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Prairie Township expands law enforcement presence
With an increase in revenue Prairie Township is expanding services and bettering roads.
Prairie Township voters approved a Joint Economic Development Zone (JEDZ) and tax sharing agreement with the village of Obetz last November.
The measure aims to protect and improve services for both communities in the face of state budget cuts.
At the May 16 meeting, township trustees said the JEDZ is beginning to accomplish its goal.
Measures are underway to increase the township’s law enforcement presence and develop plans for major road improvements along West Broad Street.
According to Prairie Township Administrator Tracy Hatmaker, both initiatives are possible because of the new revenue flow.
Townships are unable to levy income taxes under state law, but the JEDZ and partnership with Obetz, allows the village to collect income taxes on the township’s behalf for a 20 percent share.
Starting in September the partnership with the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office will expand.
One squad car will patrol for 24 hours, with a second car on duty 16 hours per day.
Before the JEDZ, the township could only afford one vehicle to operate 16 hours a day and a second car to operate for eight hours a day, for only five days a week, Hatmaker said.
Money generated from the JEDZ will also go toward the West Broad Streetscape Project, an effort to increase safety and beautify the section of West Broad Street between Hilliard-Rome Road and I-270.
The project will be a complete rebuild of the area, said Hatmaker. It will feature improved intersections, the addition of two mid-block crosswalks, plant-filled medians, bike lanes and an overhaul of the storm sewer system.
The transformation also includes new sidewalks, street lights, bus shelters and trees will line both sides of the roadway.
The planning phase for the West Broad Street project is estimated to be completed by November.
Construction is scheduled for fall 2014 with the project completed by the end of 2015.
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