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Prairie Twp. adopts town center master plan
Prairie Township adopted the Big Darby Accord Town Center Master Plan on Dec. 14.
The plan outlines the development of 3,500 homes, 300,000 feet of commercial space and a 100 room hotel.
The focus of the town center will rest near West Broad Street, with other developments generally boarded by I-70 to the north, Kulhwein Road to the south, Hubbard Road to the west and approximately Cole Road to the east.
“It was planned in the least environmentally sensitive area in an environmentally sensitive area,” Prairie Township Administrator Tracy Hatmaker said.
The plans for a town center followed the Big Darby Accord Watershed Plan the township adopted in 2006.
According to Hatmaker, the watershed plan recognizes Big Darby Creek is a sensitive waterway and habitat that must be developed with care. Many conservation areas exist in the plan along streams and rivers.
A community improvement corporation will be formed for the purpose of assembling parcels of land, Hatmaker said. It will be responsible for acquiring land needed for the proposed town center area, but are already owned by private parties.
The corporation will contract with landowners by giving them a share in the partnership. Once 1,000 acres of land is collected, a new community authority would be required to fund the project.
“This entity is going to be the beginning of the town center process,” Hatmaker said.
It will take approximately three years to accumulate land, then the master plan and the packages of land will be sold to a master developer. This individual is responsible for initiating the designs over 40 years, once shareholders are paid for their land.
Hatmaker said a master developer is necessary due to all the moving parts in the project.
The largest cost is extending sewer and water infrastructure to the site. Urban Design Associates, consultants based out of Pittsburgh, said this would cost $13.7 million.
Hatmaker said the township hopes to receive public funds from the city of Columbus for that infrastructure. Franklin County will manage the water and sewer.
Around February the four parties involved with the town center – Prairie Township, Brown Township, Franklin County and the city of Columbus – will formalize an official agreement on supplying water and sewer without requiring annexation.
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