Hilltop projects prioritized by the community

By Dedra Cordle
Staff Writer

When the Columbus City Council begins to prepare the annual capital improvements budget and the capital improvements plan, they often seek the advice of the local area commissioners to provide insight on which investments residents may want to see in their communities.

In order to facilitate the request by city officials, the Greater Hilltop Area Commission launched a community survey on its website and social media pages earlier this year. The nine question community survey asked residents which infrastructure projects should be prioritized in regard to amenities at local parks and recreation centers, public service, and public utilities.

The responses collected from the 66 residents who participated in the survey were presented at the full commission meeting on May 7.

According to Dean Smith, commissioner and co-chair of the planning and economic development committee, these are the five priority requests that residents want the city to fund in the near future.

•The installation of sidewalks and traffic calming devices on Steele Avenue
•The installation of traffic calming devices around Hauntz Park
•The addition of sidewalks on N. Westgate, N. Westmoor, N. Huron, and Haldy Avenues
•Improvements to Holton Community Center
•Decorative street lighting on Union Avenue

The installation of sidewalks and/or traffic calming devices on Steele Avenue was ranked as the first priority by residents, said Smith, because reckless drivers are putting pedestrians at risk.

“There are a lot of issues with traffic and speeders,” he said, “and there are opportunities to make it a more walkable space.”

The request to place traffic calming devices around Hauntz Park and add sidewalks to N. Westgate, N. Westmoor, N. Huron, and Haldy Avenues ranked as priority two and three, respectively, for much of the same reason as the first priority request.

Smith said he and fellow commissioner James White recently met with the newly formed Friends of Hauntz Park. During the meeting, the Friends of Hauntz Park members told the commissioners protective barriers are needed around the park on Columbian Avenue because motorists are constantly speeding and endangering the lives of pedestrians and park visitors.

Improvements to Holton Community Center came in at number four on the priority list. Residents said they would like to see exterior and interior improvements at the center and around the property. They also said they want the city’s recreation and parks department to add beautification elements and safety features.

Rounding out the priority list at five was decorating street lighting on Union Avenue. Survey participants said the portion of Union Avenue from Ryan Avenue and Central Avenue needs aesthetic upgrades and safety upgrades as the area is utilized by numerous motorists and pedestrians.

The commissioners did not have any objections to this list, though commissioners Adhanet Kifle and Malik Moore asked why there were not more requests for adding sidewalks to areas around Westgate Park or the resurfacing of alleys and streets.

Commissioner Ashley Montana, who is also a member of the planning and economic development committee, said they removed requests for improvement projects that have already been earmarked by the city.

The commission approved the capital improvements requests at the meeting. It will be sent to the city council for funding considerations on future infrastructure projects.

In other news, Olabisi Eddy, the westside neighborhood liaison with the city’s department of neighborhoods, said the resurfacing of Mound Street (between S. Wayne and Central Avenue) will begin in July. From July 4–12, the city will begin to replace curbs and add ramps that comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act; from July 15 through Aug. 3, the city will begin to resurface the road. The city is also planning to add a pedestrian beacon at Mound and Wheatland.

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