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SWAC looking to partner with others
Lately, everyone seems motivated to make a positive impact on the environment, and the members of the Southwest Area Commission are no different.
At their Jan. 21 meeting, commissioners decided to try to start an environmental group with other area commissions, such as the South Side Area Commission, the Far South Columbus Area Commission, the Franklinton Area Commission and possibly the Greater Hilltop Area Commission.
Chairperson Ralph Horn said that the goals of the group would be to talk about the issues within their respected areas and open discussions with organizations such as the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency and the Solid Waste Authority of Central Ohio to learn about prevention and preservation.
“I think if we could get three or four of the area commissions involved, we could all get a lot of good things done,” he said.
Environmentally speaking, the south side of Columbus has seen better years, says one resident.
“It has definitely been hit hard with environmental issues and it would be nice to try to start a domino effect to clean up the area,” said Don Parsons.
To fill the empty space left by the removal of the trash-burning power plant on Jackson Pike, a representative with the Kurtz Brothers Inc. came to the SWAC meeting in October to discuss building an environmentally friendly Anaerobic Digestion Plant.
Anaerobic digestion is a process that makes use of bacteria that does not need oxygen to survive. Within that process the bacteria multiplies and consumes waste and the energy produced is a methane rich burnable gas called “biogas.”
Commissioners were interested in the idea, and requested to hear more information about the plant, but have not yet heard any more from the Kurtz Brothers.
n the meantime, they requested residents and other commissioners attend the Environmental Justice Town Hall meeting on Jan. 31 to voice their concerns about human health and toxins in the air, soil and water.
The Town Hall meeting is scheduled for 10 a.m. - 12:30 p.m., and will take place at the Marion Franklin Intergenerational Recreation Center, located at 2801 Lockbourne Ave.
Commissioners Ralph Horn, Juanita Kaufman, Clyde Miller, Rita Miller and Ed Walters were all honored by the City of Columbus’ Department of Development for completing the Area Commission Training Program created by the department’s Neighborhood Services Division.
“This is a show of appreciation by the city and the mayor for your work as an area commissioner, and for your involvement in the community,” said program manager Michael Puckett.
While the city does not mandate that each person who serves on one of the 15 area commissions attend these informational sessions, Horn said it is a testament to the Columbus City Council, as well as the residents, of their dedication in serving.
Puckett explained that during the training program, commissioners learn about conflict resolution, duties for an area commission, ethics, zoning laws, Robert’s Rules of Order and Open Meetings and Public Records Act, most commonly known as the “Sunshine Law.”
“These meetings are extremely beneficial to all of us,” Horn said. “It gives us a better understanding of the laws we have to abide by and the general workings of city services.”
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