The latest developments of the Big Darby Town Center Master Plan were presented during the Mar. 9 Prairie Township Board of Trustees regular meeting. The briefing entailed that the Big Darby Accord will experience the development of around 3,500 residential homes, 300,000 feet of commercial space, 360,000 feet of office development, and a 100 room hotel.
“This was a primary and major recommendation of the Big Darby Accord which the board adopted in 2006,” Township Administrator Tracy Hatmaker said. “The purpose of the town center is to concentrate or allow development to be located in a less environmentally sensitive portion of the Big Darby Watershed.”
Hatmaker recalled that the Big Darby Accord asks for revenue to be generated from future developments – much of this revenue must also be applied towards conservation space and the preservation of water quality.
“This town center is a major, major, major generator or engine for creating that revenue,” Hatmaker said. “That’s another reason for the town center; bringing this development together in a less environmentally sensitive area and doing that in such a way it generates revenue.”
According to Hatmaker, the largest cost connected to the creation of a town center will be getting the sewer/water infrastructure extended to the site. After having the sewer/water costs researched by market analysts, the township found it would cost $13.7 million to perform this task. These funds would come, in part, from Franklin County and the City of Columbus – Prairie Township would be reimbursed through the project as well.
However, the township will also be seeing new sources of revenue, brought through several channels recommended by the market analysts. A new community sewer charge – tallying at $2,000 per household – will bring $2.7 million in revenue, and developer contributions will add another $3.2 million to total out at $5.9 million.
“The remaining costs would come from a number of sources, including from other Big Darby Accord revenues that are generated through the project,” Hatmaker said, later describing the implementation of a Public/Private Partnership which would be in charge of assembling the land, then recruiting a master developer to lay out a plan for the entire area – a plan both economically and environmentally acceptable.
The partnership would most likely be formed as a community improvement corporation, but once the group becomes more complicated and 1,000 acres of land is possessed, a New Community Authority would be created and would require 30 years to build out. This would have an initial cost of $250,000 per year for at most 10 years - but will bring in revenue of $51 million.
The first public meeting concerning the Big Darby Accord will be on Apr. 5 at 6:30 p.m. at the Prairie Township Firehouse. According to Planning Administrator Lee Brown, they will be taking public review through the input session and online surveys then moving forward to brief the Big Darby Accord Advisory Committee on the community’s thoughts and concerns.
“Earlier that day we’ll be having an advisory committee meeting and also an environmental group meeting,” Brown said, “and moving forward the actual document will go live on the internet this Friday, and will have a survey associated with it.”