Tri-Village News

Grandview's 2014

Yard, parks will change along with leadership

By ThisWeek Community News  • 

Jan. 1 was truly the beginning of a new year in Grandview Heights -- with the emphasis on new.

"We have a new council with three new people coming in," Mayor Ray DeGraw said. "It's the biggest change in council we've had since at least 2004.

"We're losing three wonderful people (Steve Reynolds, P'Elizabeth Koelker and Susan Jagers) who have been a big part of guiding the city from being a distressed city to financially secure with a AAA credit rating," DeGraw said. "They will be missed."

The three people who won election in November and officially will join council next week -- Greta Kearns, Stephen Papineau and Chris Smith -- have "jumped in with their sleeves rolled up and made it their focus to keep up to date so they can hit the ground running," DeGraw said. "It will be interesting to see what new perspectives they bring to council."

The city's new Joint Economic Development Zone agreement with Clinton Township went into effect with the new year. The city will begin collecting tax revenues on behalf of the township from local businesses.

"We want to work with Clinton Township this year to see if we can come up with some economic-development ideas that will benefit both communities," DeGraw said.

As 2013 neared its end, Grandview's planning commission approved proposals for a parking garage, office building and restaurant for the southeast portion of the Grandview Yard development.

DeGraw said he expects Nationwide Realty Investors will present other development proposals for the Yard in the new year.

"I think this will be an important year for the Grandview Yard development," he said.

A number of improvement projects will continue or get started in 2014, DeGraw said.

Engineering work for improvements to Goodale Boulevard is now underway and the city will hold a community meeting in the near future to update residents on the project, he said.

"We hope to get that work done next summer," DeGraw said.

The city also has received grant money to complete improvements to traffic signals at city intersections as well as improve curbs by making them ADA-compliant, he said.

The second year of the city's four-year replacement property-tax levy will provide $250,000 in funds for street improvements, and the 2014 street improvement project will go to bid this month, with work expected to begin in the spring, DeGraw said.

Work on the Pierce Field park improvement project is wrapping up; the city will hold a dedication ceremony right after the Memorial Day parade in May, he said.

The Wyman Woods park improvement project is out to bid and work will be completed this year.

The project will include renovations to the shelter house, a new playground, improved parking lot and a storm-water system to eliminate most flooding issues, DeGraw said. There also will be an improved path system in the park and upgrades to the sledding hill.

"We'd like to try to hold the Wyman Woods dedication ceremony in October because it will be the 60th anniversary of the dedication of the park," he said. "It would be nice to tie in the new dedication with that observance."

The city's park advisory board also plans to begin a study with a consultant to look at potential improvements to the municipal pool.

The police department will continue to have as "its No. 1 priority" to make an arrest in the murder of Jennifer Cooke.

"We have people dedicated full time to that case and working with other agencies," DeGraw said. "They are committed to continue on that case until we are able to make an arrest."

The fire department will purchase a new fire engine and will update its strategic plan this year, he said.

The administration and council also will begin to review potential options for constructing a new fire house and municipal building, DeGraw said.

In the area of finance, the city will look to expand opportunities for residents to enroll, register and pay for city programs online, he said.

"More and more people are doing a lot more online," DeGraw said.

A part-time position will be added to the building department to assist with code-enforcement work, he said.

"We want to have a stronger focus on code enforcement, and having this extra person will help with that," DeGraw said.

The village of Marble Cliff is looking forward to the completion of renovations to the 1400 Dublin Road and 2299 Cardigan Ave. site by the property's new owner, Mayor Kent Studebaker said.

"We're especially excited about that because it will make that property a prominent piece of our business community once again," he said.

The property's new owner, Brad DeHays, plans to move his companies, Mid-Ohio Contractor Services and Connect Realty, into the front building at 1400 Dublin Road.

Rock Solid Academy, a cheerleading and gymnastics school, has moved into the rear building on Cardigan Avenue.

"Once the renovations are done, we expected that all space in the buildings will be leased," Studebaker said.

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