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GHAC discusses ward system, clean-up of pond
The Friends of Westgate Park (FWP) want the city of Columbus to provide funds to clean the park’s pond, FWP president Sue Laughlin said.
The Greater Hilltop Area Commission (GHAC) agreed to support efforts made by the Friends of Westgate Park (FWP) and the Columbus Coalition for Responsive Government's (CCRG) wish to have the ward issue placed on the November ballot.
“It’s been 18 to 22 years since the pond was cleaned,” Laughlin said. “You can’t see the bottom because of all the silt and trash. We’d like to have it drained, cleaned, dredged, repaired and refilled,”
She said landscaping around the pond could be enhanced, including the addition of benches.
The city has about $6 million available from the sale of municipal bonds, said Laughlin, and the Columbus Department of Recreation and Parks will receive about $800,000 of that amount.
Laughlin said patios are planned for two sides of the enclosed shelter house.
GHAC chair Chuck Patterson said they would send a letter of support to Columbus City Council before July 26.
Commission addresses ward system
CCRG was also granted a letter, requested by volunteer Jon Beard, suggesting the issue of a ward system be added to the voting ballot.
CCRG wants to change the makeup of city council from seven members elected at-large to representatives elected from each designated ward.
City council rejected putting the issue on the November ballot, Beard said. A petition effort failed due to invalid signatures.
The group now seeks citizens to initiate a change to the charter.
“We want the city council to put it on the ballot so voters can make the decision on the form of council,” Beard said. “We want the citizens to have a chance to vote on representation.”
Patterson said city council does not meet in August and it would be too late in September to get it on the November ballot.
“The commission would be negligent if we don’t urge putting it on the ballot to let the people have a chance to vote,’ Commissioner Jim Lashbrook said.
GHAC election results
Greg Large and Lane Newcome were re-elected and Sharry Carey and Gene Klingler were voted onto the commission on June 23.
Nancy Rhynard, Rich Riley and Keith Chaldis filled three appointed seats.
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