•Council is considering zoning variance legislation that would allow the Groveport-Canal Animal Hospital, located on Main Street across from Groveport Town Hall, to expand into the vacant lot the business owns next door. The business owners requested the zoning variance to allow them to build a 2,838 square foot, one story brick addition to their existing building.
Speaking at the April 6 planning and zoning commission meeting, Dave Kerr, representing the Groveport-Canal Animal Hospital, said a construction timetable has not yet been set for the project, but once it is begun, it could take about seven months to complete. He noted the sidewalk in front of the site would be closed for a while during the construction.
•Stephen Redzinak has applied for a zoning variance to allow for the manufacture of food for his food cart and bulk supply for delivery at 480 Main St.
Redzinak said the plan is to use the rear, first floor portion of the building to make food for his food cart. The food would be sold elsewhere at various events. He also would supply food for other businesses. He said his cart is 10 feet long and about 4 feet wide and is the only cart that would be supplied on the site. He said no food would be sold on the premises. The second floor of the building would remain a rental residence and the front portion of the first floor remains vacant.