The Springfield News-Sun first broke the news about a proposed $20 million Kroger Marketplace in Springfield Twp. in April and has closely tracked it since then, including stories digging into concerns about traffic and why supporters say new development is needed.
A proposed Kroger Marketplace development near I-70 split Clark County residents at a public hearing Tuesday, with opponents citing traffic and trash concerns and supporters saying new development is needed on the south side.
Springfield city commissioners held a hearing Tuesday night to discuss the annexation of more than 99 acres in Springfield Twp. into the city, which could lead to the development of a new Kroger Marketplace store. The hearing also considered the rezoning of 28 acres for the proposed store at 2630 Springfield-Jamestown Road.
City commissioners will vote on the annexation and rezoning Oct. 11. City staff members recommended approval of both requests.
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There are currently five Krogers in Springfield. The location on South Limestone Street will likely be closed if the new store is built on Ohio 72, company officials have said. That store currently employs about 40 people and the expanded one would likely have to 350 jobs.
Kroger is also performing a traffic study for the property to alleviate traffic concerns on Ohio 72, which is about 60 percent complete, Kroger zoning consultant Anne McBride said. It was recently expanded to include more areas than previously examined, she said.
The development will cause major traffic problems on Ohio 72, Springfield Twp. resident Deb Loewer said. It takes three to five minutes to turn from Hedgely Road under current traffic patterns, which she said will only increase with the addition of the new development.
It will also eliminate shopping opportunities for city residents who don’t have transportation or aren’t wealthy enough to purchase items at the new store, Loewer said.
“There is a large sector of the population that will not be able to afford to shop in this location,” Loewer said.
The new Kroger is the best thing that could happen to the south side, Springfield Twp. resident Donald Hatfield said. He drives to Bechtle Avenue to shop because it has better selection, he said.
“We need more and more progress just like we have on Bechtle Avenue,” Hatfield said. “Yes, there will be more traffic. Any time you’re doing anything that’s going to bring more revenue and new jobs, you’re going to have more traffic.”
>>DETAILS: $20M Kroger divides some residents along Springfield, township line
Clark County Commissioner John Detrick supports the new development, citing the large number of new jobs and greater food selection.
“I’m wholeheartedly in favor of it,” Detrick said.
The new development is good for the city, but the community has concerns about moving the store from the inner city to the township, Springfield resident James Elder said, specifically parents sending their young teenagers to the store and how they might be treated by law enforcement or others.
The lack of busing available to residents on weekends and evenings to the new store is also a concern, he said.
“It’s the entire city that you have to take into consideration,” Elder said. “We’re not against progress, but I don’t think we should make progress on the backs of those who can’t participate in the progress.”
Kroger Marketplace stores are often much larger and include a wider selection than the traditional grocery stores, including clothing, furniture and home goods.
Initial development plans submitted to the city’s Community Development Department show the popular Seattle-based Starbucks Coffee will have a location inside the big box store. It could also have a pharmacy with drive-through, Little Clinic health care center, bank with drive-through and a 20,000-square-foot Kroger Fuel Center, public records show.
The store would also feature ClickList, an online shopping service that allows shoppers to order groceries online, pay for them and then pick them up at a later time. The plans also show two nearly 10,000-square-foot outlots near the Kroger fuel center along Ohio 72.