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July 21, 2011

Golf Village at Central Park opens By MARLA K. KUHLMAN ThisWeek Community Newspapers

A former train depot serves as the clubhouse for the Golf Village at Central Park, which opens to the public today (July 21), along with a nine-hole, par-3 golf course and driving range at 789 Science Blvd. Gahanna leaders hope it’s the engine that helps drive more economic development at the 191acre business campus in the city’s office, commerce and technology district. “This is a true public-private partnership,” said Barry Fromm, founder and CEO of Value Recovery Group Inc. (VRC), the owner of the golf village’s clubhouse. “With the Central Ohio Community Improvement Corp. (CIC)

as a partner, the community gets this beautiful property,” he said. In addition to VRC and the CIC, many other agencies were instrumental in transforming the former Bedford landfill into what’s being touted as a premier destination for golfers of all ages and abilities. The other project partners include the city of Gahanna, Franklin County, the Ohio Department of Development and the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency. Gahanna development director Anthony Jones said the multiple governmental agencies and private-sector investors creatively collaborated to remediate the significant environmental hazard, and their shared vision has allowed Central Park to become one of central Ohio’s prime de-

velopment areas. James Schimmer, Franklin County economic development director, said the landfill has been turned into a landmark. The Golf Village itself is being managed professionally by Tartan Golf & Management. The CIC owns the 68-acre golf course that’s on the highest point in Franklin County, overlooking the Columbus skyline. Jones said the 2-acre driving range with four target greens is the largest in Franklin County. He called Fromm a true entrepreneur and one of the most creative people he knows. Fromm was instrumental in the adaptive reuse of the only landBy Eric George/ThisWeek fill-turned-golf-course, where he moved a former train depot from Barry Fromm of BRG II LLC and CEO of Value Recovery Group (right) talks with Gahanna development director Anthony Jones about the new Golf Village at Central Park. The golf course is sched-

See GOLF, page A2 uled to open to the public July 21.

Proposed detention basin on city radar for years By MARLA K. KUHLMAN ThisWeek Community Newspapers

Photos courtesy of Karl Wetherholt/City of Gahanna

A view of work on the bridge for Tech Center Drive can be seen in the photo above and below. Plans for the Buckles Office Park and rezoning plans will go before Gahanna City Council in August.

Office park moves forward By MARLA K. KUHLMAN ThisWeek Community Newspapers Gahanna is priming itself for new economic development. The planning commission on July 13 approved a preliminary plat and zoning for a 12-acre tract at the southwest corner of I270 and Tech Center Drive, where an office park is planned. Trivium Development LLC submitted the preliminary plat for the Buckles Office Park on Tech Center Drive, as well as rezoning from select-commercial planned district to office, commerce and technology zoning. The plan will go before city council in mid-August. Commission member David Thom called the Buckles proposal a “major event” for Gahanna. With the Tech Center bridge scheduled for completion in October, Thom said, the 12-acre rezoning and development is merely the start of bigger things to come for Gahanna.

Trivium representative Tim Spencer said ing that would create 83 new full-time jobs the rezoning is a joint effort between the in the city and generate about $900,000 ancity’s development department and his com- nually in payroll taxes. pany. Spencer said he’s a few days away from The rezoning is expected to open the door See OFFICE PARK, page A4 to a 40,000-square-foot medical office build-

A recommendation and report are due July 25 concerning a proposed detention basin near the Woods at Shagbark, but the issue remains in the forefront among local residents. Gahanna City Council is expected to hear the recommendation and report during its July 25 committee meeting. During the July 18 council meeting, Academy Court resident Windy McKenna asked council to move forward with the proposed detention basin that has been studied for five years as a solution to help control erosion and flooding along the McKenna Creek watershed. “So many of us have lost so much of our backyards,” McKenna said. “We had to sandbag because our land was going into the creek.” She said water comes with such energy and force that much of the creek bank has disappeared. “We’ve lost bridges and everything else,” McKenna said. “We were happy (with the proposal) and felt it was the most economical to do it this way. I want to reinforce our commitment to this project.” Council president David Samuel said he agrees that the project should move forward. “A small number of people have slowed it down,” he said. George Mrus, president of the Shagbark condominium associ-

ation, told ThisWeek that shortterm and long-term solutions have been studied in partnership with the city for the past five years. Although about nine Woods at Shagbark residents oppose the basin, Mrus said, about 25 letters have been sent to council in favor of it. “The community recognizes that partnering with the city is in its best interests for both the value of the properties, short term and long term, as well as partnering with the city to keep dialogue going on this and future issues,” he said. Many of the basin’s opponents addressed council July 5, citing the loss of trees that hide them from Giant Eagle, as well as the environmental effect on the existing habitat. Opponent Keith Webster told ThisWeek the proposed basin might help stop flooding downstream, but he believes a less destructive way and a more ecologically viable way could be found. Gahanna service director Dottie Franey plans to meet with Columbus and Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) representatives to revisit options to alleviate erosion and flooding at areas north of Morse Road. She also plans to advertise the project while continuing to do research. In August 2007, Franey said, the city hired URS to study the See BASIN, page A4

Otting to leave Gahanna schools; board hires Columbus replacement By MARLA K. KUHLMAN ThisWeek Community Newspapers

Gahanna-Jefferson Public Schools’communication specialist is stepping down, and her replacement has been chosen. After 12 years as communication specialist, Mary Otting announced last week that’s she’s leaving, effective Aug. 12. The Gahanna-Jefferson Board of Education on July 14 approved hiring Michael Straughter under a two-year contract at an annual salary of $67,447 and benefits package of $23,476, for a total annual package of $90,923. He has been the communication specialist in the Columbus City Schools for 11 years. He will begin

working in Gahanna on Aug. 8. “It has been an honor to serve the Gahanna-Jefferson community: students, parents, teachers, administrators and G-J residents,” Otting said. “Thank you to the superintendent, board of education and the many, many people I’ve had the opportunity to work and interact with over the past decade. I will continue to be part of the Gahanna-Jefferson community as I pursue future endeavors.” Superintendent Mark White said he’s sad to see Otting leave, but he also respects her decision to pursue new challenges. “She has been a true professional the whole time she has been here, and she has been a real joy to work with,” he said. White complimented her work on various school

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district publications, as well as website improvements. “Michael will bring new ideas to us, and we look forward to working with him also,” White said. Otting told ThisWeek she looks forward to new challenges ahead. During her tenure as communication specialist, she noted numerous accomplishments, including student achievement by attaining an “excellent” rating on the state report card. Also, the Gahanna-Jefferson Education Foundation was formed and has raised more than $425,000 for educational grants to enhance programs. She said several dynamic website redesigns and electronic communications have enriched the information the district provides to parents and residents.

“The breadth and depth of student and staff accomplishments with the support of our community have been vast and are certainly exemplified in examples such as the Lincoln High School veterans memorial, the superior awards and ratings received by our bands, choirs, speech and debate, athletics, DECA and Science Academy programs, to name a few,” Otting said. G-J human-resources director Matt Cygnor said Otting would be greatly missed and that the district wishes her the best in future endeavors. Cygnor said the district had about 50 applications for the position, but few candidates had school communications experience. See OTTING, page A2

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ThisWeek Rocky Fork Enterprise 7/21  

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