At the June Southwest Area Commission meeting, commissioners expressed their displeasure at being kept out of the loop when it came to the discussion of a proposed motorsports complex that would fill the void left when the Columbus Clippers leave Copper Stadium at the end of the 2008 baseball season.
“We were told we would be kept in the loop about the stadium plans, but obviously that didn’t happen,” said Chairman Ralph Horn at the meeting.
After a lengthy discussion, the commission agreed to write an official letter to Franklin County Commissioners, the city of Columbus, Mayor Michael B. Coleman and the Arshot Investment Corp., asking why they have not been contacted about the motorsports plan. In addition, they asked representatives to come to the July 16 area commission meeting to discuss their plans and offer alternative projects for Cooper Stadium.
At the July 16 Southwest Area Commission meeting, no representatives were on hand.
“I’ve got to say I’m a little disappointed that they didn’t come out,” said Horn.
Horn said he has been speaking with the Franklinton Area Commission, who promised to keep the Southwest Area Commission updated on anything that goes on regarding the redevelopment of Cooper Stadium.
Bonita Lee, the City of Columbus’ Community Liaison, said at the June 18 commission meeting, she believes the city and the developers have been speaking with the Franklinton Area Commission because they were unaware of the existence of the Southwest Area Commission, which was established in late 2004.
While the city does not need the approval of any commission to go forward with plan for the development of redevelopment of any area, it is considered in good faith to have their confidence in any project within their boundary.
“This tells me where we rank with them, and that’s not at all,” said Commissioner Ray Bertossi.
Commissioner Kathleen Williamson-Thacker agreed with his sentiment saying, “It’s like we slid back to the beginning of the commission.”
However, they did get a responding letter from Joseph A. Sugar, the General Counsel of Arshot Investment Corp.
In the letter, Sugar apologized to the commission if they felt they have been excluded from the approval process, but asked them to understand that plans for the project are still in the preliminary stages and the approval process has not yet began.
Sugar then closed by saying they intend to include the Southwest Area Commission as soon as plans are available for review, and look forward to receiving their input.
He also added they would be doing a noise impact study, and noted that noise is a primary concern with the commission in regards to the motorsports complex.
Crime in America
Crime in America is a new program centered on crime reduction and awareness for adults.
“Most of the things adults can do to prevent crime is common sense, but sometimes in the hustle and bustle you just forget about it,” said Toni Daniels with Crime in America.
Daniels is working on an informational packet that would be distributed throughout the highly trafficked areas regarding crimes such as burglary, carbon monoxide poisoning and sexual assaults.
“Identity theft happens every three seconds, and can take up to two years to clear up the mess,” said Daniels.
Even with the cooperation of the Franklin Township Police Department, Daniels says she’s a little hesitant to call this packet a for sure deal, but believes it will happen when people realize how much information, including seldom used emergency numbers, are in the packets.
“Anything put out to make people safer is a valuable thing,” she says.
Daniels added the packets would be funded with the help of area businesses.
Southwest Area Plan briefing
Benjamin Weiner with the Franklin County Planning Department came to the Area Commission meeting to give a brief summary on the meeting that took place on June 24 at Franklin Woods Intermediate School.
Residents were asked for their feedback on what type of development and/or redevelopment they would like to see along Harrisburg Pike, Frank Road and Brown Road, and Frank Road and Gantz Road.
In regards to the Harrisburg Pike corridor, residents agreed that additional used car lots and car related uses should be discouraged, and new developments should be designed so that it fits in with existing residences.
“They also added that any development that comes in the area should look nicer,” said Weiner.
Weiner also said community members want better pedestrian access along Frank and Brown Roads, and they want to see a park or a library put in at the now demolished Franklin County Children’s Services site.
National Night Out update
The donations and the activities are starting to pile up, and the only thing that is lacking in numbers for the Aug. 5 National Night Out event is volunteers.
“Some people are old like me, and we can’t do everything,” said Juanita Kaufman.
Kaufman has been chairing the Westbrook Eastfield Neighborhood Association’s National Night Out for the past several years.
She said the volunteers do not have to be there at 9 a.m. to help set up, but would appreciate it if they could start arriving around 5or 5 p.m. to help set up before the celebration really gets going.
Kaufman said the popular traveling smoke house would be at the event, along with a fire truck from the Franklin Township Fire Department.
Recently, she got word that the 40 foot Mount Carmel health trailer would arrive at around 5 p.m. to give immunizations for children, take the blood pressure of adults, and other simple medical procedures.
While the official celebration for National Night Out starts at 6 p.m., residents are encouraged to get there before hand and volunteer, mingle, or take advantage of the health trailer.
The celebration will be held in the lot of Finland Elementary School, which is located at 1835 Finland Ave.