The city has created a policy for events and other gatherings held in downtown Columbus.
The policy, recently approved by the Columbus Board of Works, outlines guidelines event organizers will be required to follow, said Dave Hayward, executive director of public works/city engineer.
Such a policy has not been in place before, he said.
Under the policy, the city has created a street festival area along Fourth Street from Jackson Street to Washington Street and from Washington Street to Franklin Street. Larger events such as BBQ Blues & Brews, NeighborFEST and the Mill Race Marathon After Party will continue to be held in the area, Hayward said.
Washington Street will be considered only when an event has been previously there, although it will not be a guarantee of approval, according to the policy. In addition, as events on Washington are discontinued, no closures on Washington Street will be added unless an exception is made by the Columbus Board of Works with a recommendation by the city engineer, the policy says.
“We don’t want to close Washington Street anymore than we have to,” Hayward said. “It impacts so many businesses downtown, so that’s why we started working on this policy.”
The city approached the Downtown Merchants Association twice for feedback that helped craft the final policy while looking at other cities as a comparison, said Aimee Morris, engineering technician with the city. Individuals who submit an application to the city for special events will be required to provide information such as expected attendance, details of the event and a detailed site plan.
“It was a much more comprehensive approach to what people are doing in the downtown than what we’ve ever had before,” Hayward said, referring to the adopted policy. “We just want enough information on what they want to do.”
Hayward said the city is trying to get people to look at Fourth Street as an accessible area where events can be held. The policy does not affect marches that might occur on Washington Street since those typically take place on the sidewalk, he said.
An event application and the full policy, which is already in effect, can be found on the city’s website under “Forms” within the Engineering Department homepage.
The adopted policy will be good for merchants in the downtown area, said John Pickett, co-owner of Baker’s Fine Gifts & Accessories and a member of the Columbus Board of Works. It will also make downtown Columbus appear more organized from the city and business owners’ perspective as well, he said.
“It provides a lot of clarity for when to close Washington Street and when not to,” Pickett said. “It’ll make the events better because it will require them to put more thought into it.”
Washington Street is to be considered only when an event has previously been held there, but is not a guarantee of approval.
The city has created a street festival area along Fourth Street from Jackson Street to Washington Street and from Washington Street to Franklin Street. As events on Washington cease, no new Washington Street closures will be added unless an exception is made by the city’s Board of Works with a recommendation by the city engineer.
Event organizers will also be required to provide estimated attendance, how the event will be advertised and details involving the event such as start and end times, how many vendors are expected to participate and other details. In addition, a detailed site plan will also be required of applicants.
Source: City of Columbus