More bicycle path connections and a wider Stringtown Road are two of the projects on Grove City officials' 2011 agenda.

More bicycle path connections and a wider Stringtown Road are two of the projects on Grove City officials' 2011 agenda.

Mayor Richard "Ike" Stage and city administrator Phil Honsey told The Record what city residents can expect will be discussed at council meetings and what will happen around town in the coming year.

Most of the items on the 2011 agenda aren't new, Stage and Honsey said.

"All of these are strategic. We don't just think them up," Stage said. "These are strategic evolutions. ... We looked at our infrastructure and ... talked to businesses and companies that want to locate here. ... Most of our decisions are driven by 5- or 10-year horizons."

Grove City recently received word it has preliminary approval for a $6.3-million loan and grant from the Ohio Public Works Commission. The project will widen - and add lighting, landscaping and drainage improvements - Stringtown between McDowell and Hoover roads.

"We got full funding recommended by the district, so the state will consider that early this year," Honsey said. "We think we're good for the full $6.3-million."

This project has been about 30 years in the making, Stage said.

"It probably goes back to about 1978, when it ended where the current Columbus Street goes," Stage said. "That was when we considered going all the way from Broadway to (Interstate) 71."

If funding is approved, engineering on the project should be completed in 2011 with construction likely to start by early 2012.

Another of the 2011 priorities is increasing connectivity of the city's bike paths, including along Orders, Westgrove and White roads.

The White Road path will accompany widening of White Road itself, which involves widening, grade changes, curbs and a path between Buckeye Parkway and McDowell Road.

"We put the stake in the ground, making sure that we have ... connectivity of our trails and bike paths," Stage said. "It's an amenity to the community. It makes the community safer and it is, from a green standpoint, the right thing to do."

Honsey agreed that completing the paths would make Grove City a better place to live and work.

"The reason children are not walking or biking to school is because it's not safe," Honsey said. "We can encourage the children to get out from behind the video game console and get some exercise."

Another step to making Grove City more pedestrian-friendly is increasing the amount of convenient parking and improve sidewalks in the town center.

"There's the opportunity to expand really in the entire several-block area that constitutes the town center, typically behind the buildings," Stage said.

"We would like to increase our on-street parking on Park Street - head-in parking."

Rather than planning a large parking lot expansion or building a new lot, the city plans to create spots along the curb, marked with paint and signs.

"We don't have any major parking initiatives, just making sure we use everything we have more effectively," Stage said.

Perhaps more visibly, the community will notice construction at the state Route 665 and Interstate 71 interchange, as well as a new water tower that will rise over Fryer Park.