Special events that have been held on Broadway in the Grove City Town Center could move to other locations next year.

Special events that have been held on Broadway in the Grove City Town Center could move to other locations next year.

City officials are considering whether events like the Wine and Arts Festival, the farmers market and Boo on Broadway should move to the new promenade built to connect the Broadway Station apartments to the new Grove City Library or to the old library building on Park Street.

"No decisions have been made at this point," Mayor Ike Stage said. "But some of the concerns we have about traffic on Broadway warrant thinking about whether it might make more sense to move some of the events."

A decision likely will be made by March, he said.

City officials will consult with the Grove City Area Chamber of Commerce and the Grove City Town Center Group before making a final decision, Stage said.

Public-safety director Bill Vedra will make the final call, he said.

Traffic likely will be one factor in the decision; a study conducted in the past year showed that Broadway averages about 15,000 vehicles a day, Stage said.

"That's a lot of cars," he said. "One issue to think about is how do you feasibly divert so much traffic onto Haughn Road and around to Kingston Avenue and back to Broadway, especially during peak traffic times?"

The safety of pedestrians and motorists also must be considered, Stage said.

Lora Giese, who with her husband owns Read It Again Books & Gifts at 4052 Broadway, appeared at the Dec. 5 Grove City Council meeting to state her opposition to moving any events off Broadway.

That action likely would force Read It Again to close, Giese said.

"People always say small business is the backbone of a community," she said. "I decided to go to council to make them aware that this issue is vital for small businesses like mine."

Special events on Broadway bring people to the Town Center who would not otherwise know about shops like Read It Again, Giese said.

"When they eliminated the craft sale from the farmers market, it caused our sales to drop by 35 percent," she said. "If you take away the other special events from Broadway, I don't think we would make it. A lot of businesses like ours survive by a razor-thin margin."

The craft sale, which featured vendors on the sidewalks adjacent to the farmers market, helped bring new customers into her shop, Giese said.

"If they didn't buy things on the day of the market, they at least discovered us and maybe came back another day to shop," she said.

Some members of the city administration and others pushed for the craft sale to end, said Andy Furr, the executive director of Grove City Town Center Inc.

"They said the crafts that were being sold were 'junk' -- that was the word some used," he said. "We didn't want to see it go and we tried to do some things on Saturday nights, but it didn't work out."

Craft vendors were brought back on a limited basis to the farmers market last summer "as a compromise," said Furr, who added he would like to see more craft vendors next year.

The Grove City Town Center Group sponsors the Wine and Arts Festival.

Furr said he would like to see that event remain on Broadway.

"The Wine and Arts festival has doubled in growth every year," he said. "If you moved it to the promenade, where the space is limited, you would cap its ability to grow.

"In talking to a lot of our businesses, the majority of them benefit from events like the Wine and Arts Festival and the farmers market," he said.

It's hard to say whether visitors to an event on the promenade would walk the short distance to Broadway, Stage said.

Merchants might be able to attract them by joining together in marketing efforts, such as jointly offering special deals and discounts, he said.

City leaders have no desire to lure people away from the Town Center, Stage said.

"We haven't been planning all of the improvements to the Town Center area to drive away our small businesses," he said.

Giese said she worries that businesses like hers will not benefit from events if they are held on the promenade or in the old library parking lot.

"I think a lot of people will just park their car, attend the festival, then get back in their car and drive home," she said.

Furr said for now, merchants will have to wait and see what happens.

"We're always open to discussion and are willing to sit down and talk with the city about whether it would make sense to move these events off Broadway," he said. "We'll keep an open mind and we hope the city would also keep an open mind."

Grove City Chamber of Commerce officials also are keeping open minds in their discussions with the city, executive director Shawn Conrad said.

"We want to do what's best for the city, but at the same time, we want what's best for the chamber and its membership," she said.

The chamber sponsors the farmers market and Arts in the Alley.

"One of our primary concerns is making sure there would be enough space on the promenade or elsewhere for all the vendors and activities in our events," Conrad said.

Another issue is the potential impact of moving an event from Broadway to a location that may be less prominent and conspicuous, she said.

"We would be concerned about losing the people who happen upon an event on Broadway and decide to stop and visit," Conrad said. "Would they stop and go to an event that was off Broadway?"

At least one event likely will move closer to the Town Center next year, according to Stage.

City officials were "80 percent certain" that EcoFest would be moved in 2017 to the old library site from Henceroth Park, he said.

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