The Columbus Division of Police has added new duties for three patrol officers. The three have been named Diversity and Inclusion Liaison Officers who will work to build trust between police and the community.
Streetcars Are Recommended To Columbus Mayor
After several months of discussion and research, the Columbus Downtown Streetcar Working Group said Monday such a system is feasible and desirable for the downtown community.
The streetcar working group favored a streetcar line running along High Street from German Village to the Short North. It also has the smallest price tag. To build a line from Frankfurt Street to Buttles Avenue would cost more than $75 million. Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman likely will present the working group’s findings to the city council in the spring.
“I do think this will make a difference in our community. But the next question is going to be how do we pay for it?” Coleman stated.
Coleman presented the idea of a streetcar line earlier this year in his state of the city address. And he said there will not be a city-wide tax increase to fund it. The working group came up with a list of possible sources of money. That list included: the federal department of commerce, state capital funds or private contributions. Councilwoman Mary Ellen O’Shaughnessy, who supports a streetcar line, said before there’s a discussion about capital investment, the rest of the city council has to see the recommendations.
“There’s a healthy amount of skepticism there. As I said there’s a tremendous amount of strain on our capital budget. And we’re going to have to do a lot of work to be able to get to yes,” O’Shaughnessy said.
The working group’s research shows operating a streetcar line from German Village to the Short North would cost nearly $5 million per year. But the group estimates that a streetcar line would generate upwards of $250 million in economic benefits. Those would include the creation of 3,000 new jobs, 300 new hotel rooms and the addition of some 1,500 residential units in the downtown area.