The city’s surveys of residents to learn whether creating small commerce centers within walking or biking distance of more neighborhoods is a good exercise in community involvement.
The city has a desire to find ways to grow business investment and is exploring one possibility on a neighborhood scale. This could include necessity goods, small-scale shops and restaurants.
The concept is interesting, but to be successful it requires a buy-in from those who could potentially benefit.
Columbus’ planning department is doing the right thing by gauging interest of the residents of the proposed neighborhoods. Several existing neighborhoods have been examined: 11th Street and Lafayette Avenue; 16th Street and Home Avenue; 23rd and California streets; 25th Street and Talley Road; and Gladstone and McKinley avenues. Resident input was sought through a survey sent to 855 households, with 95 responses received.
Involving residents in the steps along the way promotes government transparency and creates a better chance of them buying in to the concept. In addition, city officials learn valuable information up front about wants and needs for their neighborhoods.
More steps are required to determine whether this concept of neighborhood commercial centers is feasible and beneficial, but the city is on the right path by including residents in the process.
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