The first of four public meetings will be held to create an area plan for the Southwest Area Commission’s jurisdiction, which includes both Columbus and Franklin Township land. The north border of the area is Mound Street, the east border is the Scioto River, the south border is I-270, and the west border is the train tracks near Harrisburg Pike.
The commission encourages people who work, live or own property within the community to join them on April 14 from 6:30 – 8 p.m. in the cafeteria of Franklin Woods Intermediate School, 1831 Finland Ave., to discuss the positive aspects of the area and what improvements could be made.
Commission President Ralph Horn said, "Without the plan, the odds of getting things (from the city) are not very good."
The meeting will enable the plan’s working committee to "list and prioritize" the needs of the residents. A large turnout is needed, said Adrienne Joly, the Columbus senior planner who has been guiding the commission through the process.
"We won’t take a plan to city council that doesn’t include the input of the community," Joly said.
Residents may also submit ideas and comments online at: http://td.ci.columbus.oh.us/Bizdevelopment/PlanList/index.asp.
One need certain to make the priority list is a community health center.
"We have nothing, not doctors, not nothing," said commissioner Eve Crego. "We can’t get anything done. We tried to get Mount Carmel to send a bus, and they won’t listen."
Dru Bagley, Co-chair of the Westside Health Advisory Committee, told the commission that health care is a "huge issue with so few facilities on the Westside" and that her organization formed from a "big, burning desire to see something better here."
The WHAC will hold a town hall meeting on behalf of the SWAC and the Franklinton Area Commission tentatively scheduled for April 22 at Mount Carmel West. The purpose of the meeting is for residents to inform city officials of their community’s health care needs.
Commission member Juanita Kaufman said that not only does the Southwest community lack medical facilities, it lacks bus service, which would enable residents to seek healthcare outside the area.
According to Bagley, the WHAC has already made a difference. For example the committee recently held a meeting at Wedgewood School to discuss the problem of students covered in bite marks due to the deplorable conditions at a large local apartment complex.
School nurses reported that the children have "not been able to sleep at night due to the rats, roaches and bed bugs," Bagley said. "The question is always ‘Where is HUD?’"
Bagley said the commission involved "all the players" in the meeting, including the prosecutor’s office, so there should be results.