By Linda Dillman
Glenn Ferrone was first shocked and then ecstatic to learn Eastside Athletics passed the first hurdle in building a new athletic center in Canal Winchester.
Arriving late to the March 2 Canal Winchester City Council meeting, Ferrone initially thought council turned down the organization’s request to rezone donated land from limited density residential to commercial. When he learned the vote was in his favor, a large smile crept across his face.
“We are hitting the ground running,” said Ferrone of Eastside Athletics after council President Rick Deeds told him the 3.1 acre parcel was now zoned general commercial. “We already have bids for soil testing, we have an architect ready to draw plans and the building’s been ordered.”
Ferrone, a local volleyball coach for 30 years, requested the rezoning in order to construct a 19,200-square-foot multi-sport indoor training facility. The property is located on flood plain land along Groveport Road that has been filled in over the years by its owner, Richard Stebelton, who is donating the tract to Eastside Athletics.
Plans for the facility include four indoor volleyball courts and four smaller-scale basketball courts, plus space for other indoor sports.
Land abutting the parcel to the east is owned by Waste Management and zoned general commercial. According to the city’s zoning code, a recreational use is allowed in general commercial zoning with a conditional use approval.
Kate Larrimer was one of Eastside Athletics first players eight years ago when the organization started with one team and eight girls. Today, there are 160 players comprising 17 teams and Larrimer is the organization’s tournament coordinator.
“It’s super exciting,” said Larrimer of the proposed facility. “Players will have a dedicated place to practice and have a place to hold tournaments instead of going to OSU, which is the nearest place.”
According to volunteer Fred Kreutz—who is serving as construction manager—under the best-case scenario, the athletic facility could be up and running as early as the end of summer.