Study set in motion

Officials hope to learn how to improve area

An urban planning firm has been hired to develop a neighborhood plan for a portion of central Columbus that will be used to help guide future development.

The Columbus Board of Works on Tuesday approved a contract for $83,500 with Design Collective, based in Baltimore, Maryland, to create the Central Columbus Neighborhood Plan. The project will be paid with federal Metropolitan Planning Organization funds, said Emilie Pinkston, senior planner with the city-county planning department.

The area for the proposed neighborhood plan has a southern boundary at Sixth Street just above Cummins’ Columbus Engine Plant and a northern boundary of 19th Street between Chestnut Street and Lincoln Park.

It encompasses the former Golden Castings Foundry, which had operated for decades on 12.8 acres at 1616 10th St. It closed in 2003 after filing for bankruptcy and was bought two years later by KLM National LLC.

Five multi-family apartment projects have been proposed and/or completed in the neighborhood, primarily on former industrial properties, since 2012, Pinkston said.

Design Collective was selected after 14 planning consultant firms submitted qualifications for the project. A six-member committee then interviewed four firms and eventually picked Design Collective to develop the study for the city, Pinkston said.

As part of its work, Design Collective will evaluate land-use patterns, existing transportation and infrastructure conditions, streetscape characteristics and the location of amenities and services currently supporting the neighborhood, according to its contract with the city. A final master plan that will list preferred recommendations for the central Columbus neighborhood will also be prepared by the firm.

The neighborhood plan will be beneficial as developers seeking tax abatements and tax credits approach the city, said Mary Ferdon, executive director of administration and community development for the city.

Pinkston said the firm was selected due to its breadth of experience in working with communities across the country. In addition, Design Collective’s proposed approach to collecting public feedback also caught the city’s attention, Pinkston said.

The company indicated it would stay on-site over several days to collect public input as part of its proposal to the city. The study is expected to be completed by the beginning of 2018, Pinkston said.

About Design Collective

Design Collective, based in Baltimore, Maryland, specializes in a number of sectors, including education, life science and research, student housing, workplaces, retail and entertainment spaces, in addition to civic and cultural spaces. It also focuses on urban and planning design.

Information: Visit designcollective.com.

About the neighborhood plan

The Central Columbus Neighborhood Plan will be used to guide future development in the area, which has a southern boundary at Sixth Street just above Cummins’ Columbus Engine Plant and a northern boundary of 19th Street between Chestnut Street and Lincoln Park. The plan will give the city an opportunity to review how the neighborhood has changed, whether the current infrastructure is appropriate for the population density and how multi-family developments fit in the area.

Author photo
Matt Kent is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at 812-379-5712 or mkent@therepublic.com