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Column: What's your vision for State Street?

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When I think about the State Street corridor project the city is embarking on, it makes my mind whirl with possibilities.

That’s because in the 13 years I have worked at The Republic and lived in Columbus, I have witnessed a lot of changes and developments.

The State Street project makes me think about what the next 10 years will hold for that section of Columbus. And, how will my children remember that area?

More restaurants, an arts connection and housing are ideas already being kicked around. A previous study recommended a town center concept.

It’s apparent that residents and business owners in the State Street area want some improvements. Mayor Kristen Brown and City Council member Dascal Bunch, who represents that area, said they have received many requests for something to be done.

The question is, what?

Downtown, we’ve seen The Commons torn down and rebuilt into a beautiful, multipurpose facility. The playground with the Luckey Climber is popular with children as well as parents who found a place where their little ones can burn off some energy. The restaurants in The Commons draw people regularly, and the public space often is used for events.

The addition of the Indiana University Center for Art and Design, also downtown, should connect people to the arts through its programs and events. So should the Columbus Arts District, which just was designated an Indiana Cultural District.

Since moving to Columbus, I’ve seen many new commercial businesses built on the west side on Jonathan Moore Pike. Additionally, the city’s two movie theaters were revamped and now offer more screens and events.

A number of unique businesses have found a home downtown or in some other part of Columbus, including a custom meat market.

State Street could become home to some new, unique shops and businesses in the next decade by building on the base that exists and meeting the desires of area residents.

There is a lot of potential for growth.

But that potential begins to unfold only when the public starts offering ideas about what they want, thus taking ownership in the process. Those who live and work in the State Street area should know best what its strengths and weaknesses are. They have a vested interest in how that area is developed.

Start the conversation. I’m eager to hear more about the possibilities.

Kirk Johannesen is city editor of The Republic. He can be reached at 379-5639 or

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