Acting as Grove City Council members, five high school students unanimously agreed the lumberyard site behind City Hall should be developed into a park.

Acting as Grove City Council members, five high school students unanimously agreed the lumberyard site behind City Hall should be developed into a park.

The five area high school students made the decision during a caucus session before a mock city council meeting on May 21.

More than 40 students from Central Crossing, Grove City Christian and Grove City high schools participated in student government day last Friday.

The students followed city and Jackson Township officials to get a glimpse of work as a public employee. They toured the Mid-Ohio Foodbank facility and ended the day with a mock city council meeting.

Real city council members Steve Bennett and Ted Berry mentored the five mock council members before and during the meeting.

Bennett said he gave the students an overview of the issues facing the city. Two of them were the development of the lumberyard site and the concept of a what city officials have called the "center of learning."

The lumberyard site is a more than 3.5-acre, triangular piece of city-owned land behind City Hall that has sat unused for several years.

The real city council and mayor Richard "Ike" Stage have discussed many uses for the land. In February, council agreed to terminate the most recent plan to invest nearly $10-million in the lumberyard site.

The five high school city council members said a park would better suit the lumberyard site.

Bennett said he gave an unbiased overview to the students. The students confirmed his statement.

"He wasn't trying to persuade us," said Kim Morgason, a senior at Central Crossing High.

Morgason acted as the council clerk May 21.

Hannah Dry, also a Central Crossing High senior, said a park would be "cute" at the lumberyard site. She acted as the council president.

Taylor Mullins, also of Central Crossing, said she would bring her dog to the park. She said a park would be better at the site, "because a big building wouldn't look right."

Furthermore, "A park is so much cheaper," said Erica Townley, a senior at Grove City High.

During their meeting, the mock council members passed several pieces of legislation that the real council passed weeks ago.

Other seniors attended the meeting to present various department reports, as dictated by their real-life counterparts.

Grove City High senior Chuck Winkler, who acted as the city's community relations officer, told the council that the city's Balloons and Tunes event will be held later this summer and plans are running at "full speed."

Matthew Warner, a senior at Grove City High acting as mayor, asked Winkler if he could guarantee suitable weather conditions and wind direction.

"Of course," Winkler replied without hesitation.

Central Crossing High senior Zach Ruff acted as the finance director. He told council he had no report.

"Do we have any money?" Dry asked.

"Yes, we do," Ruff said.

Dry asked how much, but Ruff didn't answer. Warner chimed in. He said the city had about $20-million.

"Sweet," Dry said.