The Canal Winchester Times

Options debated for historic Groveport home

By ThisWeek Community News  • 

The future of one of Groveport's historic homes, recently purchased by the city, was debated by city council during the July 15 committee of the whole meeting.

After considerable discussion, it was decided that the city will seek a variance for a lot split so Groveport can retain control of an existing parking lot. The house and garage may be auctioned in the coming months.

"We don't want to have it set all winter and have to deal with any roof or heating issues, so we'll try and do something with it before then," City Administrator Marsha Hall said.

The home at 173 Front St. is identified only by the word "old" instead of a build date on the county auditor's property summary.

Hall said it is one of the early Groveport properties, but she said no one is certain when it was actually built.

City Finance Director Jeff Green said the city paid Southeast Mental Health $125,000 for the property.

The municipal building parking lot occupies part of the property at 173 Front St., which is what prompted the purchase when city officials found out the property was for sale.

"We've got several options regarding the house and the property around the house," Hall said. "The parking is the lot we use, so we need that. We could maintain the house -- structurally, it is OK -- but an old empty house has some cost to maintain and I don't know if we want to do that."

Councilman Ed Rarey argued that the house should be remodeled for use as meeting space, possibly for council itself.

"I think there are a number of uses we could use it for and it has been a focal point for the city for some time," Rarey said.

According to Hall, the interior of the building would require extensive renovation to meet requirements for municipal use, including making sure it meets Americans with Disabilities Act requirements.

"We've gone through it and it would have to be gutted and redone because it doesn't have any ADA access and everything is pretty well cut up," Hall said.

Councilwoman Jan Stoots suggested razing the house and extending the parking lot; however, Hall questioned whether that might change the character of the neighborhood too much.

Mayor Lance Westcamp and the other council members felt that dividing the property, which will require a variance, and ultimately attempting to sell the house as a residence, would be the best solution.

"I think we should put it out to bid and give somebody a chance to make a nice home of it," Westcamp said.

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