Dec 03

The Tuesday Top 5: December 3rd, 2019

Posted on December 3, 2019 at 10:57 AM by Laura Oldham

The Tuesday Top 5: December 3rd, 2019


Welcome to the Tuesday Top 5! Your source for the latest info on what is going on in Grandview Heights.


1. Capital budget reflects infrastructure priorities 

City Council last night reviewed my administration’s $4.4 million capital budget that reflects this administration’s priorities for 2020 as well as setting out estimated capital needs from 2021 through 2024. 
Street, sanitary sewer, waterline and storm sewer projects top the needs in 2020 at a combined $2.72 million. A little over half of that – $ 1.47 million – will go to street repair, paving and a multipurpose path on the east side of Elmwood Avenue south of Bluff Avenue.  The remainder of the budget request is for waterline and storm sewer projects. The requested budget for vehicles and equipment includes:  two replacement police cruisers for the Division of Police and a dump truck, utility boom truck and fork lift for the Service Department.  Some other requests include: a new paint sprayer, power washer, zero turn radius mower, cardiac monitor defibrillator, portable message board and Knox Box security upgrade.

The Parks division of Parks & Rec has requested $462,500 for projects, including $250,000 for McKinley Field improvements, which includes restrooms by the ball field.  Other sizable projects include Buck Park lighting, pool painting, recycling containers, and the repair of the Wyman Woods sledding hill and the McKinley and Pierce ballfields. 

Administration is requesting $570,000 for an expanded sidewalk program.

The request also includes continuation of our tree replacement program, design funding for civic facilities and funds to address mobility issues around the community. 

2. M/I Homes marks first closings at Grandview Yard 

M/I Homes has secured its first closings within its Homes at Grandview Yard subdivision as contracts continue to pile up. 

A Dennison B series home at 938 W. First Ave. closed on November 19th. Public records show the property sold for $649,500. The three-bedroom property is located on the north side of the West First Boulevard, six houses west of the First and Bobcat Avenue intersection and close to the middle of 14 homes built between Bobcat and the terminus of Edgehill Drive.

The homebuilder also reported the three-bedroom, Baldwin A home at 944 W. First Avenue closed the week of November 25th. The price was not immediately available from the Franklin County Recorder’s Office.

The completed sales come as M/I Homes continues digging more foundations and raising walls and roofs even as it puts even more homes in contract. As of press time, 38 homes were either built, under construction or lots listed as in contract for construction on the M/I Homes at the Yard website, with one more lot listed as reserved for future construction. 

A ride around the streets show 14 homes built along westbound West First, including three model homes closest to Bobcat. Another 11 homes have been built or are under construction eastbound on First with another three basements awaiting vertical construction. Six houses are under roof along Pullman Place just north of Williams with another four basements completed just north of those homes.

M/I started construction not quite a year ago and began the heavy marketing effort in June. I had last updated the marketing efforts in early September, when M/I reported 28 homes in contract.

3. Santa sets appearance at GH Public Library 

Grandview Heights continues its Christmas holiday traditions with a visit from St. Nicholas on December 7th at the Grandview Height Public Library, 1685 W. First Ave. 

Santa 4

Expect Santa to arrive on a Grandview Heights fire truck just before the 11 a.m. start of his visit with children. Those visits will continue to about 1 p.m. Parents should bring their cameras to capture their kids on Santa’s lap. 

Those wishing to visit with the jolly old elf do need to stop by the Youth Services desk at the lower level of the library to pick up free tickets with the time of their visit. One ticket per family is required. While waiting their turn with Santa, children can make holiday crafts and visit with Rosie the Comfort Dog from Atonement Lutheran Church. 

This community activity is presented with the Grandview Heights Department of Parks & Recreation which also will host the City’s tree-lighting ceremony this evening – Tuesday, December 3rd – at the Grandview Center. BRING YOUR ICE SKATES.

You may also have noticed the LED snowflakes Parks & Rec hoisted on the light pole banner holders along Grandview Avenue between Goodale Boulevard and West First Avenue. This new display should set the mood as we formally enter the Christmas season. Thanks go out to Director Mike Patterson and his staff for their initiative in putting up the new seasonal decorations.
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4. Council plans December 9th forum on short-term rentals 

City Council’s Planning & Administration Committee will host a public forum December 9th at 6 p.m. to hear the pros and cons of short-term rental housing. The forum on STRs that emerged as a public policy and neighborhood lifestyle issue earlier this year will take place at City Hall, 1016 Grandview Ave.

Council in early October passed Ordinance 2019-26 that instituted a 90-day ban on un hosted rentals of homes for less than 30 days in residential areas. The legislation also  established regulations on existing short-term rentals. At that time, Council had planned this forum to gather more perspective from stakeholders such as STR property owners and other proponents of the properties marketed through such networks as Airbnb and HomeAway as well as residents living near these operations, real estate professionals and hotels that compete with STRs for guests.

The City’s Building Code currently does not specifically address the operation of STRs within residential areas as the concept is relatively new as a popular hospitality lodging option in the Grandview area. Council passed the temporary measure as it considers whether to prohibit short-term rental activity entirely in areas zoned as residential and/or pass further regulations. 

The STR issue was discussed at the November 13th Grandview Planning Commission, with some members indicating they plan to attend the forum.

5. Grandview Hop touts 2019 success, 2020 plans 

Cooperative weather and a full switch to a block party format helped organizers of the Grandview Hop claim success during the 2019 season.

Hop snip

The Columbus Young Professionals Club and the nonprofit Destination Grandview travel and tourism promoter reported a combined 15,000-plus attended the Hops in late June, July, August and September. Beer sales resulted in a combined $16,500 donated to local charities.

CYPC CEO Derek Grosso said having all four Hops on a blocked Grandview Avenue between West First Avenue and before the alleys at The Avenue steakhouse and the Balboa Mexican restaurant allowed for more food trucks to attend and made it easier for folks to move around. The first two 2018 Hops followed the sidewalk markets of previous years before expanding to the block party.

“It was so much better,” Grosso said. “We got more people because it wasn’t as crowded.” This last year also marked the creation of more space for arts and crafts opportunities for children and space for young entrepreneurs to sell their wares. 

Grosso said he hopes to form an advisory committee of Grandview merchants to look for ways to better integrate businesses in the corridor into the Hop. Tentative plans also call for more public art and interactive art activities as well as expansion of the kids’ activity area.

The organizers in mid-November posted a YouTube video recapping the sights and sounds of the 2019 season.

Tuesday Top 5 is a weekly update from Mayor Ray DeGraw and the City of Grandview Heights. For more information, visit 

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Nov 26

The Tuesday Top 5: November 26th, 2019

Posted on November 26, 2019 at 9:17 AM by Laura Oldham

The Tuesday Top 5: November 26th, 2019


Welcome to the Tuesday Top 5! Your source for the latest info on what is going on in Grandview Heights.

1. Operating, capital budgets submitted to Council

I submitted 2020 City Operating and Capital budgets to Grandview Heights City Council on November 18th.  City Council’s Finance Committee had the first hearing on the operating budget yesterday, Monday, November 25th.  A December 2nd committee meeting at 6 p.m. is set to consider the proposed capital budget. Other meetings may precede the expected December 16th passage of both budgets by the full Council.

The yearly budgets stem from several busy weeks of the administration and city departments looking at existing operations, proposed additional programs and services, establishing operating priorities, justifying capital equipment needs and prioritizing capital improvement projects.  This year I would like to again recognize the great work of my department directors and their managers and specifically Finance Director Bob Dvoraczky and his team for their great coordination of the process.

The planned general fund budget projects General Revenue Fund revenues of $16.97 million and expenditures of $16.51 million. Salaries and related expenses, not surprisingly, make up the bulk of expenditures. At $10.82 million, that spending marks an increase of $410,365 over the projected 2019 personnel expenditures. Contractual services as proposed come in at $1.89 million, a $273,333 rise from projected 2019 expenditures. The proposed additional operating expenditures is a 2.88% increase over the current year. There are two new initiatives: additional IT funding and funding to start a new facility programing/design process. The total for these two new initiatives is $150,000, a 1.04% budget increase.  Total operating increase before transfers is 3.92% over this year.

We are obviously working closely with Mayor-Elect and Council President Greta Kearns as well as the rest of Council in shaping the budget. I will continue to update the community as the process moves along.

2. Tree lighting celebration, Santa mailboxes ready to roll

The Christmas season in Grandview Heights launches on Tuesday, December 3rd with the Christmas Tree Lighting and other traditional events that afternoon and early evening.

Ray and Melissa 1

For the second year, a vendor will install an iceless skating rink in the Grandview Center parking lot for those attending the festivities to enjoy at no cost. Skate rental will be available. The rink will open at 3 p.m. on December 3rd and close at 8 p.m. 

Ice Skating 3

The program begins at 5:30 p.m. as the Grandview Heights High School Jazz Band and Choir entertain residents within the Grandview Center. Sculpt Decor artist Dustin Weatherby will again be there captivating us as he carves a creation out of ice outdoors. Kids can take part in a coloring contest and creating various crafts, including Clay Café holiday decorations.

For the first time, two food trucks – Tortilla Street Food and Pitabilities – will serve food during the festivities while Crossroads Church will provide free coffee and hot chocolate. Santa will make his initial appearance in the City immediately after the tree lighting. (Santa will make another appearance at the Grandview Heights Public Library on December 7th).


Santa has already placed mailboxes in the Youth Section of the Grandview Heights Public Library, 1685 W. First Ave., and in the lobby of the Municipal Building, 1016 Grandview Ave. Parents may also email letters to please provide a home address in the emails to ensure a response. Letters will be accepted through December 17th. 


3. Third Avenue opens to two-way traffic

Getting around the Grandview area will get a little easier with two-way traffic opening up on West Third Avenue beneath the new CSX span late last week. Construction will continue on related projects into the winter.

Contractors took down the “Road Closed” signs and many of the construction barrels in early afternoon on Friday, November 22nd after completing the installation of utilities. Each direction will now have one through lane underneath the trestle. Still blocked are turn lanes that will eventually serve the extension of Rail Street at Third Avenue. Work to tear down the embankment for a temporary rail line built for the widening of Third and construction of the street extension will continue into the early winter.


Earlier projects built as part of West Third improvements include the signalization of the Edgehill Road/Bobcat Avenue intersection at Third and the Edgehill signalization at West Fifth Avenue.

The improvements to Third Ave will improve the flow of traffic not only in and out of Grandview Yard during the weekday rush hours, but throughout this section of Columbus as redevelopment activity continues in both communities.

4. Grandview Avenue project to get revised

The developer of a mixed-used project at 1229 and 1237 Grandview Avenue plans to return to the Grandview Heights Planning Commission in 2020 with a revised proposal after a spirited November 20th meeting that attracted numerous residents, especially from Broadview Avenue.


Crossley Development Ltd. presented the concept of a four-story project anchored by 1,600 square feet of commercial space on the ground floor and 29 residential condos on floors 2 through 4. The 14 one-bedroom units ranged from 587 to 604 square feet while the 15 two-bedroom units ranged from 907 to 1,242 square feet. Mechanized stacked parking would take up 9,200 square feet of the lower level.

1229 Grandview Avenue SNIP

Crossley Development principal Ryan Crossley, a resident of Marble Cliff, said the condo units served what they saw was a growing demand for smaller, more efficient for-sale housing at more affordable price points in this market.  They believe the lower price may allow empty-nest residents to remain in the community after selling their single-family home. “This is an important project for us and to the community,” he told the commission and residents. “We’re here to get it right.”

Numerous Broadview residents spoke against the project for about an hour, with those living closest to the project expressing concern the height of the project and  its abutting a little more than a foot from the back property line would eliminate the privacy of their backyards and put several homes in the shadows for much of the morning. Potential traffic issues also emerged as a concern.
All the commission members expressed concerns about the massing of the project, lot coverage, rear yard setback and other details. Commissioner Frances Rourke said more first-floor commercial space on the ground floor would make a more compelling argument the project is a true mixed-use project in line with the Grandview overlay district. Board Vice Chairman Bob Wandel offered that the project needs more frontage on Grandview. But Crossley said owners of the neighboring properties to the north and south rebuffed efforts to sell or even make parking available behind their buildings.

In an email the day after the meeting, Crossley wrote the development team appreciated the opportunity to discuss the project in an open forum and will come back with a revised plan at an unspecified date. “The meeting provided important and meaningful community feedback that we sought from our informal presentation,” he wrote. “We will continue pursuit of a plan that meets the guidelines and spirit of the Grandview Avenue Overlay District Ordinance, the existing zoning code and integrates community input.”

Documents related to the request for a site plan review, variance, lot combination and conditional use can be viewed here

I want to express my appreciation for the civil tenor of the meeting by all involved.  Cooperative discussion is key to keeping that district active and viable.  Grandview Avenue remains our community’s jewel for entertainment, retail, community interaction and service businesses.

5. Council seeks candidates for Board of Zoning Appeals

City Council is seeking candidates to serve on the Grandview Heights Board of Zoning Appeals as member Megan Murphy nears the end of her term. Those serving on the five-member panel considers appeals of requirements, administrative decisions or enforcement of the City’s zoning ordinances within residential districts.

Candidates for the panel must be a Grandview Heights resident and have special knowledge or expertise in one or more of the following disciplines: architecture, construction, engineering, the fine arts or landscape architecture. The term of the appointment is five years. Those serving will attend hearings on the second Wednesday on an as-needed basis.

One can find additional information on the BZA in Chapter 1139 the City’s Codified Ordinances.Those interested in serving on the board should submit letters of interest and a resume to Clerk of Council Debbie Nicodemus, 1016 Grandview Avenue, Columbus OH or to no later than 5 p.m. on this coming Monday, December 2nd. 

Tuesday Top 5 is a weekly update from Mayor Ray DeGraw and the City of Grandview Heights. For more information, visit 

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Nov 19

The Tuesday Top 5: November 19th, 2019

Posted on November 19, 2019 at 5:03 PM by Laura Oldham

The Tuesday Top 5: November 19th, 2019


Welcome to the Tuesday Top 5! Your source for the latest info on what is going on in Grandview Heights.

1. Public works facility open for business
Numerous residents, family members of Grandview Heights employees and public officials joined me late last week to celebrate the opening of the City’s new Municipal Service Building at 1260 McKinley Ave.


The celebration began late afternoon Friday, November 15th as the city hosted those curious about the new facility.  The facility will serve as the base of operations for the Service Department, Building & Zoning Department and the Parks Division of the Department of Parks & Recreation.


About one-third of the City staff will work out of that facility, although almost all will continue to work most of their day in Grandview Heights.  The new building includes approximately 6,000 sq. ft. of office space, 22,000 sq. ft high-bay, climate-controlled vehicle storage/service area in which houses the city’s garage compacters, garbage buggies and other equipment and storage areas that accommodate the city’s needs.

Besides housing all the operations in the current service buildings at Grandview Ave and Goodale Boulevard, the public works facility will also free up storage space at City Hall and allow the City to move out of offsite leased storage space. The project also includes a new truck wash and a recreation field with restrooms.


facility megan

Facility Maintenance

Facility Boshane

Facility Hughes

I wanted to thank City Council members for their support in the October 2017 purchase of the 4.3-acre site and their approval of the bonds to build the facility. Also, much appreciation to our consultants, the contractor Setterlin Construction, our architect/project manager Ron Gajoc, and Darryl Hughes, Director of Service and Mike Patterson, Director of Parks and Recreation for representing the city during the construction.  The $5.62 million construction project was finished on time and on budget. 


2. 32-gallon, rollout recycling cans available to residents
Speaking of the new facility, those touring got a first look at the new 32-gallon containers for recycling materials available to residents. The wheeled containers with a flip-top lids will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis until the Department runs out of 150 containers in stock.

Recycling containers

This follows the City’s previous distribution of 300, 
18-gallon bins beginning a year ago. Service Director Darryl Hughes said the distribution of the larger, wheeled recycling containers will allow the City to further evaluate the effectiveness of the bins versus the larger option for those collecting the recycled materials as well as gain feedback from residents as to their experiences.
The Department is seeking City Council support for $6,000 in the 2020 capital budget for more container in the budget proposal I submitted at the November 18th meeting to purchase more containers as feedback comes in from residents.

Please contact Pam Rybak at 614-488-4728 to schedule pickup of a new large container at the Department’s new operations center at 1260 McKinley Avenue or to arrange for free delivery by the department to your residence.

3. McKinley Field Park improvements concept
Revised plans for the renovation of the McKinley Field Park and upgrades to the concessions stand have advanced one more step since I last reported on the concept several weeks ago.

The Grandview Heights Parks Advisory Board received an update on the proposal during its November 14th meeting from Parks & Recreation Director Mike Patterson, including revisions from the POD Design landscape architecture firm and a tentative budget. Renovation plans include creating play areas geared toward children of mixed ages and physical abilities surrounded by a walking path. The recreation aspects of the project focus on the use of natural materials – logs, boulders and mounds.

McKinley Park Snip

The Parks Division already has many of those materials – such as boulders and large logs – available from its maintenance of City parks, That in-house inventory could keep the cost of renovations to about $400,000 for the activity play area planned for the space between the McKinley concession stand and the shelter house.

The plan also shows a $250,000 /- expansion for the concession stand next to the ballfield. It includes the addition of restrooms and storage.

The board also heard from Grandview Heights Public Library Director Ryan McDonnell on the planned StoryWalk project I wrote about in October. The project would place reading plaques along the path at Buck Park.  Path users can stop at each station and read another part of the story.  The stories will change every couple of months.  The project is supported through the generous contributions of the Grandview Heights Library Foundation. Installation is planned for Spring 2020.
He also said the Foundation this last year has upgraded the capabilities of the free wi-fi access. The nonprofit group provides in City parks. During a nine-month period this year, McDonnell said the wi-fi has handled 50,000 connections for those visiting our parks.

4. Police approved for hand-held narcotics detector
The City’s Division of Police will soon have a mobile device to test suspected narcotics in the field. The City’s Board of Control on November 12th approved the $13,500 purchase of a handheld TruNarc-brand narcotics analyzer to determine the identity of possible drugs our officers encounter in the field.

Chief Tom McCann said the device manufactured by Thermo Fisher Scientific allows testing without the potential danger of officers handling the substances that can get absorbed into an officer’s skin. The laser-spectrum analysis device offers investigators quick, at-the-scene analysis of 464 substances – narcotics, stimulants, depressants, hallucinogens and analgesics. The company also provides regular updates of the device’s database to identify new substances emerging into the market.

The Division of Police currently collects and sends samples to a lab for analysis and has to wait for the results.  At least 12, if not all, of the department’s 19 law enforcement personnel will get trained on the device. The $13,500 cost grants the Division 150 annual analyses a year, after which Thermo Fisher charges $3 per additional analysis. 

Purchase of this equipment and its investigative capability provides another measure of workplace protection for our law enforcement personnel and improves the City’s ability to take drug case suspects off the streets sooner.

5. Board approves contract to remove trees
The City’s Board of Control – a panel comprising Finance Director Bob Dvorczky, Council President  Greta Kearns and myself – also reviewed and approved the spending of $14,450 to remove 52 dying, diseased or decaying street trees as part of ongoing urban forestry management of city trees.

Parks & Recreation Director Mike Patterson recommended the selection of Russell Tree Experts to perform the work. The contract requires the completion of this work this year.

He said 27 of the trees are ornamental Callery Pear trees, many of which have are damaged or in danger of breaking in a wind storm.  This variety of pear was very popular several decades ago, but communities have found they become a problem as they age. The Parks Division has contacted neighbors about these removals.

Tree Marking

Patterson said the city remains committed to replacing more trees each year than are removed, noting the Parks Division planted 105 trees earlier this year. Its maintenance program will continue in the Spring as it has recently sent out specifications for pruning bids to five businesses.

Tuesday Top 5 is a weekly update from Mayor Ray DeGraw and the City of Grandview Heights. For more information, visit 

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