An ad hoc committee formed to address development issues in older portions of Pataskala is trying to determine the boundaries of three areas to be studied this summer.

An ad hoc committee formed to address development issues in older portions of Pataskala is trying to determine the boundaries of three areas to be studied this summer.

"Our first step is to define the study area," city planner Dianne Harris said.

The committee met for the first time June 23. During their second meeting July 23, members looked at pictures of the study areas and tried to determine how much territory to study.

The group's primary focus is on Summit Station, Columbia Center, the Blanche addition off Broad Street and the older portion of the village on Main Street.

City administrator Timothy Boland said the group could define issues in each area and offer solutions to problems. Then the city could seek grant money and talk to business owners about fixing the issues and improving each area.

During last week's meeting, three of the four members agreed to combine the Blanche addition with Columbia Center, having the area run from Mink Street at Broad Street, east to Columbia Center Road and the corridor in between.

The old village center, which includes properties along Main Street (state Route 310), was widened to the north to include the Pataskala Square shopping center, north of Broad Street.

The Summit Station area was widened to include land on Cleveland Road and land south of Broad Street and west to Taylor Road.

Marilyn Curtis, a local business owner, said it's important to include residential and commercial districts in the study. She said she hopes each area could retain its unique characteristics.

Boland agreed.

"I think I would be somewhat disappointed if we came up with the same three solutions for the three different areas," he said.

Committee member Bill Wright questioned the size of the study areas and asked if the committee could complete a study of such a large area.

Wright said until funding is available to complete recommendations in a study, he sees no point in trying to move forward. He referenced the city's financial struggle to keep parks operating and mentioned a previous study of Pataskala's old village center, completed by the Pataskala Area Chamber of Commerce. Wright said the chamber had money to do the study, but money wasn't available to support improvements.

Committee member Rob Bigler, who also remembered the chamber's study, agreed.

"They gave us a report and no one did anything with it," he said.

Harris suggested the group use the chamber's study information and build on that. She suggested putting together a vision for the three areas that might not be completed right away but could be used for future reference. Planning tools often are created for projections for five to 15 years.

Curtis said even if a few projects could be done, they would improve the area.

"Anything's better than nothing," she said.

Boland said without putting together a study and recommendations for the areas, it would be impossible for the city to obtain grant money to complete any of the projects.

Boland said he's been involved with several studies that have been funded and others that haven't. He said it's disappointing to do a lot of work and not see some of your recommendations completed, but the study has to come first.

"If we never do it, Bill (Wright), we'll never know," he said.

Curtis and Bigler said they're willing to do the work even if they are only creating a vision.

"We may never benefit from this," Curtis said, saying future residents might be the benefactors. "But we need to put the time in to do this now for the future."

She said Pataskala is a large area with different districts that seem spread out and far apart.

"I hope what we're doing can pull all these areas together," she said.

Curtis, Wright, Bigler and Melissa Binns were the only four committee members present. Bigler said Jack and Judy Cruikshank could serve as advisers but might not have time to meet twice monthly.

Wright questioned whether he could stay involved because of time commitments. Matt Moore and Jill Steigertwald were the other two committee members who could not attend the meeting.

The committee agreed to begin meeting on the second and fourth Thursdays of the month at Pataskala City Hall. The group will plan to arrive at 5:30 p.m. to prepare for the meeting and convene at 6 p.m.

The group's next meeting is slated for 6 p.m. Thursday, July 31.

Pataskala Mayor Steve Butcher first suggested the idea to council in January, and the committee was appointed June 2.