Times of uncertainty in Grove City

By Andrea Cordle
Southwest Editor

According to Grove City Mayor Richard “Ike” Stage, the city is in a “state of flux” due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It will have a wide-ranging impact on the city,” said Stage.

The mayor said he expects to see a significant decrease in income tax for the month of May. The city will also notice a sharp decrease in its bed tax fund, which comes from local hotels. The city’s bed tax helps to fund extra-curricular city activities like the 4th of July fireworks show, the Eco Fest and Flags of Honor. The bed tax also provides funds for the Grove City Visitors Bureau as well as the Grove City Division of Police for coverage of Stringtown Road hotels.

According to Stage, most of the city’s major employers are still operating but many of the small businesses are shut down. Because of this shut down and reduction in the city’s income tax, Stage said he has asked members of the city’s administration to submit ideas to reduce the budget and tap into different revenue streams.

“We’ve had a lot of good discussions,” said Stage. “We may have to defer some capital improvement projects. There is nothing specific at this time.”

Stage said the city may have to get into its reserve or rainy-day fund.

According to the mayor, the city keeps at least four months of its expenses reserved in the rainy-day fund.

“The question is, how much do we pull from it,” said Stage.

Stage said he would like to retain at least a month’s worth of expenses in the rainy-day fund.

“I feel good about where we think we can end up,” he said.

Road projects may not be the only items that are postponed or cancelled. Some of the popular spring and summer events are also in question.

According to Stage, any event that is held at a school facility will be cancelled until the local schools open. The Big Splash usually opens on Memorial Day weekend, but that could be postponed.

“I have a hunch the Big Splash will not open on Memorial Day, but we are just not sure,” said Stage.

The mayor also said the annual fireworks show on July 4 is questionable.

Stage said city leaders will decide in May whether to postpone the Summer Sizzle Concert Series.

The Heart of Grove City hosts the Wine and Arts Festival each year in June. Andy Furr, with the organization, said he would decide later this month what do regarding the event.

The Grove City Area Chamber of Commerce is getting ready to host its 31st year of the Farmer’s Market. However, this year (at least for the spring market) things will be different.

According to Shawn Conrad, executive director of the chamber, farmer’s market shoppers will have to go to the chamber’s website or its Facebook page to find links to the vendors and the products that they sell. From there, they can select their purchases from one or more vendors then pick up the goods during the Saturday morning market.

Conrad said the chamber has worked out a traffic design with the city where people will remain in their vehicle and will enter a pick-up area on Park Street then have a volunteer bring the bagged items to their trunk.

“They can drive away – no touch – no crossing social distancing regulations,” said Conrad.

The spring market is scheduled to begin May 16 and will operate in the Grove City Town Center from 8 a.m. to noon.

“We are very excited about this market and so are our vendors; nearly every one of our well-loved vendors have agreed to participate,” said Conrad. “We are putting the final touches on the market now and full details will be coming out soon.”

For more information on the Farmer’s Market and other Grove City Area Chamber of Commerce events, visit www.gcchamber.org.

For more information on city events and happenings, visit www.grovecityohio.gov.

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