By Sandi Latimer
With the central Ohio area anticipating 300,000 new jobs by 2050, a regional planner explained what communities have to do to be ready.
At the April 16 Grove City State of the City address, a futurist explained four scenarios to prepare for jobs, housing, education and the environment in the coming 35 years.
Yaromir Steiner, of Steiner and Associates, said one focus would be in land use, making the most of the fewest number of acres. Those four areas were treating growth the same way as in the past and using a lot of land; planning for the future; focusing on growth; and the maximum infill, which he said was not advisable because it crams people into too small of spaces.
Some 225 representatives of government, education, business and civic associations heard Steiner praise the Grove City area for its recent work at obtaining Mount Carmel Hospital, which will be growing into an inpatient facility within a few years.
The city also earned praise for the recent sale of the Grand Oaks Event and Banquet Center where the breakfast gathering was held with the new owners, the Aladdin Shriners, planning to enlarge the facility and move from northeast Columbus.
“We are growing and we must be ready for it,” said Steiner whose company has turned visions into reality by developing nearly 7.5 million square feet of mixed-use space throughout the country.
One of the needs would be in housing where Steiner said homes for single adults and childless couples would make up most of the housing needs. The 300,000 jobs would mean 500,000 residents, he said.
The growth in those two demographics would be at both ends of the age scale – young workers and the older adults nearing and past retirement age, he said.
“We could keep on the same track as we did in the past” where land use was sprawling, but homes for the future won’t necessarily be as large as in the previous 35 years, Steiner pointed out.
In the mixed-use neighborhoods would be sidewalks and paved trails that are important for people to get exercise, but also to be able to walk to and from work.
Steiner said that many people don’t have cars because they say “Uber is cheaper than my car.” He also stressed the need for partnerships to make sure the job applicants are prepared for the jobs.
To that end, Dr. Bill Wise, superintendent of South-Western City Schools spoke about the accelerated learning program where each student who graduates from the district’s schools will have earned college credit.
Grove City Mayor Richard “Ike” Stage pointed out some advances the city has made in the past year, including obtaining the city’s first car dealership. And with an eye to the future, mentioned the two electric charging stations.
He categorized the city as the largest Columbus suburb in Franklin County with a fire department that is in the top 1.5 percent in the country. The fire department that serves the city is operated through Jackson Township and it also serves the township and neighboring Urbancrest.
Work on the agenda this year includes the Ohio Department of Transportation widening I-71 from State Route 665 to State Route 315 in downtown Columbus, as well as Franklin County Metro Parks developing the Scioto Grove Metro Park.
Within the city work continues to redeveloping Town Center with housing; redevelopment 212 acres of Beulah Park with housing, commercial space and green space; extending Columbus Street west of Broadway; and building the library.