Chamber or no, it's a go.

Chamber or no, it's a go.

Although Grove City Area Chamber of Commerce officials once again last week failed to say yea or nay to a proposed move to the city-owned Huntington Bank Building at 3378 Park St., Mayor Richard L. "Ike" Stage said that he feels enough council members support his proposal for renovating the structure and offering five-year leases to various community groups and organizations.

Council members are scheduled to give a second and final reading at their April 6 meeting to spending as much as $160,000 on the renovations and entering into lease agreements with the Grove City Area Visitors and Convention Bureau, Southwest Franklin County Historical Society, Grove City Town Center Inc. and Grove City Area Community Improvement Corp.

The leases would run for five years and the monthly rental fee would be $50.

The chamber was included on the list of possible tenants during the first reading March 16, but the status of the move for the business organization remains up in the air, according to the not-for-profit organization's president, John Dunn.

"The decision is still on the table," he said last week. "Nothing has been firmly resolved."

The mayor expressed some mystification at how long it's taking chamber officials to come to some conclusion, particularly since he thought the decision to relocate from 4069 Broadway to the former bank had already been made.

Dunn could not offer a timetable for the chamber's eventual determination of what's in its best interests in terms of going or staying. He said he appreciated the city's effort to create "synergy" by having these various entities operating together under one roof, and in freshly renovated space, but other factors have to be considered.

Dunn pointed out that the chamber owns the former house in which its office is located.

He added that he's not certain when the chamber would reap any benefits from giving up its independently owned headquarters to move into a city-owned structure.

"We really don't know if we're doing our members a favor," Dunn said. "There are definitely a few who have very strong opinions."

As the relatively newly installed president, Dunn said that he wants to tread carefully in order to not create any ill will this early in his term.

During the March 16 council meeting, Stage received assurances from four of the five members that they would approve the renovation costs, which Service Director Sharon L. Reichard said were only estimates, and the leases, even if the chamber decides to stay put. Only Council President Ted A. Berry expressed reluctance to fund the renovation and offer such low rents without getting some financial assistance, at least on a new sign for the building from some of the new tenants.

If the chamber isn't joining the mix, Stage said that the historical group would simply have more space inside the former bank to use as a museum.

"I wouldn't be embarrassed over the chamber not coming," he told council members.