WAC asks city for sidewalks

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The president of the Westland Area Commission asked Columbus City Council to work toward getting sidewalks in some areas and also building a regional recreation center.

Mike McKay, who heads the 17-member commission, issued the plea in a presentation at the council’s Nov. 19 meeting where he outlined the group’s short-term and long-term goals.

The specific location for sidewalks that McKay identified was along Sullivant Avenue west of Norton Road.

“Sidewalks may not seem like much, but for residents without them it is a big deal,” McKay said.

He noted that apartments near the post office have no sidewalks and he expressed concern for the safety of the children who walk back and forth to Darby Woods Elementary School.

Councilmember Mary Ellen O’Shaughnessy advised him that the Division of Transportation is working on a plan for sidewalks “but it will take time and partnerships.”

She expressed interest in attending a WAC meeting to address the issue.

McKay also put in a request for a regional recreation center, noting that the city has made a start by appropriating funds and purchasing the Blauser property on the far Westside for a much-talked about center.

WAC has been pushing for such a center for quite a while, he said, adding that not only would it provide a location for health and fitness programs, but also would work toward reducing crime by giving people a place for activities.

“But acquiring land and putting up a building are two different things,” he said.

Council members encouraged WAC to seek partnerships for support of a regional recreation center.

“We know how important it is to WAC,” said council member Priscilla Tyson who chairs the Parks and Recreation Committee.

Her colleague Andrew Ginther urged McKay to get Prairie Township trustees involved and Recreation and Parks officials indicated that they had learned the township trustees are interested in the project, but nothing definite has come from that body.

The commission also is working within parameters of the Big Darby Accord for preservation and growth of the area.

“Hopefully development will pick up, especially on the south side of West Broad Street,” McKay said.

He noted that one project on the south side of West Broad Street is a medical building that Doctors Hospital is erecting across from the hospital.

“It’s part of a $3 million expansion project,” he said. 

Another project nearing completion in that area is the widening of Norton Road between Hall Road and West Broad Street.

McKay said that when the work is done, Norton Road will have expanded from a two-lane road to five lanes.

He also expressed appreciation to the Columbus Division of Police for getting new equipment and allocating some of the new vehicles to the Westside.

He mentioned a report the police precinct gave to WAC in May that showed the precinct had the most calls on the third shift that any other quadrant in the division.

He noted that since that report was presented, new prisoner transport vehicles had been assigned to that particular precinct.

WAC, an arm of the City Council, covers an area outlined by the Conrail tracks on the north, I-270 on the east, Big Run South on the south and Hellbranch Creek on the west. It meets monthly to consider such issues as zoning, community relations, education, planning and development, public health and safety and recreation and parks.

Much of that area is within the boundaries of Prairie Township because of the patchwork pattern of annexation to the city.

The commission, one of several in Columbus, gets input from residents in its area and lets the city know how residents weigh in on issues and projects.

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