Study May Recommend Old Town Zoning Office Become New 911 Call Center

Robert Rader, 86, has lived for five decades with his backyard against the tall chain link fence surrounding a currently vacant 11-acre Columbus city office complex in North Linden.

His home on Beulah Road is part of a quiet stretch of generally well-maintained single-family homes and apartments that adjoins the two office buildings and parking lots that have been empty since the city moved construction workers and zoning and d ‘other operations at 757 Carolyn Ave. at the Michael Coleman Government Center Downtown in 2018.

Rader remembers when the campus – located at the west end of Carolyn Avenue, sandwiched against Interstate 71, houses along Beulah to the east with apartments to the north – was used in former lives as bank offices and, from the late 1990s, by the city to inspect registered vehicles. While this required food trucks, taxis and other vehicles to line up outside his house on a regular basis, he didn’t mind.

After Columbus City Council on Monday approved spending nearly $ 210,000 to study whether to reuse the aging site for use by police and firefighters, Rader said the return of traffic higher towards Beulah Road was the least of his concerns. He and other neighborhood residents interviewed by The Dispatch on Tuesday said their main concern was crime and the increasing gunfire that erupted at night.

“I think it would be great” if the police moved to the site, Rader said. “I don’t care about the traffic. All I care about is crime in the neighborhood.”

Robert Rader, 86, is said to house a police station in the vacant Columbus city office building that adjoins the backyard of his home on Beulah Road. "All I care about is crime" he said outside his home on Tuesday.

Lauren Smith, 25, who was walking the streets Tuesday afternoon, echoed the sentiment. She would like to see a police station relocate to the site to increase the presence of officers in their community and reduce response times.

“I feel like I hear gunshots” more often, said Smith.

Paul Crouse, 31, who passed during the interview, also identified the gunfire as a growing concern and said the presence of police in the neighborhood could help.

“Crime has definitely picked up here since the start of the pandemic,” said Crouse, who lives a few blocks east and describes the neighborhood as a mix of older retirees and young homeowners looking to improve their lives. House.

“It doesn’t do any good to sit there empty,” Crouse said of the town complex.

Crouse and Smith would also support urban use more directly related to the neighborhood, such as a recreation center, they said.

“I agree with that” used by the city’s public security department, said Nathaniel Long, 65, as he worked in his yard. The 24-year-old resident said he hasn’t noticed much change in traffic since the buildings became vacant three years ago.

The city will use cash from its contraband law enforcement seizure fund to pay DLZ Architecture to assess how it could be reused as “a potential site for a real-time crime center, an operations center. emergency, a 911 call center and a security dispatch, a northern office. for the Fire Division, and other options, ”said the order approved Monday.

One of two vacant office buildings in the 11-acre city of Columbus I-71 North complex located at the west end of Carolyn Avenue in North Linden, sandwiched between the freeway and the back des houses along Beulah Road.

The city announced in 2014 that it plans to sell the aging North Linden facility, which includes the 65,000 square foot two-story building at 757 Carolyn Ave. built in 1968. But residents of Linden were concerned about the future of the 11-acre site, and the structure remained vacant while the city drew up a plan, said Jasmine Ayers, a member of the North Linden Area Commission. Most of the time the fenced complex is closed.

Ayers said she believed the residents of Linden would welcome all uses of public safety, but would also like to have a programming and event space that the community could use.

There must be something very special for the community, ”she said.

In 2014, when the city announced it would spend up to $ 80 million to build what would later be called the Coleman Center, he said the Carolyn Avenue building and an adjacent building on the site – valued together by the Franklin County Auditor’s office at $ 4.2 million – were to be sold. The city bought them in 1998 for $ 7.2 million and spent more to repair them, but the city said it didn’t want to spend the tens of millions of dollars needed to renovate them.

“Both buildings have been vacant since the employees moved to the Coleman Center,” Joe Lombardi, city budget manager, said in an email. The south building is being reviewed for use by the Fire Division or city housing staff, he said.

In another action on Monday, city council approved a plan to use federal dollars to build up to five permanent public toilets near the downtown High Street corridor and other high-need areas. Unlike the portable units currently scattered around the city center, these will have running water and flush toilets.

The Capital Crossroads and Discovery Special Improvement District, an organization created by landowners that focuses on safety, cleaning, landscaping, homeless awareness and economic research for the downtown area paid for by assessments special property tax, will be responsible for the location of the new toilet. The organization must take into account things like walking, lighting, availability of utilities, clearing sidewalks and historic preservation, said Cynthia Rickman, spokesperson for the development department of the city, last week. city.

The lack of public toilets in the city center became a glaring problem when businesses such as bars and restaurants closed their doors or turned into a take-out model only due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Capital Crossroads responded by deploying portable units thanks to a grant from the United Way.

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About Ethel Nester

Ethel Nester

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