By Rick Palsgrove
Parking in Groveport’s historic downtown continues to be a source of discussion.
According to Groveport City Administrator B.J. King, several downtown area businesses have expressed a need for more public parking and the city is looking at its options.
Along with street parking on Main Street and in nearby neighborhoods, there is a 99-space public parking lot on the north side of Main Street by Delaney’s and Ace Hardware and another large municipal lot south of Main Street at Wirt Road, Cherry Street, and Crooked Alley.
Groveport City Council took one step to help ease the pinch on businesses on March 13 when it approved two parking spots in the municipal lot at Wirt Road, Cherry Street, and Crooked Alley be designated for carryout order parking for the Birch Tavern.
Social media has been buzzing about how the 99-space parking lot by Delaney’s and Ace Hardware is often nearly full. Groveport Police Chief Casey Adams decided to monitor the parking situation in this lot over a four day period from Feb. 21-24.
“I counted all available parking spaces (at specific times ranging on half hour intervals from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.),” said Adams. “These spaces included the curbside parking adjacent to Delaney’s and Ace Hardware and all of the municipal lot areas between and behind the businesses. There was never any time that there were no spaces available.”
According to Adams, the average number of available parking spaces in the lot during the times monitored ranged from 34 to 48 open spaces.
“Also, the municipal lot (located at Wirt Road, Cherry Street, and Crooked Alley) was never any more occupied than on any other weekday,” said Adams.
When asked if the municipal parking lot at Wirt Road, Cherry Street, and Crooked Alley could be re-striped in some way to create more parking spaces in that lot, King said, “We are looking at configurations to maximize the current parking lot. This includes restriping the lot.”
The municipal parking lot at Wirt Road, Cherry Street, and Crooked Alley is often bustling with customers visiting area businesses or the city’s KidSpace facility at 630 Wirt Road.
This lot also gets a lot of use during youth baseball season.
One idea being floated to increase public parking is a proposal to demolish KidSpace and replace it with additional public parking.
When asked what the status is regarding a decision on whether or not to demolish KidSpace and put in parking spaces, King said, “This is still in the exploratory phase to determine the parking plan if KidSpace was to be torn down. Discussions are still to occur.”
He said the cost of potentially demolishing KidSpace and how many parking spaces it would create has not been determined.
King previously stated city officials would not make a decision on demolishing KidSpace until they have a firm home for the kids’ programs housed there and that no KidSpace programs would be sacrificed.
The KidSpace building 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.
King previously stated there are other cost factors to consider regarding the KidSpace building as the 68-year-old structure has leaks, needs a new roof, and the HVAC system needs to be replaced.