Westside successes discussed in Hilltop

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By Noell Wolfgram Evans
Staff Writer

The July meeting of the Greater Hilltop Area Commission covered a range of recent successes for the Westside.

Commissioner Rich Riley shared that the annual Bean Dinner was a success in a number of ways including high attendance and vendor participation. The annual event was also honored, not only with a proclamation from the Columbus City Council on its’ status as the oldest festival in the city, but also with a $3,000 grant from the parks and recreation department.

Chairman Jay McCallister announced that city council members are also set to approve a $100,000 emergency food relief fund with a portion of that being earmarked specifically for the Hilltop.

McCallister offered praise for this as well as for the shared use safe path along a portion of Wilson Road. In doing so, he also credited the work of the commission’s safety committee in helping to propel that project forward.

Columbus Police Officer Brian Newsome shared that the area between Ogden and Oakly has received a Neighborhood Pride Award from the city. It is one of only three that were awarded. A number of special events for residents on the neighborhood to celebrate this designation are forthcoming.

Newsome also updated commissioners on a case he was working on with Assistant City Attorney Kristen Dickerson regarding a home in the 400 block of South Harris that they had received numerous complaints on. The case went to court where a vacate order was issued.

Newsome thanked Dickerson and Judge Daniel Hawkins for their actions, and in Dickerson’s case, continued commitment to the Westside.

This case, Newsome said, could not have been won without strong community support.

“We really appreciate that neighbors stood up,” he said. “That makes all the difference. We thank you for what you’re doing.”

Also speaking at the meeting was Kristin Begg an external affairs specialist for Columbia Gas. The company is just about 10 years into a 25-year program to replace gas lines across their service area. Begg said that in many places, the current lines are the original ones, dating back to the 1940s.

The plan that Begg shared will affect just over 500 Hilltop residents. New main and customer service lines will be laid and any customer with an inside meter will have that meter moved to the outside.

“We will work with the homeowners regarding placement,” Begg said.

The new lines will be more efficient, longer lasting, and safer. They will have an automatic shutoff system so that if a line were ever breached, the flow of gas would be stopped automatically.

Residents affected by this project will receive a letter from Columbia Gas. Construction is expected to begin in September and be completed by the middle of November.

Commissioners also invited those in attendance, and all residents, to the Hilltop Beach Party, on July 29 at Hoge Memorial Church. The free event will take place between 2 and 6 p.m. and feature a demonstration from the bomb disposal robot, a chance to meet SWAT team members, an appearance by the Columbus Police Department K9 unit, a bounce house, food, and prizes.

Residents were also invited to the dedication of Wilson Park on Thursday, July 20 at 2 p.m. The park is located at 275 Wilson Road.

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