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All posts for the month August, 2012

A small square of green

Published August 17, 2012 by justicewg

If you have been following the Grandview Yard development from the start you knew that an acre of land was set aside by NRI for use by the city of Grandview. The land was called a park during the initial planning, but nothing was said about how this park would fit into the development or what would be on the land. The initial planning documents showed a small square of green off the main road that transects the Yard from north to south, with a small circle that suggests a fountain. Another triangle of green was wedged against Goodale Boulevard, but I think the present buildings have covered that bit of land.

Word from the city is that an open period for suggestions from residents will be used to decide the final plan for the land. Email suggestions are encouraged (send to Mr Bowman at pbowman@grandviewheights.org) , and a public meeting will be held at 7 p.m. on Aug. 22, in the middle school commons. The city says on its website:

The first step is to generate ideas expressed as a vision of an activity or program that is needed or desired by the community i.e. a family gathering place, children’s recreation area, special event venue, community arts. The idea may be expressed in a more programmatic form such as a plaza, fountains, gathering areas, arts center, meeting center, a city government office.

That last suggestion – city office space – is undoubtedly high on the wish list of the mayor and the council. The city has been trying to replace the aging city building that holds most of its offices for years, the voters turned down a levy back in the 90’s.

Return of the Little Red Charette?

Back in 2007 the city was seeking input on long range plans for the city’s parks and recreation programs, and used a number of meetings that were based on the Charette system. It was an impressive method and seemed to be very good at bringing brainstorming ideas to the surface for discussion. The recession that followed those meetings brought a halt to all the plans, but the process was good. I hope the charette will return.

A statuesque suggestion

I know what will be the result of all the planning will be – a plaza with a fountain. Every city has one. It is safe and non-controversial, and it leaves the land open for use in festivals, concerts, or other mass gatherings.

The development at Grandview Yard is a copy of the European style building planning, with higher intensity, urban mixed use, multi-story buldings. Why doesn’t Grandview also copy the decoration styling from those countries?

How about a nice impressive statue! I looked around the net and found these statues.

Proposed statue for Grandview Yard

This kind of statue says “sophisticated!”. The guy is Carl something or other – doesn’t matter. Plunk this guy down in the plaza and we have instant class. How about two guys?

Two guys

It’s class ideas like this that will get Grandview noticed!

(later) The meeting was held and the ideas for the Yard land (at least the ones that were reported) were very familiar.

An indoor pool for use by the Grandview swimming team has been pushed by some parents forever. The last time it got voiced was when the board unilaterally decided to artificial turf the football field. I believe it was also promoted at the charette.

A community center with pool, basketball courts, a running track, etc., was another recycled suggestion from the city’s parks and recreation program meetings. The multi-million dollar cost of a building that would be large enough to hold all these facilities is well beyond what Grandview could come up with.

I don’t even know why a library facility was suggested, the city has trouble funding the present building and staff.

Keep thinking about those statues. They may be expensive to buy, but they need no staffing or maintenance!

(later)

Disappointing final results

The city had a dedication ceremony for the First Avenue Park in May of 2017. I don’t think any of the suggestions were used, it is mostly green space. There are a few stone flower beds, and the west end of the park has a stone enclosed area that contains – some electrical transformers. Even a small plaza and a fountain would have been better than the stark grass that barely qualifies it to be called a park.

HealthSouth corp. is planning to build a rehab facility in Grandview Yard

Published August 6, 2012 by justicewg

Some stories have you scratching your head, trying to figure out if they are good news or bad.

On one hand, a 50 bed hospital that will employ 120 people is good! Heathcare is one of the only sectors of the economy that is still expanding (look at the buildings going up in the OSU hospital area). Healthcare is a stable, long term business that generally has good wages and few externalization problems. The facility will need a lot of parking slots, but not much more than any other business. It will create no noise problems or police issues like a bar (I doubt the rehab patents will be allowed to wander around the area causing problems).

However – this is not what we were expecting back when G.Y. was hoped to be the “mini Easton”. A look for healthcare facilities in the Easton directory shows a few medical offices, a sleep center, and a lasik surgery clinic. Those are good tenants, but not regional draws. The major retail businesses that were to be the center of the Yard have yet to sign up.

As far as the HealthSouth corp. that is running the new facility – you don’t get much worse back-story for a business. Read the bio of Richard Scrushy, the founder. A southern kid who dropped out of school, he went on to a career in healthcare and founded HealthSouth in 1984. Quoting the wiki:

At its height, HealthSouth employed more than 50,000 physicians, was the “nation’s largest provider of outpatient surgery and rehabilitative and diagnostic healthcare services”, and had over 2,000 facilities in the United States, Puerto Rico, Australia, and the United Kingdom. HealthSouth facilities worldwide saw more than 120,000 patients daily, and with earnings around $106 million in 1997, Scrushy was the third highest paid CEO in the United States.

Then the fall. He had charges brought against him by the SEC, but beat them in 2005. This was followed by an indictment that included 30 counts of money laundering, extortion, obstruction of justice, racketeering, and bribery . He was convicted and sentenced to 6 years in jail. The investors won a suit and have tried to recover billions from the guy.

Obviously Scrushy is long gone from the corporate offices at HealthSouth, but a company with that sort of history doesn’t really inspire confidence.

More from HealthSouth at a Grandview Heights Planning Commission meeting.

“The facility will provide rehabilitation services for patients with health issues relating to such conditions as brain, cardiac and spinal-cord injuries … about 130 employees, with an average salary of just under $70,000”, Wilson said.

August 2013 update: This story on CBF says HealthSouth’s Grandview Yard plans in limbo. Yikes.

Oct 2014 update: Another story about HealthSouth looking at Westerville for a potential hospital site, but no word of how the plans in Grandview are going.

June 2015 update: The Westerville rehab hospital is being built. I don’t think the Grandview Hts. location is going to happen.

Grandview Yard announced – from GW

Published August 4, 2012 by justicewg

The plan for the Grandview Yard as presented in 2007

Another re-post from the old blog, this is from December 2007. It is very instructive to read the information that NRI gave at the first announcement meeting, back in the days before the recession hit with full force and they were optimistic that the full plan for the development could be completed in a short time. Although they never gave a firm timeline for building, and the slow pace of the last 5 years was probably in their contingency plans, they certainly gave the impression at the time of announcement that things would be moving fast.

I have some pride in the predictions I made in this story back in 2007. A lot of what I said has come true. It’s still up in the air whether the Yard will be a mini-Easton or a standard shopping center with the kind of stores you find at the  Tuttle Crossing mall, but becoming an Easton clone seems to be an unlikely outcome.  The Giant Eagle to be built on the north side of third was not even in the plans back in 2007, that land was tacked on later.

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