Annexation could lead to Kroger development in Springfield

The annexation of about 100 acres into the city of Springfield could pave the way for a new Kroger Marketplace store near Interstate 70.

The annexation includes four properties along Ohio 72 such as the former Stevenson property at 2600 Springfield-Jamestown Road and the former driving range at 2630 Springfield-Jamestown Road.

>>RELATED: Trustee: Springfield Twp. development could include Kroger Marketplace

Kroger Marketplace stores are often much larger and include a wider selection than the traditional grocery stories, including clothing, furniture and home goods. That could bring about 350 to 400 new jobs to Springfield, Deputy City Manager Bryan Heck said. The store on South Limestone Street currently employs about 40 people, he said.

“It’s an opportunity for additional jobs in our community as part of the larger Kroger network,” Heck said. “It provides that larger amenity that attracts more than even just our community, but really captures the benefits of being along I-70 to get people to stop, visit and spend money.”

Kroger is expected to hold a public information meeting about the proposed store from 4 to 6 p.m. on July 26 at the Springfield Center of Innovation: The Dome, Clark County Commissioner Rick Lohnes said. The company couldn’t be reached for comment on Wednesday.

Due to the Combined Economic Development Area agreements, Clark County commissioners were obligated to approve the annexation on Wednesday morning unless it was found to be non-conforming, County Administrator Nathan Kennedy said. The Clark County Engineer, Prosecutor’s Office and the Community Development Department all recommended approval.

The annexation will likely come before the Springfield City Commission in September.

Kroger is expected to submit an application for rezoning of the property for next month’s City Planning Board meeting, Heck said. Kroger is also currently performing a traffic study for the property, he said.

There are currently five Kroger locations in Springfield. The company is also planning to build a $1 million fuel center at its Derr Road location.

Ra Mar Estates resident Susan Page spoke out against the proposed development at the meeting. She asked commissioners to deny the request because the large Kroger Marketplace could become the anchor for a much larger development, changing the rural setting of the neighborhood for the worse. She’s especially concerned about traffic coming on and off the interstate.

“I’m quite sure the congestion that will result from this will be unfathomable,” Page said.

It’s unclear if Kroger will close its South Limestone Street location in favor of the larger store on Ohio 72. However, if that happened, Page said it would devastate the people of the south side.

“It’s the only grocery to serve south side residents,” Page said. “Aldi and Fulmer have long since closed.”

She was also disappointed there wasn’t more notice about the annexation hearing.

The Interstate 70 corridor is more attractive to Kroger than redeveloping its current location on South Limestone Street, Clark County Commissioner John Detrick said.

“We’re simply a pass through because there’s no way we can stop it,” Detrick said.

No other properties, including homes in the Limecrest area, are being annexed into the city. The property owners have interest in developing the land in the future and wanted access to Springfield water and sewer utilities, Heck said.

Springfield worked with property owners to agree to the annexation, Lohnes said. It was Kroger who chose the site, he said.

“The property owners have all agreed to do this,” Lohnes said. “One of them held out forever. It didn’t look like it was going to happen.”

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