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Olentangy West Area Gets First Neighborhood Plan

Brent Warren Brent Warren Olentangy West Area Gets First Neighborhood Plan
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City planners and neighborhood leaders hope that a new plan brings some attention to a part of the city that has sometimes been overlooked.

Despite being home to over 11,000 people, the collection of Columbus neighborhoods known as Olentangy West maintains a relatively low profile. That may be because the area, which is defined roughly as the portion of Columbus south of Henderson Road and north of Kinnear Road, between the Olentangy River and Kenny Road, is mostly made up of 1950’s-era residential developments and does not feature a distinctive commercial district.

It does, however, contain a number of suburban-style commercial developments that some area stakeholders say could use a face-lift.

The plan, which was approved by City Council in September, lays out recommendations and design guidelines for University City Center (at the northwest corner of Ackerman and Olentangy River Roads), Kenny Centre (Kenny Road and Old Henderson Road), the Kohl’s Department Store center on Olentangy, and the southwest corner of Kenny and Henderson.

“Staff analysis and public input suggested that these sites presented future redevelopment opportunities,” said planning administrator Vince Papsidero, noting that although the city does not own any of the sites, they represent a chance for private developers to eventually bring mixed-use and walkable development to the area.

“Mixed-use could include multifamily housing, retail, offices, and other services that contribute to a walkable environment,” he added, explaining that the concepts also suggest ways to provide better pedestrian connections to the commercial developments.

Chuck Totten of the Knolls Garden Club, one of the neighborhood groups involved in the planning process, was pleased with the final product.

“We recognize that continued development and redevelopment is certain in our area,” says Totten. “Even though no plan is ever perfect, we are excited that this is the first plan for the entire Olentangy West Planning area.”

More information on the plan is available at development.columbus.gov.

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