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Ohio House Reps Applaud Smart City Grant, Official Announcement Coming Today

Walker Evans Walker Evans Ohio House Reps Applaud Smart City Grant, Official Announcement Coming Today
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Even though the news broke early on Tuesday via US Senator Sherrod Brown, local officials have not yet made the official announcement that Columbus has won the $50 million Smart City Grant.

The news is expected to come later today during a press conference taking place at the Douglas Recreation Center at 12:30pm. Members of the media have been invited to cover the event, being referred to as “an announcement about a significant investment in Linden”.

That isn’t stopping several state officials from jumping the gun. The Ohio House of Representatives Majority Communications Department issued a press release yesterday evening congratulating the City of Columbus on winning the award.

“The Smart City Challenge is a win for all of Central Ohio,” said Representative Stephanie Kunze (R-Hilliard) in the release. “Franklin County encompasses a fantastic centralized city and includes great countywide suburban partners. The advanced transportation technologies this grant provides will play a key part in the success of our county in the future.”

Kunze, along with Senator Kevin Bacon (R-Minerva Park), led the effort to pass Senate Concurrent Resolution 21, which supported the Columbus bid to win the grant.

“I am thrilled to learn that the collaborative efforts on the part of our elected officials and private sector business partners have earned Columbus the honor of being named our nation’s first Smart City,” said Kunze.

Oddly, the press release concluded with the following mistake-riddled statement:

“Currently the 16th largest city in the country, Columbus continues to rapidly expand and is expected to add one million more residents by 2050, making it the largest city without a mass transportation system.”

Columbus is actually the 15th largest city in the country and is likely to surpass Indianapolis in 2016 to soon become the 14th largest city in the country. The entire Central Ohio region, which is much larger than just the City of Columbus, is expected to add one million more residents by 2050. And while Columbus is the largest city without a rail-based transportation system, it does have a bus-based mass transportation system in form of COTA. The latter of which is a strange thing to point out anyway, as the Smart City grant will not fund any type of rail-based transit projects.

For more information, visit www.columbus.gov/smartcity/.

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