Kirsten Mustain

Grove Sun

Following a contentious discussion at Tuesday night’s meeting, the Grove City Council voted three to two to authorize the hiring of a local engineering company to provide the city with a master transportation plan.

City Manager Bruce Johnson said the company, Rose & McCrary, P.C., would study existing roadways within Grove's corporal limits and create a priority list regarding what streets need to be upgraded when.

The plan carries a price tag of $98,500.00.

"We do not currently have an analysis of the city's infrastructure," Johnson said.

He explained that if the study was not done, road work would continue to be done at the discretion of Street Department Supervisor Rick Tanner and/or on the basis of council politics.

"It's preventative," Johnson said. "Right now when citizens come to ask why we chose to pave a certain street over another we don't have an answer other than 'Rick Tanner says' or 'that's what the council wants.'"

Citizen Judith Read questioned whether the master plan would include sidewalks and walking trails.

Johnson said the plan does not address sidewalks with the exception of a few in and around the school and one from 13th Street to State Park Road.

Citizen Bill Miller said that a couple of other plans had already been done in the past, including one in 1995 and another in 2000, and said he didn't see why the city needed yet another plan.

Johnson pointed out that traffic patterns have changed since the time of the last study and Ward IV Council Member Gary Trippensee said there have been several new subdivisions built within the city limits since 2000.

"It's not rocket science," Miller said, noting that the city could do its own study and save the money.

Trippensee, Ward II Council Member Marty Follis and At Large Council Member Mike Davenport voted in favor of hiring Rose-McCrary to do the study.

Mayor Gary Bishop and Ward III member Larry Parham cast the two dissenting votes.

In other business, it was reported that ODOT is planning to widen 22 street entrances off of the newly widened U.S. 59 in the wake of citizen protests that the new exchanges were too narrow to negotiate safely.

Bishop said he would like to thank all the citizens who signed petitions and wrote to ODOT concerning the problem.