At the Aug. 14 regular meeting of the Greater Hilltop Area Commission, commissioners heard a presentation from a man who plans to turn a dying piece of West Broad Street back into the bustling piece of real-estate that it once was.
Christopher Boring, founder and president of Boulevard Strategies, explained to the GHAC that he is currently working with the City of Columbus through the Hilltop Business Association to collect data concerning the West Broad Corridor stretching from Highland Avenue to Wilson Road. This data will be used to determine what kinds of new developments would be the most successful in that area.
Boring plans to begin his research by studying trends that will help to decipher what types of goods consumers are spending their money on. He will then walk the area to be studied and determine if those consumer needs are being adequately met here on the Westside, or if people are traveling to get what they are searching for.
“We want to make sure that the demands are being met here on the Hilltop,” said Boring.
Also, Boring plans to prove that there is a market for additional businesses along West Broad Street.
“I suspect there is,” he said.
The next step of Boring’s plan is to contact the owner of every business in that area. He hopes to talk with them about what they feel is both right and wrong with the area, as well as their ideas for how to better the area. Boring says usually about 50 percent of the business owners he contacts opt to meet with him.
He also plans to speak with property owners and stakeholders, as well as concerned citizens.
“If you care enough about this area to find the time to talk with me, I’m going to find the time to talk with you,” said Boring.
The final step of Boring’s research is a consumer survey. He plans to stand outside of busy public places and gain input from 60-100 area residents.
“It’s totally random,” he said of the residents that will be surveyed.
Once he has gathered all needed information, Boring will compile his findings into a written document that will be turned over to the HBA and the City of Columbus and will be available to any interested party.
According to Boring, this document will serve many purposes.
It can be used by local organizations trying to bring in new businesses as a tool to prove their business is needed and would be successful.
It can also be used by hopeful business owners as proof to the banks that their particular interest has a chance of success.
Boring says that while his primary focus will be on retail for the area, he will also be looking at office space and housing possibilities to fill up the empty spaces.
Boring hopes to have completed this project by sometime in October.
In other news, Karen Whitman brought to the attention of her fellow commissioners a letter to the editor from the Aug. 8 edition of the Westside Messenger titled “Briggs Road residents still see work to be completed.” In the letter, residents complained about the conditions left by the recent Briggs Road construction project.
“These people are saying that they aren’t happy. Their driveways are crumbling and there’s water in their yards, almost in their basements,” said Whitman. “I drove over there and it looks awful.”
Whitman conveyed to the commission that she feels this is an urgent issue.
“We were a part of this and we need to do something about it,” she said.
All GHAC members agreed that the subject needs to be addressed and agreed to forward the letter to the mayor’s office.
The next meeting of the GHAC is scheduled for Sept. 4 at 7 p.m. at the Hilltop Library.