Mayor’s Stage: For all its woes, 2020 provided many opportunities

Richard "Ike" Stage
Grove City Mayor

2020 certainly could be described as chaotic and unprecedented, yet it also could be described as one providing insight into our planning progress and foresight for future growth and opportunity.

In early 2018, the GroveCity2050 plan was adopted, providing a forward-thinking process regarding how the community grows and integrates land use, transportation and economic development. The community played an integral role in developing the plan, which has largely stayed on track through the challenges we faced this past year.

Grove City Mayor Richard "Ike" Stage

Already a guiding principle of the GroveCity2050 plan is the protection, preservation and enhancement of the city’s small-town character. Driven by the pandemic, businesses and restaurants in the Town Center and other areas of Grove City expanded their services to include deliveries, al fresco dining and curbside pickup. Town Center itself became a hub of support within the business community. There’s no better testament to small-town character than neighbors supporting one another.

The Beulah Park development, with diverse housing to accommodate varied family stages and needs, welcomed its first residents in 2020, marking a milestone for the unmatched community. New and future homeowners will enjoy the walkability with the development’s proximity to Town Center.

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As part of the city’s ongoing efforts to improve local public transportation, and in partnership with the Central Ohio Transit Authority, Grove City was fortunate to be the first to offer a ride-hail transportation service to residents and workers. Though in place prior to COVID-19, the COTA Plus service expanded its reach in 2020 and proved to be a convenience-turned-necessity as residents used the service to accommodate their unusual needs and circumstances.

As the South Side Mega Fix nears completion, we will begin to realize the full benefit it provides Grove City, with better Interstate 71 and Interstate 270 traffic flow to our four major freeway access points. We continue to improve our roadways, as well as create safe opportunities for residents to walk and bike throughout neighborhoods.

As our community grows, so does our commitment to supporting the continuing education of our youth and adults. Through key partnerships, the South-Western City School District continues construction on its new Brookpark Middle School near Beulah Park, on property acquired from the city, and we plan to resume workforce-development activities in 2021.

Proven to be incredibly supportive partners for our community, the OhioHealth and Mount Carmel medical campuses continue to grow, expanding services and bringing employment opportunities to our hometown.

By folding our “2020 hindsight” into our long-term plans for Grove City, we continue preparing for the next 20 years while staying focused on the ever-changing needs of our community.

Richard “Ike” Stage is Grove City's mayor.