Grove City will be in the spotlight on the next edition of WOSU-TV’s “Columbus Neighborhoods” series.
The program is scheduled to premiere at 8:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 31, and air again at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 4.
Since the series began in 2010, “Columbus Neighborhoods” has evolved from hour-long documentaries focusing on a single neighborhood to a half-hour weekly series focusing on various topics relating to central Ohio, said Diana Bergemann, a WOSU-TV producer and editor.
“It’s become more of a magazine format, which gives us a chance to tell more stories and talk to more people than just historians,” she said. “We’re not trying to tell the story of one community, but to tell some stories of our region.”
Most of the 26 half-hour episodes produced each year have a theme, Bergemann said.
“Three times a year, we focus on a single community. We’ve already done Linden and we’ll be going to Mount Vernon later this year. Now it’s Grove City,” she said.
The producers of “Columbus Neighborhoods” began talking with Grove City officials two years ago about visiting the town for an episode, Bergemann said.
“We were interested in them and they were interested in us,” said Grove City Mayor Richard “Ike” Stage, who will be featured in one of three segments filmed last summer for the Jan. 31 episode.
Stage was interviewed by series co-host Javier Sanchez at Grove City Brewing.
“We also like to do an ‘Anthony Bourdain’-type segment at a local restaurant or tavern with a local official to talk about where the city’s come from and where it’s headed in the future,” Bergemann said.
Another segment will focus on Beulah Park and will feature interviews with Jane Shailer, co-author of the “Grove City: Images of America” book, and Jim Hale of the Southwest Franklin County Historical Society.
“I think a lot of people who live outside Grove City may be surprised to learn the rich history of Beulah Park and just what a prominent place it had in the community,” Bergemann said. “A lot of people may not even be aware of what Beulah Park was. And now the site of the racetrack is being redeveloped in a really interesting way.”
Architectural historian Jeff Darbee will be featured in a tour of the Grant-Sawyer Homestead on Haughn Road, which the city purchased and has restored as a historic attraction. That segment will include comments from Steve Jackson, the Southwest Franklin County Historical Society’s president.
“We toured the house last June, I think it was the first place they went to, and it was exciting to be able share some of the history of the house,” Jackson said. “The house dates back to 1830 and we believe it is the oldest brick building in town.”
Jackson and Stage also accompanied the “Columbus Neighborhoods” crew to Century Village, which displays a collection of historic buildings.
“This series has a wide audience throughout central Ohio, and maybe beyond, and this is a great opportunity to tell people about some of the rich history of Grove City,” Jackson said.
With the Grant-Sawyer homestead, Century Village and the Welcome Center/Museum on Park Street, Grove City places a lot of importance of preserving and showcasing its past, he said.
“For a town to be successful, you have to have a good sense of your past to help you plan for your future,” Jackson said.
The documentary will have value not only as a way to showcase Grove City to people in other communities, but to residents as well, Stage said.
“We continue to take great pride in being (chosen by Ohio Magazine) central Ohio’s best hometown and this is a way to continue to demonstrate how we are a great hometown,” he said. “This program will help our residents continue to feel good about where they are living.”
Bergemann said she was impressed with what she discovered when she visited Grove City.
“It’s experiencing so much growth now and I was impressed with their Town Center,” she said. “It’s really a clean, welcoming place to be.”
The museum was one of the best of its kind she has seen, Bergemann said.