As Ohio's first thoroughbred racetrack, Beulah Park brought visitors to Grove City from around the region as a destination of horseback racing entertainment from 1923 until its final day of live racing in May 2014.

The site was also home to high-profile festivals and celebrations prior to the track closing.

As a central component to our community's history and success, we understand that anything coming next for the site needs to complement, respect and honor its historical significance while accommodating the growing needs of our city. The mixed-use development underway is certainly something special, with urbanist-design elements, including quiet alleys and courtyards with a diverse range of housing options from estate lots to assisted living.

Much thought and respect have gone into planning the area, resulting in things such as historical markers and design elements that give nod to the architecture of buildings original to the site.

Columbus Street will extend to Beulah Park, further enhancing the quality of life in the community by connecting northwestern Grove City to Town Center dining, shopping, entertainment and community events.

To preserve a nature-centric feel, nearly 30% of Beulah's 212-acre development is reserved as green space. Grove City has been recognized for its scenic public parks; this dates back to the 1890s when A.G. Grant reserved a grove of trees and fields as a community gathering space when he developed Beulah's addition.

So it is fitting a large, centralized park has taken priority and is under construction for 30 of Beulah's nearly 60 acres of green space. Its design was formulated with input from more than 700 residents who either completed our online survey or attended community planning meetings.

The plan for the park, comparable in size to Windsor Park, is guided by key design elements and principles identified by residents. With an overall natural feel, activity areas are spread throughout the park and include trails with exercise stations and signs sharing the history of the park as well as open lawn areas for flexible play and nature observation.

The park includes shelters, picnic areas, tennis and pickleball courts, an inclusive playground for all ages and a sledding hill for those snowy Ohio days. Grove City's music and arts community will enjoy performances in a proposed outdoor amphitheater with natural, hillside seating, and a pond as backdrop.

With multiuse trails winding through Beulah Park connecting all of Grove City, the area stands unrivaled in its accessibility and amenities, and the development is drawing attention throughout central Ohio -- a process thrilling to witness.

In September, the Building Industry Association of Central Ohio announced the Beulah Park development as the site of the 2020 BIA Parade of Homes and it is one of the most unique sites they've selected given its walkable connection to historic Town Center.

Next summer's Parade of Homes will place Beulah Park center stage, similar to when it was a thoroughbred racetrack. Folks will come from around the region to see the new development and understand why we love Grove City. Until then, there is much to do in preparation. Watch construction progress on GroveCityOhio.gov and stay tuned for 2020 Parade updates.

Mayor Richard L. "Ike" Stage is serving his fifth term as mayor.