By Rick Palsgrove
Mayor Lance Westcamp wants to see action as Groveport city officials continue to work on commercially developing vacant parcels of land along Main Street in the city’s historic core.
“I’m leading the charge,” said Westcamp.
According to Groveport Development Director Jeff Green, the city’s contract with the owners of Ace Hardware to develop the grassy site on the northeast corner of Main and Front streets has ended.
“The contract has expired and we are now looking at alternatives,” said Green. “We will likely have to modify the existing lease to separate the Ace site from the remaining property. This means the city will take over marketing and development of the site. There is no timetable yet (for the development of this site.)”
Added Westcamp, “We need to get it changed to separate the property from the Ace Hardware site. The city of Groveport has to step to the plate and develop this site ourselves.”
Until the site at Main and Front streets is developed, Green said the city will continue to use it for city events like “the Farmer’s Market, First Tuesday, etc.”
When asked about the current prospects and timetable for the development of the vacant former used car lot site at 490 Main St. (northwest corner of Main and College streets), Green said, “We are currently exploring a couple different options for the site. We are working with a company to develop conceptual elevations for a mix-use building along with cost estimates. It’s too preliminary to provide much more information.”
In 2018, the city of Groveport purchased the property at 490 Main St., which previously was the home of Stebe’s Sales Inc., a used car business that operated there for many years. Groveport City Council approved contracting to buy the .492 acre property for $250,000.
“There’s a lot of ideas for this former used car lot site,” said Westcamp. “But the relatively small size of the lot is a factor. I agreed with council’s decision to purchase this site and whatever is developed there is ultimately council’s decision.”
Until the site at Main and College streets is developed, Green said the city has no definite uses planned for the site.
In the city’s 2020 budget, council approved a Phase 1 environmental study and an architectural study for the city owned property on the northwest corner of Main and College streets at a cost of $25,000. Also in the budget, the city’s Community Improvement Corporation (CIC) is slated to receive $25,000 to aid in the search for downtown business development.
Regarding the small vacant parcel next to and owned by the Groveport-Canal Animal Hospital on Main Street, Green said currently the city has received no word on when the Groveport-Canal Animal Hospital will develop this site.
Main Street development timeline
For approximately the last 18 years, Groveport city officials have taken steps to re-develop the city’s historic downtown core along Main Street. The following is a timeline of what has transpired so far.
•2002 – The city bought the two former gas station properties at the northeast corner of Main and Front streets for $305,000. The city’s public works department demolished the structures.
•2004 – The city purchased the former ceramics shop and doctors’ offices at 716 and 728 Main Streets for $230,000. The buildings are demolished at a cost of $7,300.
•2005 – The city purchased properties at 651, 653, and 657 Main St. for $235,000.
•2006 – The city demolished the buildings at 651,653, and 657 Main St. at a cost of $16,500 after it was determined it would cost $360,000 to rehabilitate the structures.
•2013 – The owners of the business at 649 Main St. purchase the 651, 653, 657 Main St. parcels from the city for $13,000 for possible expansion of their business sometime in the future.
•2013 – Plans are made to build the Ace Hardware store at 726 Main St.
•2013 – The city budgeted $1 million to construct the large municipal parking lot, sidewalks, bike path, and landscaping near the Ace Hardware and the undeveloped grassy site extending from the northeast corner of Main and Front streets.
•2015 – Ace Hardware opened at 726 Main St.
•Various plans and proposals were made over the years to develop a “Groveport Town Center” project on the grassy area extending from the northeast corner of Main and Front streets, but as of yet no project for this site has been confirmed. In the mean time, the site is being used for the city’s annual summer farmers’ market.
•2018 – The city purchased the former used car lot property at 490 Main St. (the .492 acre property on the northwest corner of Main and College streets) for $250,000.
•2019 – The city’s contract with the owners of Ace Hardware to develop the grassy site on the northeast corner of Main and Front streets expires.