When the Beulah Park racetrack was in operation, rainy weather would have resulted in sloppy track conditions but not postponed races.

Although rain muddied the site of the former track’s infield May 3, the groundbreaking ceremony for the first phrase of the Beulah Park Living project went on as scheduled.

Work on the project has already left the starting gate, said Pat Kelley of Falco, Smith & Kelley, the project’s developer.

“We’ve actually already started working on the infrastructure leading into the site,” he said. “We anticipate the builders of the various residential developments will all begin construction in late summer.”

The project’s first phase will result in 758 residential units, including 264 apartment residences, 104 ranch-style houses, 80 town-home condominiums, a 94-unit luxury assisted-living facility and 216 single-family houses. Ultimately, the development is expected to have 972 residential units.

“It’s a very busy first phase,” Kelley said. “People have been hearing about this project for quite a while, but they haven’t seen anything happen. Now they will start seeing a lot of action,” he said. “It’s an awesome feeling to have reached this day.”

The development will offer a mix of residential options leading to a diverse Beulah Park community, he said.

Residents should begin moving into the development by summer 2020, he said.

The Beulah development is under consideration by the Building Industry Association as the site for its 2020 Parade of Homes.

Jon Melchi, BIA executive director, was among those who attended the groundbreaking ceremony.

“Beulah Park is definitely a strong contender for the Parade of Homes,” he said.

“This development represents a partnership between a properly managed community (Grove City) that understands housing is an important part of its economic and an additive to the community and an innovative developer who can bring the type of diverse residential product that serves all markets of the community,” Melchi said.

That is an attractive combination to the members of the building community who will participate in the Parade of Homes, he said.

A decision will be made later this summer following the completion of this year’s showcase, Melchi said.

Future phases of Beulah Park Living will including commercial and retail uses, Kelley said.

What makes the development unique is its connectivity to Grove City’s Town Center and the parkland that surrounds the area, he said.

The extension of Columbus Street from the Town Center to the development will give Beulah Park residents easy access to shops and restaurants in downtown Grove City, Kelley said.

The recreational centerpiece of the development will be a 45-acre community park with walking trails, a pond, gardens and a pavilion.

About 90 acres of parkland will be included in and around the project area, Kelley said.

Few cities have the opportunity to have a 212-acre development like Beulah Park Living built right in its downtown, Mayor Richard “Ike” Stage said.

“It’s a significant development for the community as a whole and for our Town Center,” he said.

Beulah Park closed in 2014 and the groundbreaking ceremony was held five years to the day since horses last raced at the track.