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Jul 23

A conversation regarding Grandview Yard with Council President Anthony Panzera

Posted on July 23, 2014 at 5:38 PM by Laura Oldham

Council President Anthony Panzera

Consistent with the goals and objectives set forth at the Council retreat earlier in 2014, the City's communications to residents will be expanded to include additional information delivered through a variety of methods. 

The blog section of our website will be our first step to enhance and increase the regular communications offered by City Council and our Mayor.

Our first blog post in this series features Grandview Heights City Council President Anthony Panzera. He will be answering questions regarding Grandview Yard.


Q: When will the work on the Grandview Yard infrastructure begin?

A: Work on the Grandview Yard began over 5 years ago. In order to fund this project and turn this vision into an economic reality, the Columbus-Franklin County Finance Authority has issued approximately $12 million in bonds since 2009, and the roads that you see presently are part of the result of those issuances. The remaining funding resulting from the July 21, 2014 legislation will be pursued immediately, and we expect to see ground preparations such as grading and surveying to begin literally within days. It is anticipated that 90% of the remaining road construction (about 3.5 miles) and associated underground utilities will be completed by the end of 2016.


Q: Who will own and control the 2.5 acre public park?

A: This is public space owned by the City and will be controlled by the City. As a result of the recently passed amendments, the City was able to acquire more land than originally envisioned by the 2009 agreement, at the price for which it was purchased, rather than the increased current market value. NRI will provide constant maintenance under an associated maintenance agreement that has been in place since 2009.


Q: What will the park be used for?

A: The programs, festivals, and community events to take place there are yet to be defined. It’s a new park! There are new opportunities that our community never had before, and we can’t wait to have it completed and dedicated!


Q: Is it expected to be a sports venue?

A: It is not intended to be designed or used for organized sports events. All residents throughout the city will be able to visit and utilize it for their own recreational activities, picnics, people-watching, laying in the sun, or making snowmen!


Q: I have heard that First Avenue will be the main entrance to Grandview Yard. Is this true?

A: First Avenue is expected to be one of nine entrances into the Yard. The primary commuter arteries are planned for Third Avenue to the North, Goodale to the South, and the three north-south streets of Bobcat, Yard, and Rail Streets that will connect the Goodale and Third Ave arterials. It can be difficult to envision because these streets aren’t completed yet, but these are expected to handle 91% of the new traffic. First Avenue/Burrell will be a multi-purpose connection for commuters, cyclists, and pedestrians, many of whom already live in the First Avenue corridor. I speculate  that it will be realigned with Burrell similar to how it was years ago, but we will undergo a public process with residents involved and we will seek the assistance of our Planning Commission to ultimately decide what modifications will be made.

Also, remember: the Yard will also add new residents in the next 10 years. These residents will also be members of our community just as all of us are now, and providing the first avenue connection is vital to keep the grid system that enables movement through the city as we have now.


Q: How many trees will be planted in the newly-formed development?

A: Over 2,000 trees will be planted by NRI as part of their investment in our City. This is a substantial net increase over the existing number (according to our city Arborist, there are about 3,000 trees currently in our city lands). The former Big Bear site was nearly 95% concrete, paved lots, or large-footprint warehouse/industrial buildings prior to being redeveloped, with no trees or landscaping elements.


Q: Yes, but how many of these are expected to replace the full-grown trees that may be removed due to road improvements on First Avenue and Northwest Blvd?

A: About 10. The City will make every reasonable effort to ensure that our mature trees are only removed when absolutely unavoidable to ensure safety. This is critical to us as it is to the majority of our residents.


Q: How many trees are currently in the public lands of Grandview Heights?

A: As a tree city, we are required on an occasional basis to inventory the city trees and use a multiplier for replacement plantings for any tree removed. There are roughly 3,000 total trees in the public lands of our City. This includes all parks, streets, boulevard greenspaces, and other municipal lands.


Q: How many trees are removed by the city each year?

A: The average is 43 per year over the past five years. These are replaced on a 2-1 basis.


Q: What will be the true “income” to the City, and  what will it be used for?

A: The income projections rise and fall over the years based upon the construction jobs, expected permanent jobs, and jobs adjusted by attrition. Based on the development build-out schedule announced in July 2014, the short-term net income is projected to incrementally grow from $900,000 in year 2016, to $3.2 million annually by year 2020. Be assured that these projections will be updated regularly as the development progresses, along with performance markers analyzing actual receipts to expectations. The additional revenue will enable the City to invest in much-needed and long-deferred public improvements throughout the City, such as to the historic Grandview Pool, the remaining parks, and possibly additional civic components to be determined. Our Parks Advisory Board and Planning Commissions are charged with helping the administration study these needs and the feasibility.


Q: Will there be additional traffic signals? How will we keep our pedestrians safe?

A: Traffic signals will be placed where warranted within the Yard, and around the entrances where warranted. The criteria of a warranted light is structured in significant detail by ODOT.


Q: Will the public be able to participate in the process of street improvements?

A: Yes. We will make every effort to encourage and enable the citizens to continue to participate in the process. This is an evolving process.


Q: What will the new park be named? Will it be up to Nationwide?

A: This is a public park and as of yet unnamed. It will likely be given to our Parks Advisory Board for review, and a naming process will be created. Send us your ideas!


Q: When will Nationwide Insurance have the expected 3,000 jobs placed?

A: This is planned for a phased move-in starting in 2016, with final jobs arriving in 2019. This is congruent with the expected completion dates of the buildings which will house them.


Q: Where will all of these new employees, visitors, and residents park their cars?

A: There are multiple public parking structures and a few surface lots. The parking structures are planned to accommodate all vehicles resulting from their intended use.


Q: With 3,000 employees at Nationwide Insurance alone, does this mean 3,000 cars per day?

A: No. There are extensive traffic studies that began in 2008-2009, and that have been continually updated since then to project the full build-out capacity of the Yard. Any large campus such as this will have a certain amount of absent employees on any given day due to work-related travel, sick days, vacations, and shift differentials. Additionally, the live-work nature of the Yard (and our community as a whole) provides a decreased need for vehicle use. It is expected that many of our new residents will also work within the Yard itself.


Q: Will this require additional police officers, service personnel, and fire units?

A: Ultimately yes, any growth such as this will raise the level of service required by a municipality. The City commissioned an impact study, which is available on the website for review, and it will be updated as needed to reflect the actual needs experienced by the growth of our City.


Q: Anthony, so, different subject, do you remember when Grandview Avenue didn’t have anything on it except that camping store and there was a gas station at Second Avenue where Spencer Research is now?

A: Wilderness Trace! You mean many years before Stauf’s, Spagio, Shoku, etc? Of course I do. In the '70s I always rode the streets of Grandview on my red Schwinn Sting-Ray with a fancy banana seat. I also completely remember Belvo’s – where my mom would send me for grocery errands when I was like 6 or 7 years old, and McKinley Drugs – old-style with the raised floor behind the counter, the original Leonardo’s Pizza, Mac Worthington Studios, Skaggs Beauty Shop, the gas station (where I could fill up my bike tires) at First and Oxley that later became “The Ice Cream Corner” (now the land has a newer building a veterinary clinic, was Tri-Village Doctors before that). Why do you ask?! How about the old Big Bear on Fifth Avenue, with the Nationwise auto parts store, Centner Design, The Hallmark Store, the old Friendly’s Restaurant, Stew Harrisons, Seafood Bay, Hungry Herman’s, Presutti’s (round one), and the Old Grandview Inn? Yep. Jack Bowman’s Steak House? Yep. And when the River Place office park on Dublin Rd - used to be a Motel? With the Spa/Gym in front, yep, but I can’t remember the name of it…Atlas Spa I think?

And the old NAPA auto parts store - in the barrel-building where Loth is now, and Ciconne’s on Third Ave between Westood and Elmwood –that was a regular stop for my grandfather, Giovanni, when I was very young.


Q: So you’ve seen a lot of things change over your 45 years here in Grandview Heights?

A: Yep. And it’s still great. It’ll change again over the next 45 years and be even greater.