Westage resident seeks civic organization

There may be one more name added to the ever-growing list of community based organizations on the Westside.

 Westgate may get its own civic organization – if some residents have their way.

 Mari Ann Binder Futty has been a resident of Westgate for 10 years. In that time, she has grown to love the neighborhood that she calls home, but she worries for its future.

 “The neighborhood itself is really vibrant,” she says. “It’s full of a really young, diverse, energetic population. But we are bordered by a decaying area, especially West Broad Street.”

 There are several initiatives currently underway to redevelop the Westside of Columbus, including an economic market study of West Broad Street being undertaken by Boulevard Strategies and funded through the Hilltop Business Association and the City of Columbus. There has also been much attention as of late focused on bringing life back to the once dynamic Westland Mall.

 According to Binder Futty, those studies are appreciated, but leave the Westgate residents feeling left out.

 “They just jumped right over us,” she said. “It’s kind of like the ‘middle-child syndrome.’ ‘Things are okay in Westgate. We don’t need to worry about Westgate.’”

 Binder Futty feels that in order for the residents of Westgate to see action taken, they will have to initiate much of the work themselves. Her solution to this is a civic organization for Westgate.

 e has organized a meeting to be held on Sunday, Feb. 2, from 2-4 p.m. at the Hilltop Branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library, for residents to discussion the formation of this organization.

 The borders of the Westgate neighborhood are Broad Street, Wilson Road, Sullivant Avenue and Hague Avenue. However, if anyone living outside of those borders wishes to become involved, they won’t be excluded.

 Binder Futty says that she doesn’t yet know the details of how the organization would function.

 “First, I want to see if there’s any interest. If there is, then we would discuss how the group would be organized.”

 She said that she hopes the organization would be able to work hand-in-hand with the HBA and the Greater Hilltop Area Commission.

 Some of the things that she would like to see accomplished by the organization include the development of a garden tour, social clubs and more awareness of neighbors who run businesses out of their homes.

 “I would like to see us support each other,” she added.

 Binder Futty would also like for the civic organization to help bring businesses into the area.

 “I want a coffee shop. I want a bookstore,” she added.

 She acknowledged the study done by Boulevard Strategies and the findings that residents of the Hilltop leave the area to spend their money.

 “There’s nowhere to go,” she said.

 She said she hopes to help bring in “more activities for the individuals who live here.”

 “If they want to revitalize something, start with the best part,” she said. “The time has come for us to work together and get some recognition that we are here and this is a great place to live,” she added.

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