Residents Have Ideas for Downtown Blueprint

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WOSU asks city workers and residents how they would change downtown in the next ten years.

To find out what residents like or dislike about Columbus, there’s no better place to go than a bustling market right in the center of downtown. Pearl Market, located where Broad and Gay Streets intersect with High, is a place where vendors, city workers, and residents of Columbus come together. Each person here has an invested interest in the city, and each has a different idea for the future of downtown. Michael Yannacey is a vendor at Pearl Market. He says Columbus should pay more attention to small business owners.

“We have a lot of vacant properties down in Columbus and the city really needs to make it attractive for small businesses and medium-sized businesses to come in and do a start-up. If the landowners aren’t going to go ahead and sell those properties then they need to fix them up, the need to make them look attractive, or they need to make it so businesses can come in there,” Yannacey says.

Yannacey also says he disagrees with the construction of Columbus Commons, the park that’s replacing city center mall. Another city worker, Roni Williams, agrees with him. She says a shopping center would attract people on the weekends.

“Downtown is dead on Saturday and Sunday. Everything is closed! So if you want to do something downtown, there’s nothing down here to do. They need to put a mall back down here. They need more family-oriented things for people to do.,” Williams says.

Fred Huffman agrees that the city seems to shut down after six o’clock. He would like to see more places open at night.

“Bring something to downtown that is going to attract the downtown living that they’re looking for. So the people downtown can have somewhere to go, that they can come out and go in walking distance. Open it up later instead of closing it up,” Huffman says.

Resident Jerry Stone would like an easier commute on his bike. He says more trails and less road traffic would help.

“I would add meters and on-street parking on every single road. It tends to slow traffic and encourages shopping in a lot of the different retailers,” Stone says.

Many of these ideas are being echoed by city council members. Their 10-year plan for Columbus ambitiously tries to meet every one’s needs. It’s now deciding what takes priority and where to start.

Jen Monroe, WOSU News.

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