A statement from Columbus City Council President Andrew J. Ginther regarding the proposed rezoning and redevelopment of Cooper Stadium:
Cooper Stadium was once a vibrant and exciting place to catch a baseball game, one of ColumbusÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ greatest assets, and a source of pride for the Westside. It now sits empty and neglected, a shell of its former self. However, I believe this historic site can once again be an asset in our community Ã¢â‚¬â€œ a focal point of entertainment, job creation and economic development.
Arshot Investment Corporation, a local developer, has invested more than 3 years of time, research and resources in an extraordinary effort to build community support and consensus for their proposal to redevelop Cooper Stadium. They have proposed a $40 million investment to breathe new life into this site; to build a half-mile racetrack, an automotive research and technology center, a hotel and restaurants. The development is expected to create at least 300 jobs at a time when they are desperately needed.
The proposal has met opposition, and there have been many questions posed to the Developer and to the City. I know that I and every member of Columbus City Council have heard the concerns, and we have listened to our constituents. We have pushed back on the developer, and worked to make sure that the communityÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s concerns were not just considered, but that they were addressed by the developer.
The Southwest Area Commission supports the development, and the Southwest Civic Association has signed good neighbor agreement with Arshot which clearly outlines community expectations. City Council has focused on strong, enforceable standards in the zoning legislation, adding additional language to hold the developer accountable.
WhatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s more, we expect that many of the terms of the good neighbor agreement and the Council zoning legislation will become part of the special permit the developer is required to obtain from the Bureau of Zoning Adjustment (BZA).
ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s through our zoning code and the terms of the special permit that we have the ability to truly hold Arshot to their word. The City will have the ability to enforce the terms of the special permit, to monitor for compliance and to take action to revoke the permit if necessary. That is, if you donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t follow through on your word, weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll shut you down.
In the past few months, City Council has received hundreds of e-mails, letters and phone calls regarding Cooper Park. While some members of the community still express concern surrounding the development, there are just as many, if not more, who are supportive of the motor park concept.
I believe this development has tremendous potential to provide much needed jobs, educational opportunities and create a regional entertainment attraction that will help create the momentum needed to keep the Westside on the right track.
That is why Monday evening, I will be supporting the rezoning application and I urge my colleagues on Council to do the same.
I do want to acknowledge the leadership of our Mayor. Like Council, Mayor Coleman has taken a critical approach to this development, and has challenged the developer to do more to address community concerns. Because of the MayorÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s efforts, we have a much better proposal today.