By Amanda Ensinger
Prairie Township was recognized for its beautification efforts on the Westside at a recent Prairie Township board meeting.
“We have accepted a beautification award from the Westland Area Business Association,” said Steve Kennedy, township trustee. “It is nice to be recognized for the work we have done on the streetscape.”
The township won the award for its work on the West Broad Street Streetscape. The project was a partnership between the Ohio Department of Transportation and the township and was part of larger $9 million project ODOT was working on.
Completed in 2017, the portion of the project that effects Prairie Township cost approximately $1.5 million and the township paid over $400,000. According to Township Administrator Tracy Hatmaker, the township was responsible for paying 20 percent of the project.
The streetscape has dramatically improved the West Broad Street corridor that runs in Prairie Township from I-270 to just past Hilliard Rome Road. Adding sidewalks, landscaping, streets trees, benches, street light, road resurfacing, storm sewer, bike lanes and improvements to the bus stops, the area has been transformed into a walkable business corridor.
At the meeting, leadership also gave an update on the I-270 interchange and West Broad Street improvement partnership the township is working on with Franklin County, Hollywood Casino, Columbus, Weston Vision, Haydocy Buick and Franklin Township.
“We are working on some construction plans, but first we must discuss how maintenance is going to be handled,” Hatmaker said. “We need to make sure it is going to maintained before we proceed.”
The project will focus on improving the landscaping around the West Broad Street and I-270 interchange.
“This region is the welcoming area for Prairie Township, Franklin Township and our business corridor, so we want it to look appealing to visitors as they get off this important exit,” Hatmaker said.
Hatmaker said the project is projected to cost over $400,000 and will include landscaping, lighting over the underpass and sculptures.
“The biggest funding from this is coming from the Franklin County, the casino and Prairie Township,” Hatmaker said. “Columbus will be a big player in the construction of this and the other partners have donated a few thousand.”
In other news, the board approved the fire department to spend $15,324 on security upgrades for Station 241 and 243. Fire department officials said there is a need for more security since they are contracting out their dispatching services.
“We won’t have personnel in the buildings 24/7 so we need to upgrade security,” said Prairie Township Assistant Fire Chief Allen Scott. “Because we are moving dispatching to Grove City we need this extra security.”
In May, the fire department announced it would outsource dispatching services to Grove City. The fire department plans to pay Grove City approximately $211,000 a year for dispatching services.Previously the township spent $331,000 a year to provide dispatching serves.
“Overall, this project has been pursued from the beginning as a safety and operational point,” said Prairie Township Fire Chief Chris Snyder.