Grove City experienced economic growth, proposals for its future, callbacks to its past and shocking crimes in 2013. A review of the year from the pages of the ThisWeek Grove City Record turned up the following top city and township news stories:
Grove City aims to give its Town Center a "shot in the arm" with ongoing plans for economic redevelopment.
As part of a proposal from the Columbus-based development firm the Pizzuti Cos., Grove City and Southwest Public Libraries have partnered to build a new Grove City Library.
Under the terms of the agreement between the city and SPL, approved in May, the Grove City library will relocate from 3359 Park St. to the intersection of Broadway and Grant Avenue. The project is estimated to cost $14 million, with the new 48,000-square-foot building itself and all its furnishings and equipment being $10.8 million and the remaining $3.2 million being used for land acquisition, parking, demolition and other costs.
The library will contribute a total of $2 million upfront for the project. In addition, when the library has relocated, Southwest Public Libraries will deed its existing Park Street property to the city, the appraised value of which is $2.5 million. Though not yet settled, the Park Street properly likely will house a new Grove City Hall building.
The city will issue 30-year bonds to cover the remaining balance, and the city and the library will split the cost of the debt service, each paying $265,0878 annually. The city will lease the site to the library for 30 years and deed the property to the library at the end.
As part of the aspect of the Pizzuti proposal, Grove City Council approved in September a proposal by Pizzuti to repurpose the existing City Hall building at 4035 Broadway for restaurant and office space and add four, three-story, multifamily buildings on the parking lot at its rear to house 120 one- and two-bedroom apartments. Talks are currently ongoing between the city and Pizzuti for an economic development agreement. This differs from the original concept approved by council in December 2012. Originally, four multi-family residential buildings were to be built at Broadway and Columbus Street, but the cost of buying the property escalated beyond what Pizzuti found "appropriate," among other factors for the decision.
Construction continued throughout the year on Mount Carmel Health System's new 36,775-square-foot emergency care center and 68,215-square-foot medical office building at 5525 Hoover Road, which broke ground in September 2012 and is expected to open early next year.
As part of its development agreement with Mount Carmel, the city agreed to expand North Meadows Drive from its current intersection at state Route 665 to the intersection of Hoover and Holton road.
In July, Mount Carmel announced the appointment Chellee Hamilton director of the new facility and named Dr. Jarrod Williams medical director. Hamilton will be in charge operations, administration and business strategy while Williams will be in charge of the medical staff.
The Mount Carmel site attracted more intrigue in September when it was reported Mount Carmel was considering relocating the Mount Carmel West in-patient hospital there from Franklinton. Mount Carmel's 2012 approved rezoning calls for a multi-phased development of its Grove City site, but Mount Carmel representatives say when those phases go forward and what they will entail has yet to be determined. On Aug. 6, the Grove City Planning Commission approved a lot split for the Mount Carmel site, dividing about 93 acres into three lots: 22.9 acres, 47 acres and 23.5 acres. Representatives from Mount Carmel said the move was made keep as much flexibility on the site as possible.
Grove City will have its first new car dealership since the 1970s after City Council approved a special-use permit on Sept. 3, granting Byers Auto permission to build a dealership on North Meadows Drive, near London-Groveport Road and its new Interstate 71 interchange.
The project, according to the application to the city's development department, will have a two-story structure of about 33,000 square feet for a showroom, service department, body shop and offices and parking for 387 vehicles.
Developers have said they plan for future development on the site to include two more dealerships as well as two office buildings.
Ground was broken Dec. 12, for a new "green" industrial park and recycling facility that will tap into the solid waste stream flowing into to the Franklin County Sanitary Landfill.
Florida-based sustainable design and development company Team Gemini is leasing land from SWACO around the landfill near the intersection of state Route 665 and Interstate 71 to build the Gemini Synergy Center (GSC), a 365-acre commercial and industrial complex, and the Center for Resource Recovering and Recycling (COR3), a 290,000 square-foot facility designed to take usable material out of the waste stream to provide raw material and power for the industrial park.
The ambitious project is designed to extract about a quarter of the waste now headed to the landfill for reuse. The COR3 is projected to be finished by 2016, the GSC by 2017.
New fire station
Plans for a fourth fire station in the community began to come to fruition in 2013, although delays frustrated the project. On Jan. 29, ground officially was broken on the site of the new Jackson Township Fire Station 204 at 4900 Buckeye Parkway. It is the first fire station the township has built since 1978.
Originally, the fire station was intended to open by Sept. 11, but a number of delays in the construction have pushed completion back to a tentative date in January.
Little League return
After a 35-year absence, Little League Baseball returned to Grove City on May 4, with a ceremony at Windsor Park's Barry Babbert Memorial Field, newly formed league teams lining up on the field for a procession.
The Grove City Little League board of directors also launched a fundraising campaign to build a Dream Field at Windsor Park, to be accessible and usable for children and adults with disabilities.
In July, Grove City's Little League North Team finished third in the Ohio District 6 All-Star Tournament in New Albany.
Council President Ted Berry and Councilman Steve Bennett held off challenges from residents Gary Haughn and Sam Clark respectively while Laura Lanese defeated fellow first-time candidate Roby Schottke for the at-large seat. Councilwoman Melissa Albright did not seek re-election.
Jackson Township Board of Trustee Chair David Burris and Trustee Jim Rauck were re-elected unopposed.
For his Eagle Scout project, Brandon Weber of Boy Scout Troop 136 saw to the construction and dedication of the Master Sgt. Shawn T. Hannon Battle Cross Memorial at Henceroth Park.
The bronze statue commemorates Hannon, a Grove City resident who was among three central Ohio soldiers killed by a suicide bomber April 4, 2012, in Afghanistan.The memorial was dedicated on Nov. 9.
New chamber director
Shawn Conrad became executive director of the Grove City Area Chamber of Commerce on Sept. 30, filling the vacancy left by previous director Bill Diehl, who retired earlier in the year. Previously, Conrad , a 13-year resident of Grove City , worked as director of Prison Fellowship Ministries covering Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio.
After two postponements and a split vote on Nov. 18, Grove City entered into a Joint Economic Development District agreement with neighbors Scioto Township and the Village of Commercial Point.
Council first discussed the JEDD at a meeting in June. Under the terms of a JEDD, a city administrates and imposes its income tax rate to a designated area within a township, which lacks the power to impose an income tax. City officials project receiving $100,000 annually from Grove City's share -- 10 percent of the income. Scioto Township will receive 88 percent, and the Commercial Point will get 2 percent. The land designated for this JEDD is located in Scioto Township and Commercial Point and includes 1,319 acres of state land in Scioto Township, near state Route 762 where two state prisons are located.
Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction Workers at those facilities who previously did not pay a local income tax are now subject to Grove City's 2 percent income tax.
* On Jan. 22, council approved a three-year contract with the Fraternal Order of Police, Capital City Lodge No. 9, the union that represents the officers of the Grove City Police Division. Under the terms of the contract, the officers will receive wage increases of 2.75 percent in 2013, 2014 and 2015, increases that will total around $1 million.
* Council approved on Aug. 5 a three-year contract with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 116, Ohio Council 8, AFL-CIO, which covers 21 city employees who work in maintenance, service and clerical positions. Under the agreement, these employees will see pay raises of 2.5 percent this year, 1 percent next year and 1 percent in 2015, total of increases of $135,000.
* Grove City and Jackson Township will continue their long-running dispatching and communications service agreement.
Under terms of the agreement, Grove City will continue to provide dispatcher services to the Jackson Township Fire Department. The cost will remain at its current annual rate, $159,000, for the calendar year 2014, and will increase by 6 percent, or $9,540 more, for a cost of $168,540 in 2015 and 2016.
Jackson Township has contracted dispatcher services from Grove City since 1986.
* Jaiden Dixon, 9, was shot in his home, 2716 Independence Way, early in the morning on Nov. 22, by Danny Thornton, 47, his mother's ex-boyfriend, and died the next day at Nationwide Children's Hospital. Jaiden was a fourth-grade student at Monterey Elementary School in Grove City.
That was the beginning of a shooting rampage by Thornton, who then went to the dental office in southeast Columbus, where he shot another ex-girlfriend. She was taken to OhioHealth Grant Medical Center in critical condition but survived. Thornton himself was killed the same day during a shootout with Columbus police officers at Easton Walmart at 3900 Morse Road. One officer was wounded in the process.
A online memorial fund for Jaiden was setup at youcaring.com/memorial-fundraiser/jaiden-dixon-memorial-fund/109964.
* Hilliard resident and active Grove City business community member Terri Menendez, 44, was found dead in her home April 1. Her son, Tyler J. Dunkle, 22, was indicted April 22, for her murder, which is believed to have occurred March 29. A financial advisor with Edward Jones, Menendez worked at the firm's Grove City office and participated in a number of community events, including the Arts in the Alley Music and Arts Festival.
* Joseph E. Steward, 45, of South Central Avenue in Columbus, was arrested on Oct. 17, in Toledo and charged with impersonating a police officer to solicit charitable donations from businesses, including several in Grove City. Investigators estimate Steward had been operating at least a year throughout several Ohio counties.