By Amanda Ensinger
Local leaders continue to look for ways to raise revenue in the community. At a recent Franklin Township meeting, the board approved the sale of four properties.
The properties that were sold were located on Marsdale Avenue, Little Avenue and Hart Road in Franklin Township. All of the properties were empty parcels of land that the township hopes to see developed. To date, the township has sold 10 properties and received over $112,000 for those properties.
“This has been a great partnership with COCIC (Central Ohio Community Improvement Corporation) to eliminate blighted properties and bring some additional revenue to the township,” said John Fleshman, township trustee. “We are then going to use the money from these sales to further enhance the community.”
According to Fleshman, the money raised from the sale of the properties will go into a capital improvement fund. The improvements could include building a new community meeting place, a separate building for the police department or expanding parking at the Township Hall.
In other news, the trustees discussed continued issues with trees on West Broad Street. William Huffman, of Friends of the Hilltop, asked the township to remove 11 dead trees, as well as feed approximately 90 trees that line the street.
“As you recall, last year we fed these trees and it helped them tremendously,” Huffman said. “We now need to feed them again, as well as remove the dead trees. These trees have a big impact on the appearance of the township and community and need to be properly cared for.”
Huffman said the feeding of the trees is necessary to bring them back to their full potential instead of looking like twigs on the side of the road.
“The ground these trees were planted in is not good, so providing them with a feeding is necessary,” Huffman said. “Also, removing the dead trees is even more important and is what seriously concerns me right now.”
Huffman said the cost to remove the trees is $25 a tree. He also said that 13 trees need trimmed, which cost $30 a tree and approximately 90 trees need feeding, which is $35 a tree. The cost for all the work would be approximately $3,800.
“This would not include the cost to replace the dead trees we removed,” Huffman said. “The cost for those trees would depend on the caliber of trees the township wants to purchase.”
Franklin Township leadership expressed concerns about pursuing this when they do not have a maintenance agreement with the Ohio Department of Transportation to maintain this property.
“Those are ODOT’s trees until we have an agreement in place and we can’t just remove them,” said Jim Stevens, road superintendent for Franklin Township. “We don’t own those trees, so we do not have any authority to remove them.”
Huffman voiced his frustration saying this has been an ongoing issue for years about who should maintain the property.
“What do we need to do to get this done,” Huffman asked. “We know the Westland Mall is going to be developed at some point and this looks horrible right now. We need ODOT and the township to step up.”
The Franklin Township trustees agreed to look into this issue and discuss next steps with ODOT.