While Grove City plans to spend from $100,000 to $200,000 this year to maintain its current radio system, the city also is examining if it would be feasible to share a radio system with other entities or municipalities.

While Grove City plans to spend from $100,000 to $200,000 this year to maintain its current radio system, the city also is examining if it would be feasible to share a radio system with other entities or municipalities.

Grove City has joined a committee with Franklin County, Columbus and Ohio State University to discuss joint radio system use.

While the city could benefit from a joint radio system, it needs to look into how that would be organized and managed, city safety director Mike Wasylik said. The city is at least two years away from making a decision.

"We want to be an important player in the process," he said.

Grove City's current system is nearing the end of its usefulness, said Police Chief Steve Robinette. The radio console is eight or nine years old, while the overall 800 megahertz system is more than 20 years old.

The system is used by the city's dispatch center, public service and parks and recreation departments, city building inspectors, city police and Jackson and Prairie townships' fire departments. Systemwide, the city has several hundred radios.

Grove City's current analog system has spotty coverage north of Interstate 270, Wasylik said. The system's coverage doesn't extend south of the Franklin County line.

The analog system also poses other problems. Digital systems penetrate building walls much better than analog systems do, Robinette said. Communication has become more difficult in the city since more hospitals and jails have been built with additional steel for security.

The radio systems used by the city of Columbus, Franklin County and the Ohio State University are all analog systems, Franklin County commissioners spokesperson Scott Varner said. The committee of Franklin County, Columbus and OSU will discuss the benefits and costs associated with switching to digital systems.

The group will use grant funds to hire an outside consultant to analyze radio service coordination opportunities and digital conversion.

In August 2011, Grove City spent $17,000 on a study and cost analysis on its radio system needs. Options explored included retaining the current system (an estimated $88,382 cost); updating or replacing the current system but retaining complete local ownership ($2,036,757); joining forces with the Columbus or Franklin County systems ($2,012,826) or joining forces with the state of Ohio system ($2,012,826).