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City Hopes to Engage Neighborhood for West Franklinton Plan

Brent Warren Brent Warren City Hopes to Engage Neighborhood for West Franklinton Plan
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With the data-collection done and a market study almost complete, planners from the City of Columbus – along with a group of consultants being led by Edge Group – are ready to start the public outreach phase of the West Franklinton Plan.

The first public meeting is scheduled for January 28th, but the discussion has actually already started online. An interactive website, which can be accessed via computer or smartphone, went live on January 2nd. The site is designed to encourage discussion and generate new ideas from residents, business owners, and anyone else with an interest in the future of the neighborhood.

“It’s an effort to gather thoughts, feelings and experiences,” said consultant Jason Sudy of Sidestreet Planning, adding that they’ve been pleased by the response so far; about 75 registered users signed up the first week , and conversations have already begun about parks, street design, and housing.

Planners will be posting topics and information throughout the process, including drafts of the plan as it is developed. They also will be monitoring the conversation and providing answers to questions that come up. Users can even earn points for posting on the site that can be redeemed for rewards, such as Columbus Bicentennial posters and magnets.

Staff members at the Franklinton branch of the library have been trained to assist residents with the website, while more traditional outreach efforts (such as sending home fliers with school children), are also planned.

Tedd Hardesty, Principal at Edge Group, said that a wide range of themes have emerged from initial conversations with neighborhood stakeholders. Residents are eager to see progress on abandoned and vacant housing in the neighborhood, as well as plans for empty lots like the former Graham Ford on Broad Street. Aesthetics need to be improved along the major corridors, including Broad,which could be in line for a road diet when ODOT resurfaces the street in 2016. Crime is also a concern, especially along Sullivant Avenue, although many residents think that the perception of the neighborhood as a whole is much worse than the reality.

Hardesty also said that Mount Carmel West, a key anchor in the neighborhood that has been weighing expansion plans in Grove City, has been very engaged so far in the process.

“I think they want to clear up misperceptions; it’s not their intention to leave the neighborhood completely,” he said, adding that while the hospital’s plans are not yet finalized, they will continue to have a presence, and employees, in Franklinton.

Despite the uncertainty that remains about some aspects of the neighborhood, Sudy said that there is also a growing sense of optimism.

“There’s an amazing number of initiatives already underway” he said, citing Franklinton Gardens, Franklinton Cycle Works, and outreach from neighborhood churches and nonprofits. “There’s a core of young urbanists trying to contribute in a non-gentrifying kind of way.”

The recent surge in activity and plans for East Franklinton is another positive; “it’s quickly becoming an asset to build on, from both an aspirational and practical point of view,” said Hardesty.

The first public meeting for the West Franklinton Plan is January 28th at 6pm at Gladden Community House, 183 Hawkes Avenue.

More information can be found at www.westfranklinton.com and on the project’s facebook page.

For ongoing discussion and updates on Franklinton, CLICK HERE to visit our Messageboard.

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  • NEOBuckeye

    West Franklinton may still have a long way to go, but it’s good to see that it is finally on the city’s radar.

  • CalebR

    Glad to see that Mount Caramel isnt completely leaving the neighborhood, which is what it seemed like (although it was completely unfeasible).

  • Ned23

    One neighborhood at a time. There’s been talk of a revival here since the flood abatement project was finished several years ago. The city has been doing work in the area, such as removing some obsolete public housing and I’ve seen a few problem buildings demolished.

    The great thing about this area is that it’s so close to downtown. but just walk across a bridge and you have a little refuge from hectic crush of the various festivals and events that are downtown throughout much of the year. I can see that having some appeal to a certain segment home buyers and locals who just want to patronize a local pub.

  • I think the biggest challenge with planning and redeveloping the area outlined up top as West Franklinton is the same challenge that PACT just had with their boundary areas on the Near East Side… it’s HUGE!

    Look at the much smaller slice of land that makes up the Scioto Peninsula right next to Downtown, and think about the hundreds of millions of dollars that will be invested in that little space to bring the development ideas there to reality. Granted, those are bigger projects, but they’re working with around 57 acres of land.

    Then look at the large space designated as East Franklinton between the railroad tracks and 315. That’s got to be over 100 acres of land and while there’s a lot of momentum with multiple projects right now, those only make up a small percentage of that area.

    And now we have West Franklinton, which look to be around 1000 acres (eyeballing it). PACT was reviewing 800 acres of land on the Near East Side. I made it a point at one of the public input sessions to say that while the OSU donation of 10 million dollars to the neighborhood via Hospital East was generous, it would be stretched incredibly thin over 800 acres.

    For a West Franklinton plan to be impactful, it has to has to have some specific focused enhancement areas or corridors where public or private investment would be most strategically placed, and general guidelines to overlay the rest of the article. Or, break the whole thing up into sub-neighborhoods. The needs and wants of neighbors at Harmon & Greenlawn are probably different than those of neighbors on North Central Avenue. I doubt they even see themselves as being in the same neighborhood with 2.7 miles between them. That’s the same distance as Broad & High to the Wexner Center.

    Anyway, I hope for nothing but good things for this plan and hope to be able to attend one of the input sessions.

  • Ned23

    Town and Rich would be the obvious choices for initial enhancement areas. In the long-term, I think looking at connectivity to Scioto Audobon park and the Brewery District via some bike/pedestrian bridges might be useful. Such as a bike bath through Scioto Audobon and then across the river to Dodge park and/or via a corridor behind Miranova.

  • I wasn’t able to create an account. Will try again another day.

    My comment is: Protected Bike Lanes and parklets.

    Parklets: The Next Big Tiny Idea in Urban Planning
    Cities from coast to coast are giving up parking spaces (and the revenue that comes from them) to create green public places for people to sit.

  • A d a m

    With Columbus beefing up the code enforcement office to monitor rentals/landlords, I think that will help with keeping properties up to date. Upgrading the streetscape (curbs and sidewalks) would be ideal. Those two things should help the perception of the neighborhood.

    This map from the Franklin County Auditor’s site shows the number of rentals in the area:

  • The West Franklinton Plan open house is still on for tonight! You are invited to attend at the Gladden House, 183 Hawkes Ave, Columbus, OH 43223. It will be an open house format from 6PM-8PM so you can come and go at any time within those hours without missing out on any of the info stations that will be there to share data and, more importantly, gather your ideas for the neighborhood.

    Also, pizza, warm beverages and cookies will be provide to help ward off the chill. Hope to see you there!

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