By Rick Palsgrove
The claw of a trackhoe demolished a 100-year-old house at 480 Main St. in Groveport on June 30
The demolition makes way for potential commercial development at the city of Groveport owned properties (480 and 490 Main St.) located on the northwest corner of Main and College streets.
The trackhoe operator quickly demolished the house and the snapping sounds of crackling, smashing, and crumbling filled the air. Items from the house’s interior that had never been exposed to the outside air were now bathed in sunlight. The inside became the outside
Over its history, the 2,048 square foot, seven room, two-story frame house served as a family home as well as the site for businesses such as Bill and Ruth’s Restaurant, Applause Four Paws dog groomers, a photography studio, and as a site for Sophie’s food truck.
Groveport resident Pat Reiter, who lived upstairs in the house with his family from 1982-89, sat nearby and watched the demolition take place.
“It’s kind of sad to see it come down,” said Reiter. “I and my family have lots of good memories of living there. We had good Christmases there. My son, when he was six-years-old, used to build forts in the attic.”
Reiter, whose family rented the home, remodeled part of the house and made repairs while living there. As he watched the trackhoe tear apart the upstairs bathroom, he saw the bathtub come tumbling down.
“I put in that nice bathtub liner,” said Reiter. “It was the biggest bathroom you ever saw. It was so big we had a freezer in it. The bathroom filled the whole upstairs back of the house.”
Reiter said he also fixed some plumbing and lighting in the house while he lived there.
“It had a great country kitchen and a beautiful corner fireplace,” said Reiter.
While he was disappointed to see the house come down, Reiter said he hopes city official will do something soon to develop the properties the city owns at 480 and 490 Main St.
“The city has a beautiful spot to develop something now,” said Reiter. “Let’s do something with it. Let’s get it done.”
He said he, like many other city residents, would like to see a diner or family style restaurant on the site.
“I love this town,” said Reiter. “Let’s build on our historic downtown!”
The old house had many lives in its 100 years that served past generations. It is gone now, but like other vanished structures in Groveport’s history, maybe something new will rise in its place for present and future generations to use and enjoy.
On April 27, Groveport City Council approved legislation to authorized the purchase of the 0.19 acre property at 480 Main St. for $150,000.
The 480 Main St. property is adjacent to 490 Main St., a 0.492 acre site that the city purchased for $250,000 in 2018. That property previously was the home of Stebe’s Sales Inc., a used car business that operated there for many years.
Groveport Development Director Jeff Green has said the purchase of 480 Main St. enhances the chances of the whole northwest corner of Main and College streets being developed and that it would “maximize the development potential of the corner and allow sufficient space for a building, space for a patio, and adequate parking. It makes a big difference having the neighboring lot.”
Groveport City Administrator B.J. King noted, “The property (480 Main St.) will be combined with the adjacent city owned property (490 Main St.), making a larger lot for commercial development. It allows for additional access points and more parking.”
Green said city officials envision the corner being developed as a mixed use, retail/restaurant/office development.
“Council views this property as a key element in the overall development of historic downtown Groveport,” said Green, who added the site will remain vacant until developed.
Main Street development timeline
For approximately the last 18 years, Groveport city officials have taken steps to re-develop the city’s historic downtown core along Main Street. The following is a timeline of what has transpired so far.
•2002 – The city bought the two former gas station properties at the northeast corner of Main and Front streets for $305,000. The city’s public works department demolished the structures.
•2004 – The city purchased the former ceramics shop and doctors’ offices at 716 and 728 Main Streets for $230,000. The buildings are demolished at a cost of $7,300.
•2005 – The city purchased properties at 651, 653, and 657 Main St. for $235,000.
•2006 – The city demolished the buildings at 651, 653, and 657 Main St. at a cost of $16,500 after it was determined it would cost $360,000 to rehabilitate the structures.
•2013 – The owners of the business at 649 Main St. purchased the 651, 653, 657 Main St. parcels from the city for $13,000 for possible expansion of their business sometime in the future. City officials indicate that currently the city has received no word on when the business owner will develop this site.
•2013 – Plans are made to build the Ace Hardware store at 726 Main St.
•2013 – The city budgeted $1 million to construct the large municipal parking lot, sidewalks, bike path, and landscaping near the Ace Hardware and the undeveloped grassy site extending from the northeast corner of Main and Front streets.
•2015 – Ace Hardware opened at 726 Main St.
•Various plans and proposals were made over the years to develop a “Groveport Town Center” project on the grassy area extending from the northeast corner of Main and Front streets, but as of yet no project for this site has been confirmed. In the mean time, the site is being used for the city’s annual summer farmers’ market.
•2018 – The city purchased the former used car lot property at 490 Main St. (the .492 acre property on the northwest corner of Main and College streets) for $250,000. Signage is erected to market the site for business development.
•2019 – The city’s contract with the owners of Ace Hardware to develop the grassy site on the northeast corner of Main and Front streets expires.
•2020 – The city purchases the property at 480 Main St. for $150,000 to expand development opportunities with the adjacent lot at 490 Main St. on the northwest corner of Main and College streets.
•2020 – In the city’s 2020 budget, council approved a Phase 1 environmental study and an architectural study for the city owned property on the northwest corner of Main and College streets at a cost of $25,000. Also in the budget, the city’s Community Improvement Corporation is slated to receive $25,000 to aid in the search for downtown business development.