The mayor is mystified. Richard L. "Ike" Stage said he was totally surprised that Grove City Area Chamber of Commerce officials rejected the city's offer of renovated office space in the former Huntington Bank building at 3378 Park St.

The mayor is mystified.

Richard L. "Ike" Stage said he was totally surprised that Grove City Area Chamber of Commerce officials rejected the city's offer of renovated office space in the former Huntington Bank building at 3378 Park St.

"I don't understand it," Stage said last week.

"It was strictly a business decision," is what chamber executive director Bill Diehl said.

Stage had proposed putting the chamber, Grove City Area Visitors and Convention Bureau, Southwest Franklin Historical Society and possibly the Town Center Merchants Association together under one roof in a building owned by the city. He saw it as a possible one-stop-shopping venue for visitors and business owners alike.

"It was an opportunity for the community to have a premier organization in our first revitalized building in the Town Center, with little expense to the chamber," Stage said.

The monthly rent for the chamber, in space for which the city would pick up the tab for renovation, would have been $50, according to the mayor. In addition, he said, the city would have offered assistance to the chamber in relocating from 4069 Broadway.

The mayor and City Administrator Sharon L. Reichard "proposed a very tempting proposal for us, related to the chamber, about us moving our offices over to the old Huntington building," Diehl said.

"But the chamber owns its current offices here," he added. "In the final analysis, the chamber board felt it was not in the immediate direction we wanted to go. We thought it was really a great proposal. However, we own our own building."

"At this time, we just really can't move," the chamber official said.

He hastened to add that this decision was in no way meant as a slap at city officials.

"The chamber wants to work with the city, and we're proud of our relationship with the city," Diehl said. "It was strictly a business decision."

The relocation of the Visitors and Convention Bureau from a historic former home at 4052 Broadway and the first provided space for the historical society will go ahead as planned, according to Stage.

"We're still moving and the historical society is still moving," VCB executive director James F. Hale said. "We're still a go."

The VCB and historical society moves could be accomplished as early as the first week in May, Stage said.

"We will be approaching other community organizations," he added. "We want to have it (the building) be utilized for the good of the community."

kparks@thisweeknews.com