By Rick Palsgrove
Moose Lodge 1245 wants to move from Columbus to Groveport.
This local chapter of the Moose fraternal organization – whose stated mission promotes community service and family as well as helping children and seniors – formed in the early 1970s and had been located on Noe-Bixby Road in Columbus.
Moose Lodge 1245 is in talks to purchase the approximately 3,000 square foot building located at 220 Main St. behind the Dairy Queen in Groveport. The building was formerly a pharmacy and recently has been used as a church.
“I grew up in Groveport and am a 1973 graduate of Groveport Madison High School,” said Dennis Smith, governor of Moose Lodge 1245. “We want to move to Groveport because it is a small, friendly community. Groveport is a good fit for us and the community service projects we like to do. We’re also looking to revitalize our membership with younger people and an excellent community like Groveport is a good place to do this.”
Smith said the building at 220 Main St. “looks like a Moose Lodge.”
“We like the simplicity of the building and its location,” said Smith.
According to Smith, Moose Lodge 1245 has about 700 members, of which about 400 are men and 300 are women.
“However, about 200 of these members live out of state and another 75 or so are elderly and not as active with the group,” said Smith.
As part of the move to Groveport, Moose Lodge 1245 is pursuing transferring its liquor permit to Groveport so the organization can serve beer, wine and liquor to Moose Lodge 1245 members only. To do so, the Lodge is seeking to place a liquor option on the Nov. 4 ballot for Precinct A in Groveport.
“The alcohol would be for our members only and their qualified guests. In order for guests to be served, the alcohol must be purchased by a Moose member. We would not be operating like a bar,” said Smith. “Being served alcohol at our Lodge is a privilege, not a right, for our members. No one is allowed to abuse that privilege.”
Groveport Law Director Kevin Shannon notified Groveport City Council on June 23 that, if council opposes the proposed liquor permit for the Lodge, council must request a hearing to state its opposition. Council members did not request a hearing.
“Moose Lodges do charity work and community service and it’s a private club where you must be a member to drink there,” said Councilman Ed Dildine, who did not see a problem with the Moose Lodge’s request.
Councilman Ed Rarey opposed the idea of Moose Lodge 1245 moving in stating it could cause traffic and parking problems in a residential area.
Groveport Police Chief Ralph Portier said most fraternal organizations are located in or near residential areas.
“My experience in these situations is that it is not a problem. A liquor license is only for certain hours and the Lodge is not open to the public. If and when it is approved, we (the police) will monitor the situation, but I don’t see a problem,” said Portier. “Plus, I believe this Lodge has several members from Groveport.”
Groveport Building Official Stephen Moore said, if Moose Lodge 1245 purchases the building, the Lodge would still have to go through the city’s planning and zoning commission because the organization would need a use variance since the building is currently used as a church.
Shannon said city council would have to approve such a variance and ensure the Lodge meets building codes. He also said the parking situation at the building would have to be reviewed.
Smith said there is “about an acre” of open ground behind the building that could be used to expand the parking area.
If all goes as planned, Smith said the Lodge hopes to become operational at the Groveport site by mid-December.
Smith said Moose Lodge 1245 wants to be fully involved in the community.
“We plan to do things like hold safety events for children as well as holiday parties for the kids,” said Smith. “We would also hold activities for seniors as well.”
Smith said the Lodge would be a good source of community volunteers.
“We would also provide volunteers to help the city with its festivals,” said Smith. “Anything the city needs, we’ll be there to help. We’re here for the asking. We want to have a long lasting relationship with Groveport and move forward together with the city.”
For information on Moose Lodge 1245, call Smith at (614) 256-2955 or visit www.mooseintl.org.