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Dec 31

The Tuesday Top 5: December 31st, 2019

Posted on December 31, 2019 at 6:15 PM by Laura Oldham

The Tuesday Top 5: December 31st, 2019

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


1. City to yield half of Fairview turnaround 

City Council has cleared the way to vacate the western portion of the Fairview Avenue turnaround as the Grandview Heights City School District prepares to begin construction on a new grade 4 through 8 building. The land set for transfer will become part of the school footprint, requiring the land ownership to get transferred to the district.

Fairview Layout SNIP

Council approved the Ordinance 2019-32 in a 7-0 vote during a special meeting on December 23rd.

City Council heard a first reading of proposed Ordinance 2019-32 at its December 2nd meeting that calls for the City to vacate the property and transfer the ownership to the school district.  The City acquired title to the semi-circular property in 1995 and created the turnaround at the same time the district gained control of the Fairview right-of-way from West First Avenue to the cul-de-sac built to allow school buses and other vehicles to turn around safely. The school district turned that vacated portion of the street into a playground for Edison students. 


The City and District remain in discussions about how best to handle the traffic flow after the completion of the new Edison/Larson complex and the extensive renovation of the existing high school. My administration had proposed re-establishing traffic on Fairview from Third to First in accordance with discussions that occurred during the Public Spaces and Spaces planning process and the support of the Grandview Heights Planning Commission for that plan. City Council in early July voiced support for the City administration to continue discussions with the school district and affected neighbors on traffic issues tied to the school project – including the possible reopening of Fairview with passage of Resolution 11-2019. 

The district has set a ceremonial groundbreaking for the project inside the high school gymnasium on Saturday, January 11th at 11 a.m. The Bobcat Beverages Cafe in the high school will serve coffee, hot chocolate, and donuts in the breezeway starting at 10:30 a.m.

2. Service secretary retires after 21 years

Pam Rybak retires today after 21 years as the Grandview Heights Service Department’s secretary. Pam first joined the Department in August 1998 after working with the E.P. Ferris engineering firm. She moved to Grandview Heights when she was in the third grade and she and husband Jim raised their own family here.

Pam Retire

Pam first served under Service Director Sam Troiano, who retired in 2009 after 55 years with the City. Pam continued to serve when the City’s financial crisis prompted me to lead the department for almost five years with Grandview Heights resident Dorothy Pritchard sharing the management duties as public works project manager. Current Direct Darryl Hughes joined the City in September 2014.

By that time, Pam had already started leading crews through a half-hour, yoga-based stretching routine first thing in the morning as part of this Administration’s injury reduction plan. The Parks Division crews – including her son that joined Parks in 1997 – have since joined that regimen. She will resume that duty in March at the request of the crews.

Pam said she expects to do some traveling in retirement but has not planned out other specific activities. On behalf of the City and its residents, I salute Pam for her work and serving as the public point of contact for these last two decades. Pam plans to continue her yoga-based stretching program through the Parks Department.  I believed that program has reduced injuries for our workers who take part in it.

3. City replanting trees in wake of removals

The recent removal of 52 trees along city streets prompted some emails and calls questioning the reasons for the removals and what is next.  The trees are removed because the city arborist has determined that the trees are a safety concern.  Once a tree is identified as a safety hazard, it needs to be removed. For larger trees, we often take a second step and do additional testing.

Tree Rotten Stump

I first want to assure the community as I have to these residents that taking down trees is done with careful consideration as to the condition of those removed as supervised by the Division of Parks and based on the professional urban forestry standards guiding the City. You may read further details in my November 19th blog.

The City firmly stands by its commitment to remaining a Tree City USA community. The Division has increased that commitment through the digital tracking of all of the trees located within the curb lawn right-of-way as well as those located within City parks. The tree inventory includes notations of the trees’ condition to catch disease and weather damage in the early stages and planning the removal of tree that have become damaged either through vandalism or accidents, or through natural disease and weather.

tree planting

I am also hoping residents have noticed that City crews have already replaced many of the trees recently cut down. The warm weather of late has allowed this activity typically done in the fall or spring to take place the last weeks of December. In all, the Parks Division is in the midst of planting 105 trees along our streets, twice as many as were removed this year. This is a clear indication of the commitment the City has to having our streets lined with trees of high caliber for years to come.
Early in 2020, contractors will begin trimming more than half of the city street trees so that they remain healthy as well as clear of pedestrian traffic, traffic signs and utility poles.

4. Reservations of shelter house rental opens

The start of the New Year means residents can begin reserving shelter houses at Wyman Woods and McKinley Field.

Wyman Shelter House

Walk-in shelter reservations for Grandview Heights and Marble Cliff residents begin Thursday, Jan. 2 at the Grandview Heights Parks & Recreation Department offices, 1515 Goodale Blvd., at 8 a.m. Nonresidents must wait until February 3rd.

The W.W. Williams Shelter House costs $120 for Sunday through Thursday rentals and $240 for non residents. Costs on Friday and Saturday run $240 for residents and $400 for non residents. Nonprofits can get a 15 percent discount. Those renting the shelter house may also pay an additional $250 fee allowing them to serve alcohol.

The McKinley Field shelter house costs $60 for residents and $240 for nonresidents. 
Those interested in renting a shelter house may call the Parks and Recreation Department for more information: 614-488-3111 or email Pam Martin at More information also is available here.

5. Capping a year, career of transformation

The Grandview Heights community has experienced a lot of change during my 16 years as Mayor. I believe our elected officials and city staff have done a great job of providing service and positioning our city for a strong future. I have been fortunate to be able to surround myself with a wonderful group of people including great directors and supervisors who work hard and care about our city. I also want to thank all the employees I have worked with over the years who provide the day to day services, many times in dangerous conditions. Thank you.  

Mayor At Work Crop

The last decade has seen almost a billion dollars of private investment in the commercial areas of our community.  Over the next few years our community will continue to see planned growth including construction of additional office, retail and residential projects.  The majority of the new large construction projects will be in 3 areas: the Grandview Yard and to clean up of our last two major brownfield sites: Grandview Crossing (at the corner of Grandview and Route 33), and the expansion of Grandview Yard south of Goodale Boulevard.  These projects will provide additional revenue for the city and the school district.

We have a new Community Plan in place to guide infill redevelopment opportunities and standards. The City also completed a “Spaces and Places Plan” this year that looks at future city facility needs and the development of additional public spaces throughout the community.  The relocation of the City’s Service Department, Building, Zoning Department and Parks Division into a new facility to McKinley Ave. allows the City to begin planning for a new City Hall and Safety Services complex on the old Service Department site at the corner of Grandview Avenue and Goodale Boulevard.Our success is the result of the hundreds of people that have contributed their time to get us to where we are today.  Not only elected officials and City staff, but so many residents who have stepped up and volunteered to serve on advisory groups, City boards and work groups.  I am proud the work we have done and of the great partnerships we have: public (including development and service agreements with Grandview Heights School District, Marble Cliff, Columbus, Clinton Township), non-profit organizations and private development agreements that have benefited our community.

These partnerships have allowed us to move from an economically distressed community to a Triple AAA credit rated city. We have been able to invest hundreds of millions of dollars in our infrastructure, invest in our parks, expand our services and position our city and school for a strong secure financial future.

I strongly encourage our new leaders to continue our current strong commitment and investing in our infrastructure and community spaces.  I am so excited about the next 10 years for our community and the region. We will continue to see exciting things happening including a new Crew Stadium within walking distance, redevelopment of the Northwest Corridor (Olentangy River Road) to include enhanced public transportation, continued expansion of bike ways and trails and a new large Metro Park, a few miles north of us.  Finally, I wish our new mayor Greta Kearns great success.  I also like the makeup of Council and believe they will do a great job for our City.  Most of all I thank you, the residents for your support all of these years. It’s been my honor to serve.

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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