Race for Grove City council seats shaping up
Two incumbents say they'll run; two residents throw in hats
Three Grove City council seats are up for election this November, and two current members, along with two new candidates, have announced campaigns.
On the ballot are council seats for Ward 1, currently held by Council President Ted Berry; Ward 3, held by Councilwoman Melissa Albright; and at-large, held by Councilman Steve Bennett.
Berry and Bennett both will seek re-election, but Albright said she will not seek another term.
Resident Roby Schottke will run for the at-large council seat, but he will not compete with Bennett, who will seek the Ward 3 seat. Resident Sam Clark will compete with Bennett. Schottke and Clark both are running for public office for the first time.
Schottke, a 38-year resident, retired three years ago as executive director of instruction in South-Western City Schools and is a former science teacher and principal at Grove City High School. He also is a trustee on the Grove City Visitors and Convention Bureau and member of the Grove City Rotary Club.
Schottke said as the city grows, it needs to be proactive in seeking out the right kind of developers and to look at the big picture.
"Growth is a good thing, but it can bring challenges," he said. "For the future, we really need more public input for long-range planning."
Clark, a 26-year resident, is the marketing and social media manager for the International Collision Repair Center in Columbus. He is involved with the Grove City Rotary Club, the Grove City Citizens Police Academy Alumni Association, the Grove City Lions Club and Keep Grove City Beautiful.
Clark said if elected as a council member, he wants to be the voice of the people of Grove City and to bring a fresh perspective.
"Citizens have the ultimate voice, and the citizens have great ideas of what Grove City needs," he said. "I want to look forward to the future while keeping in touch with our past."
Bennett, a city resident for 28 years, has been on council a combined 10 years: from 1995-2001 and for the past four years. He is president of the Bennett-Edgar Insurance Agency. He also is on the board of trustees for the Grove City Visitors and Convention Bureau.
Bennett said revenue remains an issue in light of recent state cuts, and new developments and community growth, such as the Town Center redevelopment and Beulah Park, need to be managed.
"There's a lot of work that needs to be done," he said. "It's an odd economic time. Fortunately, we're very healthy, but we've got to keep an eye on that."
Berry, a resident for around 15 years, is seeking his third consecutive term and has been council president for six years. He is the director of business development for Ohio State University's ATECH program at the College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. He is founder of Grove City Tomorrow and a member of the Southwest Franklin County Historical Society and other groups.
Berry said Grove City is in a "transitional stage" and needs to create an atmosphere that is business-friendly and attractive to technology-based jobs.
"It's a race to attract those empty-nesters and young professionals," he said. "We need to diversify our demographics."
Potential candidates have until Wednesday, Aug. 7, to file with the Franklin County Board of Elections. At press time, no other candidates had been announced to the This Week Grove City Record.