A new community-based initiative called Grow with Grove aims to enhance and enrich the community of Grove by leveraging the growth already under way in the area, according to a presentation to Grove Rotary on Wednesday, December 14.

Still being fleshed out with input from multiple groups and organizations within the community, Grow with Grove (GWG) is structured around a set of six teams focused on specific areas of community life, said Christy Wright, Grove Rotary president and GWG steering committee member.

“Right now, we can see exciting evidence of growth and expansion, including downtown revitalization, new business and industry, new casino, new hotel and more,” Wright said.  “The question is how can we leverage that growth in a way that benefits our community.”

Wright said, “We are fortunate to have extremely dedicated and active people to take the lead on various aspects of the initiative.  These team members come from such groups as Rotary, City of Grove, Chamber of Commerce, business and industry, tribes, school district, health care institutions, non-profits and financial institutions, among others.”

The six teams of Grow with Grove are focused on new community facilities, infrastructure, economic development, quality of life, project funding and communications.  Each team has met several times since an initial visioning session in July.  More than 40 community leaders attended the first session, facilitated by Sherri Smith-Gray, a community planning consultant based in Grove.

The New Community Facilities Team is examining the feasibility of constructing new buildings for large and medium-sized exhibitions, conferences and other community purposes.  Chaired by Wright, the team would like to see replacement facilities for the current Civic Center and other meeting areas.

Grow With Grove Initiative

Led by Grove City Manager Bill Keefer, the Infrastructure Team is looking at such needs as improved roads and streets, emergency services, sidewalks, signage and other aspects of the community.  The Economic Development Team, chaired by Cy Elmburg, is working on initiatives for nurturing Grove’s economy, such as workforce development, mentoring and others.

The Community Quality of Life Team, led by Pete Churchwell, is developing strategies for helping build a stronger community, such as community health, including healthy lifestyles and drug awareness; shoreline and community beautification; environmental, career and life skills education; and increased lake access.  Recently a new sub-team was formed with a special focus on education, considered a high priority among the group.

Funding for GWG initiatives is the focus of the Project Funding Team, chaired by Bob Plunk.  The team is exploring the creation of a community foundation to apply for federal, state and foundation grants.

The PR/Marketing Team, led by Pauline Hale, helps communicate the Grow with Grove goals, initiatives and accomplishments.  In addition to working with news media, the group is in the process of establishing a web site that will introduce and provide regular updates on the GWG effort and also has a Facebook page.

Members of the public are invited to become involved in Grow with Grove, Wright said.  She said a public “town hall” meeting will be organized sometime in the coming months.