Redevelopment Planned for Two Near East Side Sites
Should two century-old buildings on Taylor Avenue be renovated or demolished? That question was asked last night at a community charette hosted by representatives of PACT, the nonprofit organization that is overseeing large-scale revitalization efforts for a portion the city’s Near East Side.
While PACT’s mission touches upon everything from workforce development to early education, the focus of last night’s meeting’s was upon two areas of Taylor Avenue centered around the Pilgrim Elementary School building, and a three-story building located at the intersection of Mount Vernon Avenue and Taylor Avenue. Both properties are currently owned by PACT and are currently vacant, and the organization is planning to seek redevelopment proposals for both buildings and some of the land that surrounds them.
“Taylor Avenue is an important gateway, it’s how people enter the neighborhood from both I-670 and Broad Street,” stated Autumn Glover, Program director at PACT. “What we’re talking about tonight is the aesthetic that truly makes Taylor a gateway to the neighborhood.”
Representatives from the Neighborhood Design Center walked event attendees through multiple concepts and ideas for redeveloping both sites. Some ideas called for building renovations while others called for demolition. Additional open property surrounding each building also allows for the opportunity to construct new buildings and community spaces.
The approximately 50 to 60 residents in attendance at the meeting discussed all sets of ideas in breakout groups and argued favorably in support of preserving the historic buildings if possible. Pilgrim Elementary was constructed in 1910, and the Mount Vernon building dates back to at least 1900. Both buildings have been named as two of the “Most Endangered” buildings of 2016 by the Columbus Landmarks Foundation.
Additional community input that was voiced at the meeting placed an emphasis on programmed greenspace, a focus for a retail corridor along Taylor Avenue, concealed surface parking lots, and the preservation and celebration of the historic African American culture and history of the area through art, signage, historic markers and architecture.
All input gathered will be utilized by PACT during the Request for Proposals (RFP) process for both properties in the near future.
For more information, visit www.eastpact.org.
Photos by Walker Evans.
DISCLAIMER: Walker Evans volunteers on the nonprofit Board of Directors at PACT.