GRANDVIEW HEIGHTS, Ohio (WCMH) – Grandview Heights held a groundbreaking ceremony Tuesday to celebrate two new facilities coming to the city.
One will be a new parks and recreation center, and the other a new fire/EMS, police, and administrative facility. In November of last year, Grandview Heights residents voted to approve $25 million in funding from Bond Issue 32.
Members of the community came together to celebrate what they said was a much-needed project.
“I tell you what. It was built in 1924. It’s a 100-year-old building. It looks like a 100-year-old building inside,” Grandview Heights Fire Chief Greg Eisenacher said. “This past week, we had a plumbing emergency where we had the bathroom flood.”
Some residents say it was long overdue.
“We have a young family here,” resident Ben Anthony said. “God forbid anything happens, but at the end of the day, if it does, I want to know that our firefighters and our police and our city are as best equipped as they can be to, you know, answer the call.”
The Fire/EMS, Police & Administrative Facility was built in 1924 and is the oldest fire station in central Ohio. The last substantial investment in the building was the 1963 addition of the police department and part of the administrative offices.
During the 2018 master planning process, it was determined that a new facility was needed to accommodate the increase in population and businesses as well as functional necessities to meet 21st-century standards, including hazmat protection zones, security features, fire/EMS living quarters, police interview rooms, and holding areas, elevators, and other ADA-compliant elements.
The current site at 1016 Grandview Avenue will be converted to parkland, providing a 1.5-acre expansion of the adjacent Wyman Woods Park.
“The biggest thing we’re looking forward to is the safety as we occupy the building, and we work 24-hour shifts every third day, so our members spend a third of their life in this building” Eisenacher said. “So diesel exhaust, you know, healthy, comfortable sleeping so they can get a good night’s sleep. You know, all the systems that allow you to occupy, to do our jobs that we can control, to keep our members safe, we can do in this new building.”
The other addition is the new parks and recreation facility which will be built on the site of the existing McKinley Shelter, replacing and augmenting opportunities for both recreation programming and community rental uses.
A longer-term master plan to upgrade McKinley Field Park playground spaces and the existing concession stand will be developed as part of a future comprehensive Parks and Recreation Master Plan, commencing in 2024.
“Having the community support us at a time right after COVID, where everything was tough, everything was going on,” Eisenacher said. “It meant the world to us, and it just really kept us doing what we do and it really, really gives us a lot of value in what we do by serving.
Other city officials agree.
“What I think it means is that the community just values deeply the safety services and the other services that we deliver,” Mayor Greta Kearns said. “So I also think it’s a vote of confidence in those services and in the leadership that is has gotten us to this place and is moving forward.”
The new parks and rec facility is expected to be completed next year while the new first responders building is set to be finished in 2025.