Grove City leaders are planning to use TIF money to buy parkland in the Pinnacle development area.
On Monday, Dec. 2, Grove City Council held its first reading of an ordinance that would authorize the purchase of 33.95 acres from M/I Homes to develop into park space. The second reading and vote is scheduled for the next council meeting, Monday, Dec. 16.
Grove City Parks and Recreation Director Kim Conrad said the city conducted an update of its comprehensive plan for parks in 2011and identified the Pinnacle/Creekside area as being in need of more park space.
"This will help take care of that," Conrad said.
The cost of the land is $2 million. The city will pay $500,000 with money from the Pinnacle Tax Increment Equivalent Fund (TIF) and deliver a "special revenue obligation promissory note" that will cover the remaining $1.5 million in installments payable on March 1, 2015; April 1, 2015; and March 1, 2016.
"The Pinnacle TIF didn't have the revenue to finance it all at once," said City Administrator Chuck Boso.
Boso said a companion ordinance to purchase an additional 7 acres of land also will be presented to council shortly, possibly even the next meeting, which at the same rate of the other 33 acres, will amount to an additional $406,000.
The cost amounts to about $58,000 per acre.
Councilman Steve Bennett said he has some concerns about spending that much money for parkland and establishing a precedent.
"I'm not saying it's not a good idea," he said. "(But) we are establishing something radical with that price tag."
Conrad said there currently is no plan for what type of features or programming the new park would have.
"It hasn't gotten that far," she said.
Conrad said M/I Homes originally included a concept plan of what might fit in the space, including a disc golf course, community gardens and other more passive activities, but nothing has been determined yet.
Council President Ted Berry said the park would need to be made accessible to the public with at least a road and shelter house.
"The worst thing to do would be to pay for a park and then not have a park," he said.
In the original Pinnacle development agreement approved in 2003, Grove City had an option between Jan. 1, 2007 and Dec. 31, 2008, to purchase 10 acres at cost of $950,000, or $95,000 per acre.
However, according to the proposed ordinance, the city declined that option with the intention to pursue the acquisition of a larger parcel for parkland.