Groveport’s KidSpace building will be demolished

By Rick Palsgrove
Groveport Editor

Messenger photo by Rick Palsgrove
Groveport city officials decided to demolish Crooked Alley KidSpace building, located at 630 Wirt Road in Groveport.

Groveport City Council unanimously voted to approve the demolition of Crooked Alley KidSpace later this year to make room for more downtown parking.

Council had to decide between demolishing the KidSpace building – at an estimated cost of $30,000 – or repairing it at an approximate cost of $800,000.

“It was not a decision that was done lightly,” said Groveport City Administrator B.J. King.

According to Groveport Public Services Director Brian Strayer, the building needs the following: a new roof, new electrical panel, upgraded HVAC, exterior brick tuck pointing, repairs to a “significant” crack on the east side of the building, repairs to the main floor which has settled and cracked, window replacements, repairs to rusted window transoms, new gutters, interior and exterior painting, and elimination of mold.

The 3,100 square foot KidSpace building, located at 630 Wirt Road, was built in 1955 and was originally the Groveport Municipal Building for many years and later was home to the senior center. KidSpace moved into the building in the early 2000s after the senior center moved to the Groveport Recreation Center.

City officials said demolishing the building will allow for the creation of expanded public parking in the downtown area. King said several downtown area businesses have expressed a need for more public parking and the city. Currently the downtown public parking lots south of Main Street along Wirt Road are often full. Another downtown public parking lot with about 99 spaces is located on the north side of Main Street near Ace Hardware and Delaney’s.

Council approved two pieces of legislation to address the situation. One authorizes King to solicit bids and contract for the re-alignment and expansion of the existing municipal parking lot situated along Wirt Road, Crooked Alley, and Cherry Street.

Groveport City Engineer Steve Farst said this parking expansion will increase the parking capacity in the lot to approximately 100 to 112 spaces from the current 60 spaces.

“The plan associated with this project includes the demolition of KidSpace and the closure of a portion of Cherry Street to combine these properties with the existing municipal parking lot property,” said King, who added there will be curb cuts on the newly designed parking lot to access Wirt Road.

The second ordinance authorizes King to contract with Leukco Construction for the buildout of the second floor of the Rarey’s Port building on Main Street (above Delaney’s Diner).

“That space will be used as the new location of KidSpace activities as well as conference room space,” said King, who added work on the buildout of the second floor of the Rarey’s Port building could begin in three months and take an estimated five months to complete.

King said the KidSpace building will not close until after the Rarey’s Port building project is completed and ready for KidSpace activities.

Construction of the new parking lot will not begin until the KidSpace building is demolished.

City officials had considered donating or leasing the KidSpace building to American Legion Robert Dutro Post 486, but decided against that. The Post does not have a permanent home and its 50 members currently meet at the Madison Township Community Center.

“I do believe we can find another place in town for the American Legion, we want to keep them in the community,” said Councilman Shawn Cleary.

According to American Legion Robert Dutro Post 486 Commander Josh Saunders, the Post had hoped to also use the building as community space for events and blood drives as well as space for satellite offices for veterans assistance agencies. According to members of the Post, this would have made veterans assistance more accessible to the over 868 veterans and their families in the Groveport, Canal Winchester and Madison Township areas.

A potential spot for a home for the Post has not yet been found.

“We will reach out to the Post to determine what their needs are,” said King. “We are fully committed to see how we can help them.”

The KidSpace building has also served as a voting location and no word has been given yet as to where this polling place would be moved to.

The KidSpace building also includes two public art works – a mural on an interior wall depicting Groveport during the 19th century Ohio and Erie Canal era and a Groveport Elementary School student art project on an exterior wall. The fate of these art works is unknown.

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