Photos by Tim Johnson
A spirit of cooperation has played a large role in the history of Groveport. The suburb, which passed the 5,000-resident mark and became a city in 2011, owes its name to a compromise struck in 1847.
Before that, two local leaders — Jacob B. Wert and William H. Rarey — each were vying to have the community named for them. The town was divided along what is now College Street into Wert’s Grove to the west and Rarey’s Port to the east.
After much debate, village residents opted for Groveport, a name that seemed fair to both men.
Twenty-eight years later, residents decided to build a town hall. Village officials worked with two community organizations and Madison Township officials to pay the construction costs.
Today, Groveport Town Hall is home to the city’s collection of historical artifacts and other rotating exhibits. A Lego exhibit is planned for Nov. 7 through Dec. 31. Admission to the display, which includes castles, landscapes and famous landmarks built with Lego bricks, is free.
The city continues to work with local organizations and neighboring communities to provide quality programming for residents and visitors.
The Groveport Recreation Center also welcomes guests from other cities. The center includes a zero-entry indoor pool, a lazy-river water feature, a rock-climbing wall, multi-purpose rooms and a fitness center. Visitors can purchase a day pass to the facility, which opened in 2004. The recreation department hosts birthday parties, “parents’ night out” events and other programming at the center.
The city also offers kid-friendly programming at Crooked Alley KidSpace, an entire building dedicated to kids and learning. Preschool Playgroup, held on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, gives parents and caregivers a chance to talk and interact while their youngsters sing songs, make crafts and enjoy activities. Parents stay for the 90-minute program, which introduces kids to pre-reading, listening and other skills, said Angela Martin, their playgroup coordinator.
“It’s a comfortable way for them to interact with other kids,” she said.
Martin also leads music and movement classes on Thursdays and art classes on Fridays.
All of the preschool classes are drop-in and cost $2 for Groveport residents and $3 for non-residents.
KidSpace features a classroom, play area and a library, plus there’s an outdoor playground with tree house that is open to the public.
The city also offers weekly science, history or nature programs at the Heritage Nature Center, a log house that dates from 1825.
The center has a nice selection of nature-related artifacts for kids to look at, said naturalist Tina Dillman. The collection includes taxidermy animals, skulls and animal skins. The displays are very hands-on, she added.
“If you come in, you can touch most things,” Dillman said. “If there’s something, I don’t want you to touch, it’s on a high shelf.”
The city also allows naturalists from the Columbus Metro Parks to offer programs at the facility. Park staff use the city building because nearby Three Creeks Park does not have a nature center, Dillman said.
Even without a nature center, Three Creeks offers a variety of fun activities for families. The pet-friendly park has trails, playground equipment and a fishing pond.
The city’s Degenhart Park is a good family destination, said Nina Wenger, who lives just outside the city limits. The park has play equipment and plenty of paths for kids to investigate, said Wenger, whose son started kindergarten this year.
The Wengers like to walk from the park to Dairy Queen for ice cream on hot days.
Another must-see in Groveport is Motts Military Museum, founded by local resident Warren Motts. The museum has an amazing array of military memorabilia dating from the American Revolution. The collection also includes military vehicles and aircraft.
Families also will enjoy visiting Dill’s Greenhouse, which hosts a variety of classes and special events.
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