Economic study funded for the Hilltop


By Andrea Cordle
Westside Editor

According to Nancy Rhynard, the economic development chairwoman for the Hilltop Business Association, the 2007 down turn in the economy hit the Hilltop hard. Many business owners closed up shop and the real estate market went into a depression.

Rhynard said now the market is improving and it is time to turn the Hilltop around.

The Hilltop Business Association prepared a proposal for the Columbus City Council to spend $55,000 to conduct a Hilltop Retail Market Analysis and Small Business Opportunity Study. The legislation was approved by city council at a recent meeting. The study will focus on an economic development strategy for the main corridors in the Hilltop.

“Once the anchors moved out of the area, the Hilltop was left playing catch-up,” said Council President Pro Tem Michael Stinziano. “The development study will be focused on the Sullivant Avenue and West Broad Street corridors.”

According to the legislation, council entered into a contract with Place Dynamics LLC to complete the market analysis and small business study. The study will examine the market for small business growth in the Hilltop area.

The focus will be on retail and small businesses that could reinvigorate and invest in the neighborhood.

“We want development that is supportive and will help tell the Hilltop story,” said Stinziano.

Rhynard said the area could use more shopping and dining options.

“We need another grocery store and restaurants where you can sit down and eat lunch,” she said. “We just need good, sensible development. I would support whatever would help support growth.”

According to city documents, Place Dynamics must also identify short and long-term recommendations, along with viable implementation strategies, that will increase viability and sustainability of West Broad Street and Sullivant Avenue well into the future.

Stinziano said this economic development study is part of the city’s goal to improve the Hilltop. Over $34 million is capital improvement funding has been allocated in the budget for revitalization projects that include sidewalks, street streetscapes and lighting.

Rhynard said she sees a bright future for the Hilltop.

“Families are moving into the area, said Rhynard. “It’s a wonderful time.”

The study will begin immediately. Stinziano said he expects the economic study results within a year.

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