Groveport's Main Street project moves forward despite councilman's concerns
Plans to transform Groveport’s Main Street corridor are moving forward, but one City Council member is questioning the project’s size and cost.
Council voted 5-1 during its March 15 meeting in approving a contract for design-build services with Dayton-based Miller-Valentine Group to construct two buildings in an area where residents have long wanted to see new restaurants and retail.
Councilman Sean Cleary cast the dissenting vote. He said he could not support the contract because Groveport’s income-tax revenues continue to decline due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
Funding for the more than $6 million redevelopment project would come through general obligation bonds.
“We are in the financial position now to do this, but we don’t know what’s coming down the road,” Cleary said during a March 17 phone interview. “Our tax revenue has dropped each month since the pandemic started. Instead of constructing two buildings, let’s give one a try. Do I hope it works? Yes, but I’m guarded and on the cautious side.”
According to city Finance Director Jason Carr, Groveport’s income-tax revenue was $15.7 million at the end of last year, marking a more than 12% reduction from 2019.
Carr also noted in his report to council that year-to-date income tax revenue is trailing last year’s number by 6%.
Operational receipts for the recreation center and golf course also have declined, with the recreation department down $1 million in 2020 compared to the prior year, according to city figures.
Conceptual designs were created late last year for the redevelopment plan consisting of two new mixed-use buildings: one at the corner of Front and Main streets next to Ace Hardware and the other at the corner of College and Main streets, the former site of Stebe's Auto Sales.
The project is known as 1847 Main, referring to the year two rival villages – Rarey’s Point and Wirt’s Grove, located on the Ohio and Erie Canal – incorporated to form what is now the city of Groveport.
According to the building designs, one two-story structure at College and Main streets, called Wirt's Grove, would be more than 12,000 square feet, with five storefronts on the first floor and nearly 70 parking spaces.
The second building at Front and Main streets, Rarey's Port, would be more than 14,000 square feet, with six storefronts. Parking would be available at the nearby municipal building.
The price of the contract with the Miller-Valentine Group is $195,789 for the Rarey’s Port building and $200,136 for Wirt’s Grove.
As part of the project, the city also is completing a comprehensive planning study for Main Street and the historic downtown area through the Groveport Community Improvement Corp., a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to enhance Groveport’s economic and community development efforts.