The new Meijer store that anchors a major retail development on Diley Road will open its doors to the public April 30.

The new Meijer store that anchors a major retail development on Diley Road will open its doors to the public April 30.

Meijer administrative assistant Valerie Cocke told Canal Winchester Village Council Monday that the "soft opening" will include a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 6:30 a.m. The store's official grand opening is scheduled for May 4, she said.

The opening culminates nearly 18 months of preparation and construction. Village council agreed in September 2006 to approve Meijer's final development plans for a 207,364-square-foot store and the design rules for the 12 businesses that will eventually surround it.

The boundaries for the 55-acre site are Diley Round, Hill Road and Kings Crossing. The land was originally earmarked for offices.

Meijer real estate manager Roger DeHoek told council at the time that 12 outlots at the site would be sold and used for banks, restaurants, a gas station and possibly a hotel.

Mayor Mike Ebert said Monday he expects the new store to draw a lot of attention, not only from Canal Winchester residents but from Pickerington residents as well. He also said he thinks residents are anxious to see development in the lots adjacent to the new Meijer store.

After the meeting, Councilman Victor Paini said he cast the sole vote against the Meijer store when it was being planned more than two years ago, but he still intends to shop there.

"It looks like they built a nice product and I think the people in the neighborhood will like it," Paini said.

He consistently said during the planning stages that he thought the store was wrong for the site, although he liked its design and believed the company worked hard to meet village demands.

The store is located at 8300 Meijer Drive off Diley Road.

In other business Monday, council approved spending $41,260 for a new John Deere mower from JD Equipment Inc. The 11-foot mower will be used in addition to the two five-foot mowers the village already owns, said Councilwoman Leah Turner.

Councilman Bruce Jarvis reported that negotiations are expected to be completed by the end of the week for the village to obtain ownership of 11 square feet of the Interurban building on West Columbus. That portion of the building is still owned by iBeam Solutions Inc., he said.

The village has applied for a $25,000 grant from the Ohio Heritage Society that would be used to pay for renovations to the Interurban, but without full ownership, Jarvis said there is little Canal Winchester can do to the building.

"We can't even put a roof on it," he said.

Council heard the first reading of an ordinance naming 48.14 acres of at the intersection of Dietz Road and Washington as James H. Kelley Park. Kelley was a foreman for the village street department. He died in a house fire Dec. 1, 2007.

ebrooks@thisweeknews.com