By Andrea Cordle
Grove City Editor
Often, Franco Romuno will stop by Scioto Grove Metro Park for a walk after his work shift at the Buckeye Ranch in Grove City. He decided to go for a hike on Aug. 15, the same day Franklin County Metro Parks had opened a fire tower for public use.
Romuno, along with Zach Lamb of Commercial Point, waited their turn to climb the tower.
“The view is spectacular,” said Romuno.
Romuno and Lamb said you could see the downtown Columbus skyline from the top of the tower, as well as Scioto Downs.
“It is a fantastic vibe,” said Romuno. “It’s a different perspective.”
Tim Moloney, the executive director of Franklin County Metro Parks, spoke to the crowd of eager climbers as the fire tower opened to the public. He said Scioto Grove, a 624-acre park, opened in Grove City seven years ago. When the staff at Metro Parks was approached about receiving a decommissioned fire tower, known as the Keystone Fire Lookout from Jackson, Ohio, Moloney said they knew they wanted to put it at Scioto Grove.
“We are not watching for forest fires,” said Moloney. “We want people to see this corridor.”
The decommissioned fire tower was donated by an anonymous private landowner. Metro Parks contracted with Jagger Construction to dismantle and relocate the fire tower from Jackson to Scioto Grove Metro Park.
According to Jill Snyder, visitor engagement manager with Metro Parks, the tower is 82-feet-tall. She said it will be open during daylight hours.
“We are going to rely on people to self-police,” said Snyder.
Snyder said five to six people will be permitted to climb the tower at one time.
One of the first to climb the fire tower was Grove City Mayor Richard “Ike” Stage. Before he and Moloney made their way to the top after the official opening, Stage praised the partnership between the city and Metro Parks.
“We can’t do it alone,” said Stage. “And what a remarkable thing.”
Members of the Grove City High School cross country team were also on hand to climb the tower after it opened.
Angela and Michael Robinson of Columbus waited in line to make their way to the top of the tower. The couple climbed the tower because they are participating in the Metro Parks 75 Year Challenge.
The challenge recognizes the opening of the first park, Blacklick Woods Metro Park, 75 years ago. It invites visitors to enjoy classic Metro Parks pursuits, like visiting a playground or going on a picnic, and to try new, modern adventures like archery or kayaking.
Participants can download the Metro Parks 75 Year Challenge activities card. Then between July 1 and Oct. 1, participants complete as many activities as possible.
“We’ve been waiting to climb this,” said Angela Robinson. “It’s very pretty at the top.”
Michael said he counted his steps to the top and reported that it equaled 111 steps.
Scioto Grove Metro Park runs along the Scioto River, featuring over seven miles of trails, playgrounds, a 3D archery course, several overlook decks and more. It is located at 5172 Jackson Pike.
For more information, visit metroparks.net