By Rick Palsgrove
With the first floor spaces of the two new Wert’s Grove and Rarey’s Port buildings on Main Street getting set to open, city of Groveport officials are now looking to fill the second floor spots of both buildings.
The two, new city owned buildings are part of the city of Groveport’s $8.5 million 1847 Main Project, which includes the 14,145 square foot Rarey’s Port (674 Main St.) building and the 12,184 square foot Wert’s Grove building (480 Main St.).
The city’s 2023 budget includes $1.1 million for the interior construction build out of the second floors of the Wert’s Grove and Rarey’s Port buildings ($550,000 for each).
Groveport City Council approved legislation to authorize City Administrator B.J. King to issue requests for qualifications and contract for the engineering, design, and estimated construction costs for the second floor spaces in both buildings.
“Hopefully after this process we can get moving so we can have something started in those spaces before the end of the year,” said Groveport Finance Director Jason Carr.
King said the second floors of these buildings were funded by tax revenue (i.e. income tax), which means the spaces cannot be directly leased to for profit companies.
“The uses must be government (which is non-profit) or other non-profit organizations,” said King. “The first floors were funded by non-tax revenue, so via the Community Investment Corporation, the spaces could be directly leased to for profit companies.”
Regarding the first floor spaces, Delaney’s Diner – a breakfast, lunch, brunch restaurant – will occupy space in the Rarey’s Port building. Little Italy Pizza, which has operated at 619 Main St. for 43 years, will move into the Wert’s Grove building. Little Italy will occupy the entire first floor of the Wert’s Grove building. Delaney’s Diner will occupy 4,958 square feet of the first floor of the Rarey’s Port building on the west end of the building, including the patio. City officials are seeking tenants for the remaining 2,059 square feet of the Rarey’s Port building’s first floor. Both businesses are expected to open by late January.
Street maintenance program
Council authorized King to solicit bids for the city’s 2023, $550,000 street paving/pavement maintenance program and $110,000 for stormwater improvements associated with the street program. A list of the streets that will receive work in 2023 is pending. Also as part of this bid, the Groveport Municipal Golf Course driveway will be repaved in 2023.
“We are not quite ready to identify the specific streets as our consultant is wrapping up a preliminary evaluation process.,” said Groveport City Engineer Steve Farst. “Each year we go through this process, before we identify the streets, assemble the design specs, and solicit bids.”
Farst said the evaluation looks at several streets that are targeted for repair/resurface, based primarily on their condition.
“The consultant takes pavement cores, examines the pavement defects, and prepares for us a recommended approach for repair/resurface and a preliminary cost. Then, with an awareness of the budget we have to work with, we build a program for our street maintenance activities that fit within the allocated budget. It would be premature to identify streets until we go through this.”
•Council approved legislation establishing Juneteenth (June 19) as a paid holiday for city employees. Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865, the date when, after the end of the Civil War, enslaved people in Galveston, Texas, finally received the news they were free. Juneteenth became a federal holiday in 2021.
•Council approved the purchase of the following equipment and vehicles: $107,000 for a rough mower and $84,000 for a greens mower for the Groveport Municipal Golf Course; $62,000 for a utility truck for the facilities maintenance department; and $240,000 for three police cruisers.
Regarding the police cruisers, Councilman Shawn Cleary suggested the city hold on to its old police cruisers until the three new ones are obtained.
“It’s hard to get specialized vehicles these days,” said Cleary.
Added Police Chief Casey Adams citing the nation’s ongoing supply chain issues, “Maintenance is also difficult because it is hard to find parts.”
•Council authorized city officials to purchase an estimated $60,000 worth of fitness equipment for the Groveport Recreation Center.
“Most of the existing equipment is several years old and beginning to show wear,” said King, who added the price could be lower as the city will trade in some of the old equipment.
When asked what type of equipment will be purchased, Groveport Recreation Director Seth Bower said, “We need a little bit of everything.”
•Groveport Investments LLC has requested a zoning variance from the city of Groveport to allow office use for mental health counseling for the property at 540 Blacklick St., which is zoned residential. The building is currently being used by an HVAC company for offices and warehousing. The variance requests states the building would be used by seven to nine counselors/administrative staff from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. for outpatient mental health treatment and group therapy. There would be no drug administration. The Groveport Planning and Zoning Commission will review the request at its Feb. 6 meeting at 6 p.m. in the municipal building, 655 Blacklick St.