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Eastmoor revitalization plan could reach council by March
By David Treadwell
Staff Writer

November 20, 2006

A plan to revitalize the commercial corridors of Broad and Main streets in Eastmoor is expected to reach Columbus City Council for action by March, city planning officials told the Eastmoor Civic Association Nov. 14.

Council approval is the final step in moving the sweeping redevelopment plan from the design stage to the implementation stage, Urban Design Manager Daniel Thomas said at a civic association workshop on the project.

“Implementing the recommendations contained in this plan is the critical component to ensuring concrete changes occur along both corridors,” Thomas said. “Implementation will require the active participation of a variety of entities: neighborhoods, businesses, property owners and the city.”

Eastmoor lies between Bexley on the west and Whitehall on the east, and Livingston Avenue on the south and the Columbus & Ohio River Railroad on the north.

The commercial corridors in question run from Gould Road east to Napoleon Avenue along Broad Street and from Gould Road east to Barnett Road along Main Street.

“Since Bexley and Whitehall have been doing major things to redevelop the sections of these corridors in their cities, it’s a perfect time for Columbus to do the same thing in Eastmoor,” said the civic association president, Ellen Peterson.

Under the plan, developed by the civic association in tandem with city planners, a variety of measures would be undertaken to improve the physical environment of the corridors.

These measures include burying overhead utility lines, installing new street-lighting fixtures, constructing traffic islands at places with dead space in the central lane, and planting more greenery.

In addition, the plan identifies five “project areas” in need of major makeovers to improve their appearance and use:

  • the vacant parcel on Broad Street between Broadleigh and Chesterfield
  • the intersection of Broad and James
  • the east end of Main Street
  • the three motels on Main Street: Motel 1, Capital and Brookside
  • the vacant apartments on Broad between Waverly and Weyant
  • The plan also calls for developing a marketing strategy that would brand each corridor with a distinct image — Main Street, for example, as the “Historic National Road" — and would encourage neighborhood-scale retail, services and office uses.

Vince Papsidero, the city’s Planning Division administrator, said that changing the character of the corridors through such improvements is the best way to rid the thoroughfares of the tawdry, marginal enterprises that now blot the streetscape.

“Change the character of the street, and they will move somewhere else,” Papsidero said. However, he cautioned: “It won’t happen overnight. It takes time, unfortunately.”

Residents at the workshop expressed particular concern about the crime and prostitution along Main Street.

Eastside Messenger photo

Messenger photo by David Treadwell
Reviewing details of the Main-Broad revitalization plan at the Eastmoor Civic Association workshop Nov. 14 are, left to right, city Urban Design Manager Daniel Thomas, East Civic Association Economic Development Committee Chair Heidi Samuel and city Planning Division Administrator Vince Papsidero.

To address this issue, the plan recommends encouraging greater community presence on the streets, extending block watches, and using aggressive code enforcement and policy as a tool for correcting flagrant properties, such as the motels.

In the meantime, Papsidero urged residents to call in complaints to the police 911 number in emergency cases and the newly instituted City Call Center 311 number in non-emergency cases.

Non-emergency complaints can also be submitted through the Internet by going to the city’s Web site at www.columbus.gov and clicking on the link to the 311 Call Center.

The civic association first approached the city Planning Division in the early part of this year seeking assistance with its dream of redeveloping the Broad and Main commercial corridors.

Two workshops involving Eastmoor residents and city planners were subsequently held to draft a plan for revitalization and redevelopment. The first workshop was held in May; the second in August.

The May workshop focused on gathering feedback from area residents and businesses on their perceptions of the strengths and liabilities of each corridor.

The August workshop analyzed the results of the first workshop and then identified various ways to revive the corridors.

Heidi Samuel, the civic association’s economic development committee chair, told the latest workshop that the next step in the process is for the various other neighborhood groups in Eastmoor to get together and discuss the plan.

They should then submit their comments and recommendations to the city Planning Division by mid-December.

She also urged residents to sign up for involvement in one or more of the plan’s aspects, which include marketing, land use, branding, traffic, streetscape, crime prevention and future of motels.

“We are still really interested in any citizens who would like to contribute their time and effort toward involvement in this project,” Samuel said.

 

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