Eastmoor’s Main/Broad plan gets a green
April 16, 2007
By John Matuszak
No longer content to be the neglected stepsister, Eastmoor
residents have had their ticket to the ball stamped and are
looking forward to a Cinderella-like transformation for their
“This is between two areas that are redeveloping, and
it is imperative that this plan move forward,” Columbus
City Councilwoman Priscilla Tyson, herself an Eastmoor resident,
stated before council on April 9 adopted the Eastmoor Main
and Broad Corridor Revitalization Plan.
Tyson was referring to Bexley to the west, undergoing a building
boom on Main, and Whitehall, where a Wal-Mart and Sonic restaurant
have opened, attracting additional commercial activity.
Caught in the middle is Eastmoor, home to solid neighborhoods
and longstanding businesses, but also the location for outmoded
motels and vacant and deteriorating storefronts that attract
drug dealers and prostitutes.
While legitimate business owners try to beautify their own
properties with flowers, hookers ply their trade a few feet
away, according to Heidi Samuel, a member of the Eastmoor Civic
Association. Other residents have complained that they have
been solicited in their own front yards.
The civic associations and blockwatches have had their own
successes, from securing funds for streetlights and traffic
calming circles to voting businesses dry and seeing crime-ridden
Motel One boarded up for a year. But they want to do more,
and realized they needed help and enlisted the assistance of
city departments of development, safety, parks and transportation
to draft their plan for the future.
The Eastmoor Civic Association was joined by the North Harding,
Peacekeepers and Kingsbury-Mound Street blockwatches in organizing
meetings and gathering input last year.
Harmful zoning and a lack of design standards for Main and
Broad were identified as major culprits for the pock-marked
complexion of the neighborhood that grew in the years following
World War II.
Residents want to see a more pedestrian-friendly area, with
enhanced landscaping and outdoor dining. Getting rid of billboards
and placing utility wires underground would spruce up the neighborhood
as well, they envision.
Having more people out on the streets would deter crime, planners
Letting things fall apart “is an invitation to crime,” Samuel
With a plan in place, residents can now seek funding.
“The city can’t allocate dollars if the community
doesn’t know what the community wants,” Samuel
Councilman Kevin Boyce reminded residents that now is the
time to begin talking about capital investments for the next
Urban Infrastructure Recovery Funds could be earmarked for
getting wire underground, Samuel hopes.
The next step in the process will be to adopt a community
commercial overlay, city planner Vince Papsidero told council.
This document would address such issues as parking and the
setback for businesses from the street, providing space for
landscaping and seating.
Main and Broad streets should be considered for designation
as a commercial revitalization area, and an area commission
could be formed, the plan recommends. It also suggests that
a merchants’ association be formed to improve communication
and cooperation between business owners.
Residents would like to see Motel One put to sleep, with an
auto parts or hardware store awakening in its place. The possibility
of the city buying the property has been discussed.
The unique architecture of the Brookside and Capital motels,
from Main Street’s heyday as part of Route 40, could
be preserved for artists’ studios and other small businesses.
Ken Yee, whose family has owned Wing’s restaurant on
Main Street for 37 years, has been involved in the planning
and is excited about the possibilities.
“This is a huge stepping-stone for getting things off
on the right foot,” Yee told council.
Ellen Peterson, president of the Eastmoor Civic Association,
added that the neighborhood “is proud of its traditions” and
that “businesses, residents, and organizations are all
interested in preserving and improving their property values
and quality of life.”
Note: The entire Eastmoor Main and Broad Revitalization Plan
is available on the City of Columbus Web site, ci.columbus.oh.us.
©2005 Messenger Newspapers (April 16,
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