Growth and improvement discussed at Hilltop Commission

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By Sarah Thomas

Staff Writer

Two visitors spoke before the Greater Hilltop Area Commission at their Feb. 6 meeting, focusing on commission growth and the Urban Infrastructure Recovery Fund.

Debera Diggs, board member and secretary for the WORTH Foundation (Working Through Obstacles Reaching New Heights), shared information on trainings and resources for commissioners.

WORTH is a non-profit organization that offers a variety of services to strengthen communities, such as cultural competency trainings and civic education and leadership academies.

Diggs said that the commissioners are our advisories on city council and it is a good idea to polish skills and maximize strengths through trainings at WORTH.

“In order to make change, you got to know how to do it,” she said. “This is an opportunity to let the city know what kind of trainings they’d be interested in.”

City of Columbus Council President Pro Tempore, Michael Stinziano, presented updated information on the Hilltop plan for the Urban Infrastructure Recovery Fund (UIRF).

The UIRF is a program that funds improvements to roadways, parks and street lighting in Columbus’ older neighborhoods.

“They are recovery funds, so they are driven by the area commissions letting the city know these are projects that we would like you to take these dollars and invest in our community,” said Stinziano.

There are currently nine projects that have been endorsed for the Hilltop, totaling $1.2 million. The projects range in phases, but most are estimated to be in construction in 2019. Based on allocated funds, there is approximately $800,000 that remains available for the 2015-2019 funding period for the Hilltop area.

In other news, commissioner Jay McCallister said that things are moving forward on the Wheatland Avenue project.

He said the plans have been completely re-done and are not the same plan that the commission voted on before.

The next zoning committee meeting will take place on Feb. 20, 7 p.m. at the Hilltop Library.

The planning and economic development committee will meet at 7 p.m. Feb. 19 at Josie’s in the Hilltop to discuss redevelopment at Westland Mall.

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