City purchasing 2 State Street properties

The city of Columbus has agreed to purchase two parcels of land that will tie in with the State Street Revitalization Project.

The Columbus Redevelopment Commission is purchasing a 0.57-acre tract of land at the southeast corner at Second and State streets and a 9,000-square-foot property at 1872 State St. from Tom Wetherald for $175,000, said Heather Pope, redevelopment director for the city.

Pope gave an update to the Columbus Board of Works Tuesday on phase 2A of the State Street project, which remains ongoing.

A resolution to purchase both properties was unanimously approved by the board. Pope said the city intends to make the property at 1872 State St. into green space, while the other acreage will be used as part of a trail connection tied to the State Street project. The acquisitions will be paid through the city’s Central Tax Increment Financing (TIF) District, Pope said.

She said the completion date for phase 2A has been delayed until December or January since there were issues with surveying work on the north side. Work was originally expected to be completed by Nov. 1.

The city awarded a contract to Dave O’Mara Contractor Inc., based in North Vernon, for nearly $2.2 million for work on the second phase, which is divided into two sections. Phase 2A of the project includes creating a trail link between the east side of Columbus and downtown and providing architectural elements along State Street, extending from the Hawcreek Bridge to Mapleton Street. The city is paying for the State Street revitalization project using TIF funds.

Phase 2B will link the trail and sidewalk to downtown Columbus, adding a pedestrian trail down Fifth Street that will connect to Mill Race Park.

Pope said existing sidewalks on the south side of State Street will be removed, along with the relocation of utilities, as work continues. Green spaces with landscaping and puzzle benches will eventually be in place at State Street and Stadler Drive as part of phase 2A of the project, Pope said.

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