By Katelyn Sattler
On July 10, Obetz City Council approved the rezoning and the preliminary development plan for the new daycare in the city from suburban office and institution to planned commercial district.
Fountain of Knowledge will have a 9,300 square foot daycare facility for 170 to 180 kids on the southwest corner of Groveport and Bixby roads. The building sits on 2.5 acres and the rear of the building, with the colored windows, will face Groveport Road.
The site will have a perimeter fence to separate it from the properties to the west. The lighting plan focuses on the building lighting, not the site lighting, but the designers want to create some interest with that.
The entrance will be on Bixby Road in stead of Groveport Road as originally planned because officials were concerned about the conflicts with the entrance with Greenfield Estates, as well as potentially slowing traffic on Groveport Road.
Obetz City Engineer Mike Corbitt met with the fire department. The building is close enough to Groveport Road that from a fire emergency perspective, fire trucks can pull right up to Groveport Road and address any issues that would arise, so the fire department felt it was safe without a second entrance.
Councilman Derek Varney said, “The Fountain of Knowledge representatives have been very receptive to everything we have asked of them.”
Resident Richard Hartley had concerns about safety because his backyard is nearby and people speed on Bixby Road. He wants the police to patrol to make examples of people who speed.
Mayor Angela Kirk said the speed limit was recently changed and Councilman Robert Kramer said he thinks it will get better with a school/daycare sign.
Hartley was also concerned about sexual predators who may be living in the area.
Obetz Police Chief Mike Confer said, “It depends on what tier of offender they are, and that tier will say how far away they have to be from a school or daycare center. Once this thing gets up and moving, we’ll have to figure out who those people are and find out what tiers they are, and then we’ll have conversations.”
Hartley feared taxes would rise because of incentives offered the daycare. Obetz City Administrator Rod Davisson said, “It’s not going to cost you. This is a privately owned business. There are no incentives.”
Fountain of Knowledge has operated a daycare on Oakland Park Avenue in Columbus since November of 2020 which employs 12 people. It is full and has a waiting list. The daycare in Obetz will create 20 new jobs.
The daycare will accept Title 20, a state funded program for lower income families, as well as private pay families. They’ll start accepting applications once they’re up and running.
Kirk said, “This is something that is definitely needed in our area.”
Community Paramedic Program
Captain/Community Paramedic Wade Edwards of the Hamilton Township Fire Department thanked city of Obetz officials for helping start the Community Paramedic program six years ago.
“Some of you council members weren’t here for that, so I’ll give you an update,” said Edwards. “We started a program where we trained somebody like myself to check on elderly people, underprivileged people. It expanded to the point where Ohio Health and Mount Carmel now send requests to the fire department to go check on patients who are discharged from the hospital that they feel need assistance in some way, shape, or form. You guys were gracious enough to donate a vehicle for us to do that mission.”
He said the mission has been successful.
“About two thirds of the townships in Franklin County have such a position in place and we all network together to discuss ways to better the program,” said Edwards. “We average about 124 visits per year. And you may not think that seems like a lot, but sometimes one visit to help solve someone’s issues could take a lot of man hours. So I’ve been working with some patients for years on a lot of their struggles. Sometimes it’s an ongoing thing. So, 124 visits that we’ve touched that are in the township, about a third of those visits are in Obetz. In comparison, if you stop and think about it, Enchanted Acres is relatively elderly people, they take up about a third of the visits. So it kind of gives you some correlation on how many visits we make.”
Kirk said, “When you tried to sell the program to us, it was not a hard sell.”
Edwards will retire in September. He’ll be available one day a week from Sept. 7 until November to train his replacement.