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Cummins wellness facility in works

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Cummins Inc. is proposing to raze two buildings on Jackson Street to clear the path for a new employee wellness center.

That’s according to plans presented last week to the Columbus Plan Commission.

The proposed 30,000-square-foot wellness facility would provide health services to Cummins employees and their families and would be the first of its kind for the Columbus-based engine maker.

The wellness clinic could also provide nutrition counseling, exercise counseling and health assessments while still being a traditional health care facility, the company said.

The facility would take up most of the property located between Jackson Street and Brown Street, from 8th Street to 11th Street.

The Plan Commission recommended that the City Council approve rezoning part of the property for the proposed clinic so the entire parcel would be zoned commercial to fit the wellness center use.

Site plans for the building may be presented to the plan commission at its May 14 meeting.

In order to build a new wellness center, Cummins would have to demolish the former Volunteers in Medicine building on the site along with two other existing structures.

Cummins spokesperson Jon Mills said negotiations to purchase the former VIM building are ongoing, but he thinks the deal will be done by the end of March.

The new facility would also include about 90 on-site parking spaces for users and employees, according to the plan commission staff report.

Cummins’ proposed plans fit the trend of recent downtown development city officials have begun to see, City-County Planning Director Jeff Bergman said.

“Downtown has been marching northward for the past four years,” he said.

Bergman said with the new development, it makes sense to rezone the parcels from neighborhood commercial to downtown commercial, allowing for larger developments.

A timeline for the construction of the project is still being developed and several parts of the plan need to be approved by the city council, including rezoning the proposed site, removing an existing alley and approving a site plan.

Cummins said it is hoping to have the new wellness facility open for its employees by the end of 2015.

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