Volunteers needed to create area plan

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Franklin Township trustees want to find residents and business owners with an interest in the township’s future to join a planning committee organized by the Southwest Area Commission.

Both the township and the commission discussed the issue at meetings held Dec. 12.

The SWAC will form the committee in January as the first step in creating a master development plan for their commission area which is bounded by Mound Street on the north, the Scioto River on the east, Interstate 270 to the south and the railroad tracks just past Harrisburg Pike to the west. Forty percent of the area belongs to Franklin Township.

Forming a planning committee is the first step to creating a master development plan. The purpose of the plan would be to provide guidelines for developments that residents and business owners want in their neighborhoods. Elements of the plan could range from sidewalks to community centers.

James Schimmer, Director of the Franklin County Economic Development and Planning Department, advised commisioners that the planning committee is the area’s chance to “set the course for the future.”

The plan would enable taxpayer money to greater benefit Southwest Columbus.  The committee must be comprised of people dedicated to improving their community.

“Now the rubber is going to hit the road,” Schimmer said.

According to Adrienne Joly, the Columbus city planner who is assisting the SWAC, the committee should have eight to 12 members. Franklin Township aims to find four or five people to represent their portion of the area.

Joly added that the committee would benefit from including people of various backgrounds.

Although a schedule has not yet been determined, the committee would meet twice a month beginning in February, most likely at the Township’s office on 2193 Frank Road.

Anyone interested in representing Franklin Township, or any other portion of the commission’s area, by serving on the planning committee should contact the SWAC by calling 562-4728.

In addition to the committee, members of the community will be invited to several public forums throughout the year.

In other news:

The Franklin Township Fire Department is planning to purchase a new medic. Chief Howard received one quote for the new vehicle which the trustees have not yet approved.

Also on hold is the new heating and air conditioning system for the township offices.

Two companies have provided quotes, but the trustees will not decide on which company to use until the next Franklin Township meeting Dec. 27. In the meantime, they will seek references for the contractors.

At the SWAC meeting, Terry Dull from the development services portion of the Columbus Transportation Division told the commission that the city’s five-year plan contains no capitol improvements for their area.

Dull said that if the SWAC petitioned the city council and the mayor’s office with worthy projects, the plan could be changed to include Southwest projects.

At the same meeting, Sergeant Joe Horton of the Columbus Police Department’s 10th Precinct told the commission that the area had been relatively peaceful, which he said is a surprise for the holiday season. No recent crime patterns have been reported.

“Everything has been quiet – knock on wood,” Horton said.

The precinct’s request for an additional cruiser will be submitted to Columbus Police Chief James Jackson after the holidays. Horton said he would know by the SWAC’s Jan.16 meeting if the request had been approved.

Also, the commission is gathering suggestions for the addition of possible COTA routes to the area.  A representative from COTA will attend the next SWAC meeting and the commission plans to present the suggested routes at that time.

COTA previously told the commission that Route 17 along the Hardy Parkway will once again be running.

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