Worthington News

Residents form group to help steer Worthington's development

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The future of the United Methodist Children's Home (UMCH) property will be the topic of a citizens group's meeting set for Nov. 13.

Worthington Alliance for Responsible Development (WARD) formed shortly after the proposed sale of the UMCH property was announced in September.

The purpose of the meeting is to present information to any interested community member. It will begin at 6:45 p.m. at the Griswold Center, on the northwest quadrant of the Village Green.

On the agenda is an update on WARD's activities, an overview of the city's comprehensive plan and information on the city's zoning process. A question-and-answer session will follow.

WARD was formed after residents learned that Continental Real Estate was considering purchasing the 38 acres at the children's home, with plans to build a Giant Eagle on the site.

UMCH officials called a public meeting to discuss the plans. More than 200 residents attended the Sept. 18 meeting and told Continental and UMCH they were adamantly opposed to allowing a Giant Eagle to be built on the site.

No new plans have been announced or presented to the city thus far.

Still, the 150-member WARD continues to meet, ready to be actively involved in any redevelopment plans.

"We want to contribute to the development process in a constructive, informed manner," WARD member Michael Bates said in a written statement. "As a community, we have only one chance to get this right."

Worthington residents can sign up for WARD updates by searching "WARD Worthington" on Facebook or Googlegroups.com.

UMCH is on the west side of High Street, just north of Worthington-Galena Road, across from the Worthington Municipal Building.

Two years ago, it closed its residential treatment center for troubled youth. Since then, officials have announced their desire to sell the property.

The city's comprehensive plan calls for the land to be redeveloped with a combination of commercial, office and residential uses, but without a large retail user such as Giant Eagle.

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