By Amanda Ensinger
The Nov. 14 Greater Hilltop Area Commission meeting started out with a shakeup when two members resigned.
Christopher Gourley and Daryl Hennessy resigned from the commission. Via letters written to the commission and read by Greater Hilltop Area Commission chairman Jay McCallister, both cited personal conflicts as their reasons for their resignations.
“I will declare that we are seeking to fill one of these seats at the December meeting,” McCallister said. “We don’t have to fill this if there are no viable candidates and can vote no, however we must try to fill the seats.”
To be considered for the position, one must live in the Hilltop. Gourley’s seat expires in 2018 and Hennessy’s seat expires in 2020. According to McCallister, because the board received Hennessy’s resignation first, they will fill his seat.
At the meeting, the commission also listened to a presentation from David Hodge, a zoning and land use attorney with the firm Underhill and Hodge. Hodge came to the board to represent Glenwood United Methodist Church, located at 2833 Valleyview Dr. in the Hilltop.
“I’m here today because the city of Columbus approached the church to acquire the southern perimeter of the property,” Hodge said. “This section of the property is a little unsightly and unusable and the city would like to daylight the creek and make it usable.”
To do this, the city would like to reduce the parking at the church from 216 parking spots that are in the Hilltop to 72 parking spots.
According to Hodge, the church supports this and needed the commission to approve this to proceed with the sale of the property.
“Most of the parishioners park at the YMCA next door anyway because it is closer to the door and the YMCA is OK with them continuing to do this,” Hodge added. “The parking at this church also is nowhere close to ever being full, so the church is OK with proceeding with this.”
The region that will be acquired by Columbus is susceptible to flooding and the biggest concern of the commission was if this issue would be resolved once Columbus acquires the property.
“Will this resolve the flooding over there,” asked William Huffman, member of the Greater Hilltop Area Commission.
“I think so, they want to correct it, so the water flow is more natural,” Hodge said. “It seems like it will be a good improvement for the property. I also know Columbus would like to eventually make the creek usable for educational purposes.”
Several residents spoke up about the proposed acquirement of the property and said they think it would benefit the community.
“In my 17 years, there have been at least two improvements to this area that have not worked,” said Michelle Phillips, Hilltop resident. “I think restoring it to its natural state would be a great benefit to the community and fix the issues they currently have with that property.”
Finally, the group Project 614 addressed the commission about the work they have been doing in the community.
Project 614 is a refuge ministry that help addicted men get clean and become homeowners in the westside.
“The reason we picked the westside is because there are a lot of cool things going on here,” said Austin Hill, director of Project 614. “Everyone involved in our organization loves the westside and Hilltop.”
Currently, the group is coordinating the homeownership of two houses in the Hilltop and is having an open house from 4 to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 28 at their completed home in Franklinton, 137 S. Princeton Ave., Columbus.
“We would love for you to come to this event and see what the houses will look like that are coming to the Hilltop,” Austin said. “Also, if you know any men 18 or over that are addicted and don’t want to be addicted send them to us.”
For more information on events happening in the Hilltop, visit www.theghac.org.