George W. Davis

GREEN: Asked to approve $250,000 for all necessary professional and contracting services to relocate the 125-year-old East Liberty Schoolhouse, City Council on Tuesday approved only $35,000 to keep preservation efforts moving forward.

Planning Director Wayne Wiethe said $35,000 was needed for him to take immediate steps to collect data that will allow council to decide the two-room schoolhouse’s fate.

The structure, on state Route 619 just west of South Arlington Road, needs to be moved or razed to make room for a Circle K fuel station and convenience store on the northwest corner of that intersection.

“We are still in the early stages of this, gathering information,” said Council President Chris Humphrey, who proposed the sharp reduction in the funding request. He said he favors moving the schoolhouse, built in 1890, to preserve a piece of Green history, “which is valuable to do, but at what cost?”

Mayor Dick Norton said one investor has indicated interest if the schoolhouse is moved to city-owned property just west of Arlington and north of Warner Alley, which the council already has vacated to help make room for Circle K.

The mayor is hoping the city could recoup 50 to 70 percent of its costs by finding an investor if the schoolhouse is moved.

At-large Councilman Gerard Neugebauer said he is unhappy with moving to the city property because of a riparian corridor at the site.

The council is facing a mid-July deadline for a decision.

Also Tuesday, the council approved the final site plan for the three-story, 50-unit Greensburgh Manor senior apartment complex, with rates based on average median income in the area.

The manor is part of the 23.5-acre commercial/residential complex off Massillon Road now known as The Grove and The District of Green, just south of Graybill Road.

Cindy Williams, of Green Project Development and president of The Grove, is the developer.

The total complex cost has been estimated at $45 million to $50 million. The project would provide hundreds of jobs and additional income tax revenue that could reach $500,000 annually just based on residents in the Villas section, a spokesman said.

During a 90-minute public hearing on amending Williams’ general planned development district plan, Joseph McCabe, vice president of Woda Group of Westerville, and Todd Foley, project manager for POD Design of Columbus, described plans for 192 upscale apartment units in the market-rate District. The units would range from one to three bedrooms, focusing on empty nesters and younger families. The District formerly was known as Grove Villas.

The District, at the east end of the property off Massillon and Burgess roads, would feature three-story, garden-style apartment units, townhouse buildings and carriage garages with two one-bedroom units above the garages plus a large clubhouse and other amenities.

Rent would range from $945 to $1,800 a month, Foley said.

George W. Davis can be reached at mediaman@sssnet.com.