Empty lot to stay that way for now
When Franklin County Children Services closed their building on Frank Road, it left 74 acres of open space. In the years since, there has been no development at that location, and community members have begun to refer to it as an eyesore.
While constructing the Southwest Area Plan, which was recently adopted by Columbus City Council, the City of Columbus Department of Development and the Franklin County Economic Development and Planning Department asked residents what they would like to see at that site in the future. A majority of the residents stated they would like to see the space become a park with a community facility, such as a recreation center.
Talks with the city and local entities have been heating up regarding the future of the vacant lot, but with a bad economy and city budget woes, Southwest Area Commissioners are warning residents not to expect development in the near future.
“We realize it won’t happen tomorrow, but it would be nice to know how we could go about finding grants or how to start the development plans if or when money becomes available,” said commissioner Clyde Miller at the June 17 meeting.
They asked representatives with the City of Columbus Recreation and Parks Department to attend one of their monthly meetings to discuss future development timelines and, according to the department’s planning manager Maureen Lorenz, it all depends on funding.
“As a department, we’re hanging on by the skin of our teeth and going down fast,” she said.
Lorenz added that while county commissioners and other government officials want to see the former Children Services site developed into a park and community center, the financial outlook has to become stabilized before plans become realized.
In the meantime, Lorenz suggested community members and the commission write or talk to city council members or Mayor Michael Coleman so they know this site construction is identified as a need for the community.
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