Groveport councilman expresses fiscal caution about Main Street plan

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By Rick Palsgrove
Groveport Editor

Proposed Rarey’s Port building.

Groveport City Council approved contracting with Miller-Valentine Group for design-build services for the city’s 1847 Main commercial building project.

The cost of the contract is $195,789 for the Rarey’s Port building and $200,136 for the Wert’s Grove building. Council voted 5-1 to approve the contract with Councilman Shawn Cleary voting against it.

“Our income tax revenue is down and due to the coronavirus pandemic we have had to subsidize our recreation center and golf course operations,” said Cleary. “We will also have increases in employee wages and benefits coming up this year. I think instead of constructing two buildings of a like kind now we should just build one to see how it works out. I want the project to work, but I want us to be conservative with our money to make sure this project can be successful and then proceed further. If it works, that’s great.”

The city of Groveport’s 2020 income tax revenue as of Dec. 31 was $15.7 million, which was 12.1 percent lower than the same time in 2019, according to Groveport Finance Director Jason Carr. In a report to council in January, Carr also noted, that due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the recreation department’s 2020 operational receipts were down $1 million from the same time in 2019 and the golf course’s 2020 operational receipts were down $66,766.

So far in 2021, the city’s income tax revenue year-to-date as of Feb. 28 was $3.2 million, which is 6 percent lower than the same time in 2020. Income tax revenues comprise the largest portion of the city’s total revenues year-to-date, or 61.5 percent of all revenues, according to Carr. Year-to-date through Feb. 28, the recreation department’s operational receipts are down $155,383 and the golf course’s operational receipts are down just $27.

Proposed Wert’s Grove building.

About the 1847 Main project
The 1847 Main project involves the construction of two new, two-story brick, mixed-use commercial buildings: one to be built at the northeast corner of Front and Main streets next to Ace Hardware (674-716 Main St. and known as the Rarey’s Port building); and the second at the northwest corner of College and Main streets (480-490 Main St. and known as the Wert’s Grove building). The city is the developer for both sites.

The Wert’s Grove building will be about 12,184 square feet. The first floor will have five separate storefronts with the interior space divisible according to space requirements for potential new businesses. Second floor space for now will be open.

The Rarey’s Port building is tentatively planned to be 14,145 square feet, with 7,017 square feet of space on the first floor and 7,128 square feet on the second floor. The second floor space will be open for now and the first floor have six individual storefronts facing Main Street and the interior space divisible as required.

Groveport Economic Development Director Jeff Green said the buildings’ designs are modeled on existing 19th and early 20th century business buildings and homes along Main Street.

The estimated cost for the two structures combined will be approximately $6 million.
Carr said money for the two $3 million construction funds for the two buildings in the 2021 budget will be funded by general obligation bonds. These are bonds from the bond market and are not property tax bond issues that would be voted on by the residents.

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