A Jefferson Township resident questioned West Jefferson Village Council Monday night about rumors of a new business opening just outside the village.
Resident Ed Yates questioned if a new business, Turkey Hill, plans to open on Plain City-Georgesville Road (state Route 142), just north of the U.S. Route 40 intersection.
“I’ve heard about this Turkey Hill project and I wanted to know what you know about it,” Yates said. “I think for local businesses it’s a bad thing.”
Turkey Hill is a combined gas station and mini market business model that is owned and operated by Kroger. There are currently about 260 Turkey Hill locations in Pennsylvania, Indiana and the Columbus, Ohio area.
The Village of West Jefferson has been without a grocery store for a few years. In the past, some residents have expressed a grocery store is high on their lists of priorities.
“Have you been in one (Turkey Hill)?” council member Randy Otis asked. “We have one in Dublin and it’s almost like a mini grocery store.”
Mayor Darlene Steele said she was aware of the planning of such a business and attended a county zoning meeting with Public Safety Director Dave Metzger last week where the project was discussed.
“It’s going to set back a little way off U.S. 40. There will be exits and entrances off Plain City-Georgesville Road. The zoning change was approved but not the project,” Steele said. “People have been clamoring for a grocery store, but I’m not wild about the location,” she added. “It’s something we don’t have a say over since it’s outside the village.”
Metzger said, “From a lot of people that’s the number one thing I’ve heard about is a grocery store. They re-zoned the property without any public comment. The next meeting will be for public comment on the project in July.”
Yates said he thinks the business will have a detrimental effect on businesses in the village and is concerned about the location being so close to his own property.
“I think it’s a bad thing for our downtown businesses who are already hurting,” Yates said. “I’m right at the end where people will be coming out.”
In other council business, council president Ron Garver informed council that he recently attended a planning meeting for the annual July 4 Streetfest and a lack of donations is jeopardizing the fireworks display. The fireworks display has a price tag of about $10,000 and donations have dropped over recent years.
The committee hopes local businesses might give financial support to the fireworks show so they can provide the community with the same quality display as in years past.
“Right now they are short about $7,000 for the fireworks,” Garver said. “We will have to look at how much we can help.”
Council member Cory Coburn asked if council could see how much the village has helped all the special festivals, such as the Ox Roast, Christmas in the Park and the July 4 Streetfest, so they are all treated fairly.