By Amanda Ensinger
Two local townships have agreed to partner in an effort to improve an interchange that is the gateway to both communities.
At a recent Franklin Township meeting the board unanimously approved a formal partnership with Prairie Township, Franklin County, Hollywood Casino, Columbus, Weston Vision and Haydocy Buick to improve the landscaping around the West Broad Street and I-270 interchange.
Franklin Township agreed to contribute $7,500 to the project.
“This will be a $900,000 project and they are asking us to contribute a small percentage,” said Jessica Rice, administrative assistant for the township. “It will be very impressive when it is complete and will be a wonderful gateway into our community.”
While some trustees officials were skeptical of the project, other township leaders saw the value.
“I think this is a great investment. For the small amount the township has to pay, we are getting a huge return,” said Jim Stevens, road superintendent. “When going eastbound from 270 it is doom and gloom when you are leaving Prairie Township. This will make our community look so much better.”
Trustee Aryeh Alex added that compared to what others are investing in this project, the township is getting a lot for very little.
“This is a million-dollar project and we are only putting in a few thousand,” he said. “We also will get a sign that says, ‘Welcome to Franklin Township,’ which is wonderful.”
The project will focus on the 1-270 underpass on West Broad Street and will include landscaping, lighting over the underpass and sculptures.
Trustee Ralph Horn had concerns about the project and how much this would truly benefit the township.
“I want something in return for this,” Horn said. “I want a letter from Prairie Township saying they support our efforts to revitalize the Westland Mall area.”
Other township leaders said they shouldn’t turn their back on this opportunity and this could be the start of a better relationship with neighboring Prairie Township.
“Prairie Township hasn’t wanted to play with us in the past and this is a step in the right direction,” Rice said.
The project is expected to start in the next month.