Madison Township officials react to planned Hamilton Road improvements

By Linda Dillman
Staff Writer

The city of Columbus’ plans to invest more than $20 million into renovating the Hamilton Road corridor from Refugee Road north to I-70.

The project includes the following proposed improvements: road widening, curbs, sidewalks, combined use bicycle/pedestrian paths, streetlights, improved traffic signals, signage, stormwater upgrades, and trees.

Madison Township neighborhoods near the area include Blacklick Estates and Edgewater Park.

“When I see projects like this, it reinforces my belief that we are over-taxed,” said Madison Township trustee John Kershner when he heard about the city’s plan. “With many of the anchor stores gone from the Eastland Mall area and others scheduled to pull out, it is not logical to expand for more foot traffic. Fancy street lights do little to improve the look of an area with vacant buildings and gravel lots where they used to be.”

Kershner said he has seen many crosswalks to nowhere go up in the area over the past few years in places which appear to have little or no pedestrian traffic and do not have sidewalks.

Before the recession hit nearly 10 years ago, Columbus commissioned a Hamilton Road-Eastland area revitalization plan. The 2007 study recommended attracting new entertainment uses, offices, research and development, businesses, residential and mixed-use development.

Area weaknesses identified in the plan included high vacancy rates, deteriorating properties, high visual clutter, a poor pedestrian environment and fragmented development.

Major retailers such as Kohls and J.C Penney left the area in the last five years and Macy’s just announced they will close their Eastland Mall store this spring.

A public hearing to discuss the city’s multi-million dollar investment was held earlier this month.

“I think that the improvements, from what I know, sound very positive and should have a good impact on the area,” said Madison Township Administrator Susan Brobst. “We’re just waiting to hear more about it.”

Police officers honored

Madison Township Police Officer Darrel Breneman was named Officer of the Year and officers Jim Glasure and Brian Beech were honored for their life saving efforts.

Captain James Dean said Breneman is a leader willing to handle any call and a mentor to fellow officers.

“He has the second most total arrests for the entire department and has empathy for victims,” Dean said. “He sets a high standard for others to follow and has a great work ethic. The department as a whole looks up to Darrel Breneman. I wish I had 20 more like him.”

Glasure was presented with the department’s CPR Save Award for his actions on Dec. 14 when he found a Beachworth Drive individual unconscious and unresponsive.

Glasure started chest compressions as the victim’s friend performed rescue breathing with the officer’s First Aid/CPR mask until medics arrived.

“I would have to think that, if it wasn’t for Officer Glasure’s immediate actions and direction towards the administering of CPR, the outcome may have been much different,” said Sgt. Don Skinner in a letter nominating Glasure for the citation.

Beach received an individual Citation Award for his actions on Dec. 10. The officer was responding to a non-breather call, but upon arrival, was met by an individual covered in the victim’s blood.

The victim had recent surgery and was bleeding profusely from a port placed in her arm. Beach, who is also a firefighter, applied his own tourniquet and worked with medics to ready the victim for transport.

“I would have to think that, if it wasn’t for Officer Beach’s immediate actions, medical knowledge and collaborative effort with medics, the outcome may have been much different,” said Skinner.

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