New ideas for Town Center

The focus of the Town Center plan is shifting.

Frank Elmer and Andy Taylor of the design firm Lincoln Street Studios, presented the updated plan at the Nov. 3 Grove City Council meeting.

Taylor said the main street approach has changed as there is not "a lot of retail opportunity" in the area. Instead they are going for a mixed-use development where people can live, work, shop and play.

Elmer said he envisions the future downtown area as something similar to the Short North, where people from all over central Ohio go for a night out or just to walk around.

"It (the Town Center) is almost a great urban neighborhood," said Elmer. "The problem is there are not enough people who live here."

Taylor outlined the Town Center’s strengths and weaknesses, along with opportunities.
He said the strengths include on and off-street parking and residents in the area earn above county average income. The weaknesses lie in the retail.

"The businesses show signs of eventual failure," said Taylor.

He said there is only about 90,000 square feet of retail space in the Town Center and merchants are spending about $250,000 a year to advertise.

Taylor also said the Grove City Library is a threat to the area because of its "inadequate facilities and limited parking." Their suggestion is to relocate the library into a larger facility that offers additional resources, parking and programs.

Though there are many problems in the revitalization effort, Taylor said there are ample opportunities. He said the Baby Boomers are ready to retire and they may be looking for a place to live, play and shop.

"The Town Center could really capitalize on that trend," said Taylor.

Elmer explained that in order to thrive, downtown Grove City needs to improve walkability and public parks. He said local parks should provide more than just green space; he suggested a human-sized chess board and a small water fountain.

Elmer said the area needs additional sidewalks, lighting, signage, trees and possibly a Broadway median. He also said new housing should be provided and suggested the trend of building homes on top of offices or retail space.

"This plan makes redevelopment that much more possible," said Elmer.

The construction cost for implementing a plan similar to this ranges from $6.9 million to $7.8 million. The estimated cost does not include land acquisition and is based on the current construction trends.

"This has been an ongoing process. It is time to start putting together the execution," said Grove City Mayor Ike Stage.

Council President Ted Berry asked Elmer and the city administration to put together an implementation strategy for council’s review. The city plans to coordinate another public meeting with Lincoln Street Studios sometime in November.

The Town Center plan is available at www.grovecityohio.gov.

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