Powell to purchase former 32-acre sheep farm for development

Powell to purchase former 32-acre sheep farm for development

POWELL, Ohio (WCMH) — Powell is moving forward with plans to enhance the city’s parks after agreeing to purchase a 32-acre site once home to a sheep farm.

Powell City Council voted earlier this month to enter into a purchase agreement for the 32-acre parcel located along State Route 750, owned by long-time resident Marjorie Bennett, who died last year at age 97. Bennett’s family, who operated a sheep farm on the site for many decades, decided earlier this year they were ready to sell the property.

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“Staff met with the family’s real estate agents to discuss land use and what the general interest had been from the community,” Powell City Manager Andrew White said. “We felt it was prudent to establish site control in order to preserve site control of any future development and ensure robust community engagement.”

While Powell has yet to decide exactly how the site will be developed, the city said preliminary discussions have started for pedestrian infrastructure improvements along State Route 750, green space expansion and recreational projects. City leaders also noted they are working with architecture and design firm MKSK on a plan to update the city’s parks, presenting “an ideal time to partner the effort with a supplemental planning project specific to the Bennett Farm property,” White said.

<em>City council voted to enter into a purchase agreement for the 32-acre parcel located along State Route 750. (Courtesy Photo/City of Powell) </em>
City council voted to enter into a purchase agreement for the 32-acre parcel located along State Route 750. (Courtesy Photo/City of Powell)

White said voter support for the income tax restructuring ballot initiative passed in May 2021 allowed the city to finally contemplate acquiring the Bennett’s property. Local leaders had accounted for the site in a 2015 plan for possible redevelopment, but limited resources at the time prevented serious consideration of the property.

“When the residents approved the income tax restructuring in 2021, this charted a new path forward for our community,” White said. “It has allowed the city to address deferred maintenance and has allowed us to make strategic acquisitions such as this for the benefit of our residents.”

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The acquisition aligns with several goals outlined by city council earlier this year, including enhancing parks and recreational space, and making more bike and walking path connections. The city is also working on expanding the downtown area’s walkability and amenities, reducing traffic congestion, increasing parking options and encouraging new business.

These goals have manifested into a larger project to redesign the city’s downtown, with co-working business COhatch recruited to be one of the main developers tasked with transforming a section of the downtown district at North Liberty and East Olentangy streets.

Plans call for the redevelopment to begin this spring with the demolition of a former office building at 50 E. Olentangy St., a 0.63-acre site where COhatch will then construct a 13,900-square-foot location. Beyond the COhatch building, the downtown redesign will continue with proposals to extend Scioto Street and collaborations with nearby landowners for a variety of mixed-use developments.

Other developments taking shape in Powell include Ohio State’s Wexner Medical Center $183 million outpatient campus, a years-long effort once regarded as the “largest economic development project” in the city’s history. The new outpatient facility will be built on nearly 30 acres at the northeast corner of Home Road and Sawmill Parkway, across from Olentangy Liberty High School.

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