Grove City Council might not want to see warehouses at Beulah Park, but the city administration warns some commercial development will be necessary, to generate the new revenue the city does want to see from Beulah in the future.
At the end of its regular meeting Feb. 18, council members discussed what they want and don't want to see from the future redevelopment of the 200-plus acres comprising Beulah Park. The racetrack is being relocated by its owners, with its last race set for May 3.
One thing council members indicated they don't want to see is warehouses.
"I'm not in the mood to see any more big box warehousing down there," said Councilman Steve Bennett, who added that multiple uses would make best use of the opportunities with the large parcel. "It would probably be a good idea to consider putting a new City Hall there, where you would have multiple city services in that area."
Councilwoman Maria Klemack-McGraw said if the city pursues a community recreation center at the site, it should be done through corporate endorsements. She said she also has heard from residents who would like to see an ice rink included.
"I want to make sure we have enough green space," Klemack-McGraw said. "I'm excited about the plans that have come forward so far."
Councilwoman Laura Lanese said the city should do something historic and unique in connection the history of Beulah Park as well as something that brings in revenue.
"I don't think we need to jump into this too quickly," she said. "I'd rather see (the library and Town Center) projects going forward."
Councilman Jeff Davis said council and the administration should fashion legislation that would codify for potential developers what the city expects.
"Let's set out our expectations, then we figure out how to create what we want," he said.
Council President Ted Berry said the city has three options: purchase the property itself, wait and see or assemble options on the land, or go to developers with requests for proposals and ask for ideas within parameters. The place to start, he said, is an agreement of expectations.
"Nobody wants warehouses," he said. "Nobody wants semi traffic."
City Administrator Chuck Boso said there are a number of things that need to be looked at, including how to pay for capital improvements, recreation centers and other features.
"There's going to have to be new revenue generated to pay for this wish list," Boso said. "What type of commerce are we going to allow? That's the question we have to answer."
Boso said what happens with Beulah Park remains an "enormous discussion."
"It's going to take more discussion and in-depth conversation than we've had," he said.
Library money OK'd
In other action Feb. 18, council voted unanimously vote to appropriate $2.5 million for the Grove City Library project. As part of its agreement with Southwest Public Libraries last year, the city is buying the current library site, 3359 Park St., for $2.5 million, with that money being applied to the library's $4.5 million obligation for the project.
According to the approved ordinance, appropriating this money enables the project to move forward, including the hiring of an architect and construction management firm. Boso said negotiations for an architect are proceeding through the process under state law, adding that the selected firm is anticipated to be announced later this week.
The search committee for an architect, Boso said, reviewed 11 submitted applications before narrowing the list down to three and settling on one, which has not yet been announced.
Boso said that firm is "certainly experienced" and has participated in more than 200 library construction projects.