Groveport officials are pointing the finger at the rocky economy as the culprit holding back the proposed downtown development at the vacant northeast corner of Main and Front streets.
"They (developer Pizzuti Solutions) still have a strong interest and still want to move ahead," Economic Development Director Jeff Green told Groveport Village Council at its Nov. 24 meeting. "They’re still marketing the property."
Green said Pizzuti Solutions is concerned about finding a well known business to anchor the development, to be known as the Groveport Town Center, in the current tough market environment.
Village officials feel the project needs a "destination type restaurant" that could draw from a large area and note the village has the capability to draw people from other areas when the right thing is offered, such as the recreation center, aquatic center, and golf course.
Plans for the northeast corner of Main and Front streets call for a potential retail/office development that includes: two, 19th century style two story brick buildings with varied storefronts, one 200 feet long and the other 100 feet long; parking in the rear in the former Ohio and Erie Canal bed, as well as some spaces on Main Street, that would accommodate 146 vehicles; and a public space at the west end of the development at Main and Front streets.
At council’s June 9 meeting, it unanimously voted to extend the village’s lease and development contract with Pizzuti Solutions regarding the project for another six months, which is now scheduled to expire in December. It was the second six month extension the village had issued on the agreement and allowed Pizzuti to continue to market the project to attract businesses.
At that June 9 meeting, Councilman Ed Rarey tempered the extension by noting that commercial development north of the village could hamper any hopes to bring businesses to the village’s downtown and added the village should look at other options "if the next six months don’t produce anything."
The village plans to advertise to see if anyone is interested in bidding on the former Hamler house, located at 613 Wirt Road in what is now the east portion of Heritage Park. Officials want to see if someone will purchase the building and move it out of town.
The 900 square foot house was built in 1941. The village purchased the property for about $70,000 in 2007 and made it part of Heritage Park.
Rarey had suggested making the house, which has water and sewer hook ups, into a nature center or a modern restroom for Heritage Park. But on Nov. 17 Building Official Stephen Moore said the house would need "major work" to make it compatible with the American Disabilities Act.
"In the long run you’re better off taking it down," said Moore.
Added Mayor Lance Westcamp, "If it’s not feasible to fix it up then we need to do something or see if someone wants to buy it and move it."
The village plans to advertise the property on GovDeals.com.
Other Groveport news
•Complete General Construction Co. offered up the lowest bid at $184,038 out of five bids for the proposed intersection improvements at the intersection of Groveport Road and Green Pointe Drive, which will include a traffic light. The bid came in $38,162 below the engineer’s estimate. Work is planned to begin on the project in early 2009.
•The Groveport Police Department’s grant application to the Franklin County Homeland Security Advisory Committee for Motorola portable radios is being reviewed for acceptance. The village may be eligible to receive approximately $31,000.