By Noell Wolfgram Evans
The Greater Hilltop Area Commission explored a number of upcoming opportunities for residents to embrace improvement at their Sept. 5 meeting.
Commission chairman Jay McCallister shared two upcoming programs aimed at supporting recovering residents and burgeoning homeowners. On Sept. 13, Homes on the Hill, in conjunction with Columbus City Council, will host a seminar at Glenwood on tax abatement opportunities available for homeowners in the area.
A few days later, on Sept. 17, Franklin Heights High School will host “Recovery is Possible.” The event, held from 1 to 3 p.m., celebrates those who are recovering from addiction. State of Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine will speak as will others who will share inspirational stories. Food trucks will be on hand and prizes have been collected for some of those in attendance.
Also on hand at the commission meeting was Carmen Clutter who attended on behalf of Moms2B.
Clutter said that the organization is a “community-based program for educating moms and families and connecting moms with resources to help them have a healthy pregnancy.”
Moms2B will be opening an office, their seventh in the city at the Hillcrest Baptist Church at 2480 West Broad St. Classes for pregnant women will be held Tuesdays from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. starting Sept. 26. Classes will be held weekly.
The organization is one of many looking to help decrease the infant mortality rate in the city. The city of Columbus currently loses an average of eight babies for every 1,000 born. This number grows in certain areas of the city. In the Hilltop, the infant mortality rate is 15 babies for every 1,000 born.
Clutter hopes that new mothers, “whether it’s their first baby or their tenth,” will take advantage of the services Moms2B offers.
To assist with that they will help with transportation to classes, provide childcare during classes, offer attendance incentives, provide hot meals, and have access to the mobile MidOhio Foodbank and the Nationwide Children’s Mobile Unit.
Commissioners also heard from Jeff Ortega, the assistant director for the department of public service and James Young, a city of Columbus engineer. The two shared a snapshot on projects on the Westside.
Young started with some background as a way to explain how his department is always at work, even when they can’t be seen.
“It takes around two-years with a project from concept to execution. And that’s with city money. If other funding sources are involved, that process can be expanded, depending on where the funding process is,” Young said.
He said that sidewalks will soon be coming to Binns thanks to funds from a Safe Routes to Schools grant. Sidewalks are also being added to Eakin Road and Mound Street as well as to Wilson Road. Wilson will actually be getting a shared-use trail over the bridge.
Young pointed to the work on Hague Avenue as a successful project, but also admitted that there still may be work to be done there. He asked those in attendance to call 311 if they notice any trees that don’t seem to be taking to their new surroundings or any issues with construction that need to be addressed.
Ortega continued on that theme, “There is an awful lot of activity going on in the Hilltop. That’s a good thing; we just want to make sure that we’re being responsive to what’s needed.”