Development is going on in Berkshire Township, but perhaps not where some expected it.
A Tractor Supply Company store is rapidly being built on state Route 36 next to Mulch 1st. TSC, which has stores in Delaware and Johnstown, calls itself “the largest retail chain of rural lifestyle products in the United States.” Although in the township, it will have a Sunbury mailing address.
Some people may have thought there would be more action going on over at Wilson Road, north of state routes 36/37 and next to Interstate 71, because of the proposed $2 billion Planet Oasis/Arcadia sports entertainment complex that was announced last year. However, the two parties have filed suit against each other, and even a traffic study required by the Ohio Department of Transportation was on hold. Until recently, Berkshire Township’s website had taken to saying that as of a certain date, the developers had not approached zoning with further plans.
In fact, the Thursday, May 2, zoning meeting was cancelled “due to no agenda.”
The Berkshire Township Board of Trustees did meet on April 22, and it was routine. A family had their 16-acre property split into two lots; a resident was permitted to use corrugated pipe for covering the ditch in front of his Dustin Road home; and paperwork for a Joint Economic Development District administered by the City of Delaware was signed. Chair Bill Holtry said the JEDD was two years in the making. He said another JEDD for the Tanger Outlet Mall resulted in a recent $75,378 quarterly check for the township.
Holtry also noted that he saw where Delaware County had the highest average home prices in the state at $341,000. Many of the newer subdivisions in the county include trails and parks in and around them as an added amenity.
Berkshire’s Parks and Trails Director Beth Hugh told the trustees seven people were selected from all parts of the township for a new Community Park Board: Stephanie Allen, Summer Fenton, Julie Heitz, Tony Nicol, Emma Speight, Matthew Ulrey and Kelly Zakrajsek. The first meeting of the Community Park Board is 6 p.m. May 21. It is open to the public.
In November, the township published a Parks and Trails Master Plan. It discussed existing parks and trails such as the central Community Park and the Wilson Road shared-use trail. Proposed pathways include the Cheshire-to-Galena bike route (running from Alum Creek State Park to the Hoover Recreation Area), a trail along the future Sunbury Parkway, and shared-use trails for Berkshire Road, Carter’s Corners Road, Dustin Road, and 3 Bs & K Road. New parks would be at NorthStar (29 acres at the top of the township) and a Little Walnut Creek Greenway (owned by the City of Columbus).
The Rome Corners Trail, a proposed shared-use trail that would run from the NorthStar park to the Community Park and down Rome Corners road past Dustin Road to the end of the township, is closest to reality. Earlier this month, the Delaware County Trails Committee awarded the township $20,000 “to enhance a portion of the path along the Rome Corners Road frontage of the Berkshire Township Park,” said Economic Development Coordinator Jenna Goehring in a release. “Future phases of the trail will provide direct connection to the Cheshire-to-Galena bike route and connect to other parks and neighborhoods along the Rome Corners corridor.”
The master plan said of the Rome Corners Trail that “in addition, this route will provide a critical trail connection for future residential development that is anticipated within the southwest quadrant of the Township.”
Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0906 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.