Blog module icon

City of Grandview Heights Blog

Sep 17

The Tuesday Top 5: September 17th 2019

Posted on September 17, 2019 at 10:37 AM by Laura Oldham

The Tuesday Top 5: September 17th, 2019


Welcome to the Tuesday Top 5! Your source for the latest info on what is going on in Grandview Heights.

1. Parks Board gets look at McKinley Field Concepts

The central area of the McKinley Field Park may get a more natural feel under concepts unveiled to the Parks & Recreation Advisory Board during its September 11th meeting.

McKinley Option A

POD Design Principal Steve Kolwicz showed board members variations of a plan to create elevated and ground-level play areas between the ballpark’s concession stand and the shelter house. Those play areas would get built with a focus on natural materials such as boulders, vegetation and logs. Other ideas shared included netted ropes for climbing, a bridge connecting the elevated play areas and covering metal frames with vegetation to create tunnels.

McKinley Ropes Elevated Play

A planned walking path would surround the McKinley play area so parents can keep an eye on their children while enjoying a walk around the park. The proposal also included adding storage and water to the concession stand by the ballpark.

The current proposal builds on 2016 planning efforts that explored updating both the park and adjacent Wallace Gardens that included renovations throughout the park and gardens. That effort stalled for budget reasons. This time, we are looking closer at how to phase in the improvements and, of course, the costs.

The more we looked at the primary users in the park, the more it became apparent that our first stage of improvements should be the play area.  The proposal appears to have support to continue to move forward beyond concept design.

Board member Steve McIntosh suggested the park could use better restroom accommodations as the revamped park likely will attract more visitors. Other board members agreed, prompting the board to direct POD Design to incorporate that idea into a further expansion of the concessions stand as part of a more fleshed out conceptual plan that includes construction budget estimates.

The expectation is that budget will come back to the board for further consideration. I plan to request funding in the 2020 City Budget to keep this project moving forward. 

If you are interested in seeing a natural play park, Kolwicz mentioned that Upper Arlington incorporated many of these concepts in a section of Northam Park between the UA library and swimming pool which is similar to the size of McKinley Field.

McKinley UA Case Study

2. First Avenue Fall Fest set for September 26th

The Grandview Heights Parks & Recreation Department will host its inaugural First Avenue Fall Fest next week as the City continues to energize our newest park.

First Fall Fest logo

Parks & Rec has a family game area set for the duration of the festival’s 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. run time on Thursday, September 26th with games such as pumpkin bowling, fall crafts and sack races among the activities planned. The talents of Grandview artisan and a festival sponsor Dustin Weatherby of Sculpt Décor will get displayed near the entertainment stage.

First Avenue Park Hot Tonic

Many of the Grandview area businesses will have their own booths and tables at the festivals, with anticipation face painting, a hay bale obstacle course and pumpkin painting will be among the activities offered.

Two inflatables will anchor the fun at the Yard Street end of the park.

On the musical entertainment side, The Shazzbots – a family-friendly rock band based here in Columbus – will provide musical entertainment throughout the two-hour festival.

Park & Rec has featured the wedged-shaped park between Bobcat Avenue and Yard Street this year to spotlight the park not only as a passive park in the middle of Grandview Yard, but as a community gathering place for fun and entertainment.

The park served as a cinematic venue in late June for the second of three summer Flicks in the Heights as well as  the site of three Music at the Yard in August.

First Avenue Park Flicks

3. Police Offer Prescription Drug Disposal Bags

The Grandview Heights Department of Police have a limited number of pharmaceutical disposal pouches available to help residents to safely dispose of expired or unwanted prescription drugs in their household.

The 100 Deterra drug deactivation system pouches the Division received through the Alcohol, Drug Abuse and Mental Health (ADAMH) Board of Franklin County are part of an effort to reduce substance abuse and keep medications off the streets and out of area streams and rivers.


Pills, liquids or patches get placed in the pouch with the activated carbon pods provided and mixed with half a bag of warm tap water for 30 seconds. The sealed bag is then gently shaken to deactivate the medications. Residents can then put the sealed biodegradable pouch in the normal trash.

Each pouch can deactivate 45 pills, 6 ounces of liquid or six medicinal patches.
Those interested in the safe disposal of potentially harmful medications should contact Division of Police secretary Beth Sisinger at 614-340-5484, or, to arrange pickup of a pouch at the Municipal Building, 1016 Grandview Ave.

4. Commission to Review Grandview Crossing Projects

Three commercial buildings within Wagenbrenner Development’s Grandview Crossing mixed-used project will go before the Grandview Heights Planning Commission this week.  Wagenbrenner and their Gallas Zadeh Development partners will bring three retail/office buildings – a combined 27,109 square feet – to the commission on Wednesday, Sept. 18 at 7 p.m. -in Council Chambers, 1016 Grandview Ave. 

Grandview Crossing Retail Snip

The developers will seek final development plan approval for the proposed a 10,964-square-foot building and 7,257-square-foot building along the Dublin Road edge of the development plus a 8,888-square-foot building along the Grandview Avenue edge. The projects size and location are consistent with the zoning and preliminary plan City Council approved earlier this year.

The three retail/office properties mark the first significant projects to come back to the City for final approvals for construction. Wagenbrenner Development received Planning Commission approval in late June for a small building to shelter the water meter station serving the entire development.

The Planning Commission members also will receive amplifications to the environment and sustainability section of the City’s Growing on Tradition community planning document from Director of Administration and Planning Patrik Bowman before a likely commission vote on the policy statement. If approved, the community planning document will get referred to City Council for consideration.

5. Rotary Club Hosts Candidate Forum September 25th

Candidates for Grandview Heights and Marble Cliff elected office will square off Wednesday, September 25th to pitch their qualifications.

The event set for 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Grandview Heights auditorium, 1587 W. Third Ave., will feature contested races for Grandview Heights Mayor and Marble Cliff Village Council on the November 5th ballot.


Grandview Heights City Council President Greta Kearns and Councilman Steve Reynolds are vying for mayor after my decision not to seek a fifth, four-year term.

Reynolds’ decision to run for mayor coupled with the August 10th resignation of Steve Gladman from Council opened up two council seats.  First Avenue residents Rebekah Hatzifotinos and Ryan Edwards join City Council incumbent Emily Keeler on the ballot for the three seats in the uncontested race.

(Council chose Hatzifotinos at a special September 9th meeting to fill Gladman’s unexpired term through December 31st.)

Similarly, Emily Gephart and Kevin Guse are running unopposed for two Grandview Heights school board seats after incumbents Melissa Palmisciano and Debbie Brannan decided against running again.

Marble Cliff Council President Matt Cincione also is running unopposed to replace current Mayor Ken Studebaker, who served two, four-year terms as the village’s chief executive. Incumbent members of village council Kendy Troiano and Joanne Taylor face a challenge from Jeff Smith for the two seats up for grabs.

I urge residents to attend the forum. Even in the uncontested races, the candidates still will give positions on vital community issues. Understanding their perspective allows residents to hold them accountable at the ballot box and during their term of office.

Tuesday Top 5 is a weekly update from Mayor Ray DeGraw and the City of Grandview Heights. For more information, visit 

Sign up here to get text or email alerts with the latest news from the City of Grandview Heights: 

Continue Reading...

Sep 10

The Tuesday Top 5: September 10th 2019

Posted on September 10, 2019 at 4:29 PM by Laura Oldham

The Tuesday Top 5: September 10th, 2019


Welcome to the Tuesday Top 5! Your source for the latest info on what is going on in Grandview Heights.

1. Council taps Hatzifotinos to Fill Empty Seat

Members of Grandview Heights City Council have selected Rebekah Hatzifotinos to serve the last 3 1/2  months of a council seat vacated in August.


Council voted 5-0 during a special meeting on September 10th to appoint the active community volunteer to serve out the unexpired term of Councilman Steve Gladman while Hatzifotinos seeks election to a full, four-year term in the November 5th election. Gladman resigned his seat 
effective August 10th, after nearly 12 years as a leader on Council.

Hatzifotinos, 1294 W. First Avenue, earned a juris doctorate from Capital University in May 2004 and has practiced law for more than 12 years. Her community involvement includes serving as chair of the 2017-2018 Grandview Heights Charter Review Commission; pro bono work for the Children’s Hunger Alliance; and her current service as president of the Edison Intermediate & Larson Middle School PTO.

Two other residents had applied to fill the empty seat: Cody Blair, a McClain Road resident who serves as Director of Marketing for the Columbus Chamber of Commerce, and Ryan Edwards, a West Third Avenue resident who serves as an Assistant Vice President for the United Way of Central Ohio.

Edwards also will be on the November ballot, where the three candidates – including incumbent Emily Keeler – are assured of winning as three seats are open.

2. City offers $20K Reward to Solve 2013 Murder

Grandview Heights City Council has approved a $20,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons who murdered a single mother six years ago.
Council approved the funding at its September 3rd meeting to entice anyone who might have any information about the murder of Jennifer Cooke in August 2013 in her Woodhill Drive home.

Jennifer Cooke

The Division of Police has continued to investigate leads and evidence in this heinous crime and in recent years has had evidence in the case re-examined with the latest technology in an effort to identify the murderer. At no time has the City considered this a cold case.  Police discovered Cooke with multiple stab wounds on August 11th, 2013 but have focused on the period between midnight through 8 a.m. on August 9th as the likely time of the attack.

The smallest piece of information could help the police crack this case.

Anyone with any information regarding the case should contact Det. Drew Brubaker, Det. Zac Scurlock or Sgt. Ryan Starns at 614-488-7901 or 614-340-5484.

Click here to read the Division of Police news release.

3. M/I selling Yard Homes at Quick Pace

Demand for single-family living in Grandview Heights has Columbus-based M/I Homes selling its Grandview Yard homes at a good pace.


The homebuilder reports 28 homes in contract three months after it started taking contracts for the 79-home subdivision between West First and Williams avenues west of Bobcat Avenue.


Seven of those in contract are among the first 14 homes built along the north edge of West First between Bobcat Avenue and the truncated Edgehill Road. M/I also has secured home contracts for two homes under construction and four with completed foundations along the south edge of first where the homebuilder has 18 lots. Homes set for 9 other lots along that stretch also are in contract.

The remaining five homes under contract are located along Pullman Place just north of Williams, including the two that are framed and under roof at that intersection.

M/I has a map showing the status of its sales efforts here. In total, 18 homes are under roof but in various stages of interior construction in addition to the four foundations. The first two homes built serve as model homes.

M/I General Sales Manager Andrew Gottesman said closings on the first homes along First Ave. will occur by late October or early November. Meantime, the homebuilder will continue construction along West First and Pullman Place. “As a production builder,” Gottesman said, “scale is the name of the game.”

4. Advisory Board to Consider McKinley Upgrades

The Grandview Heights Parks Advisory Board will discuss improving the McKinley Field concession stand and the adjacent play area at its September 12th meeting.


The Parks & Recreation Department will present a concept plan in Council chambers, 1016 Grandview Avenue, at 7 p.m. looking at improving the concession stand, adding running water and building a bigger storage area.

The Parks Division also is proposing the development of a natural play area for the space between the ballfield and the shelter house to the east. The proposal calls for adding a natural play area with activities like boulders, logs, ropes, sloped ground areas and possibly a bridge. The plan also envisions a path around the play area for parents to walk around as their kids play.

The idea for the nature theme stems from earlier planning efforts for the McKinley Park/Wallace Gardens, which had included nature learning activities amid the woods between the gardens and shelter house section of the park.

Grandview Heights and Marble Cliff residents are encouraged to attend and add their voice to the conversation during the meeting

5. Pediatric Cancer Focus in September

Statistics show 43 children in America per day – or 15,780 per year – get diagnosed with cancer, with 40,000 under treatment at any given time. Sadly, 80 percent of those are diagnosed late when the cancer has metastasized. Cancer, in fact, is the leading cause of death by disease for children in the U.S.

proclamation snip2

Youngsters in our community have not been immune to the scourge of cancer over the years.
In recognition of the devastating impact pediatric cancer has on children and their families, as well as the need for greater awareness and research resources, I read a Proclamation at the September 3rd City Council meeting declaring September 2019 Childhood Cancer Awareness Month in hopes to solicit support for families of children with cancer and to urge residents to support fundraising efforts for pediatric cancer research.

Those interested in fundraising might consider the Center for Childhood Cancer and Blood Diseases at the Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital is one option for giving 
or other reputable nonprofits.

Tuesday Top 5 is a weekly update from Mayor Ray DeGraw and the City of Grandview Heights. For more information, visit 

Sign up here to get text or email alerts with the latest news from the City of Grandview Heights: 

Continue Reading...

Sep 04

$20,000 Reward: Homicide of Jennifer Cooke

Posted on September 4, 2019 at 10:54 PM by Laura Oldham

September 4, 2019

For Immediate Release


$20,000 REWARD


It has been more than six-years since tragedy struck the Grandview Heights community.  On August 11, 2013, officers discovered the body of Jennifer Cooke in her apartment on Woodhill Dr., the result of a homicide. The cause of death was multiple stab wounds. 

The victim's vehicle was recovered in the 1000 block of Palmer Rd., which is within walking distance to her apartment. We have reason to believe the suspect(s), not the victim, moved her vehicle to that location.

Our detective bureau is still actively working this case and has made great progress. However, we continue to need the public's assistance in bringing the person or persons responsible for this crime to justice. As such, a reward of $20,000 has been made available for any information leading to the arrest and conviction of a suspect. 

We are asking anyone that may have been in the area of Woodhill Dr. or Palmer Rd. on August 8 and 9, 2013, to contact our police department if they remember anything suspicious during that time. We are heavily focused on the early morning hours of Friday, August 9, 2013, specifically between the hours of midnight and 8:00am. 

The smallest piece of information could prove to be the most useful in this investigation. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Grandview Heights Police Detective Bureau by calling 614-488-7901 or 614-340-5484. 

Detective Drew Brubaker

Detective Zac Scurlock

Sergeant Ryan Starns



Continue Reading...