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Street plan to move ahead

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A plan to revitalize State Street on the city’s southeast side into a residential and commercial hotspot has city officials hopeful for the busy corridor’s future.

The Columbus Plan Commission last week gave the nod for a recommendation to City Council to put the State Street Corridor Plan into the city’s comprehensive plan.

Several of the commission members called the plan long overdue and something both public and private parties would be willing to tackle.

State Street is a 2-mile-long area from California Street to the southeastern city limits near Clifty Creek.

The plan includes a detailed road map for improving the look and feel of the corridor, calling for additional parks and bike lanes and encouraging more apartment and townhouse developments.

Streetscape improvements, specialty paving treatments at select crosswalks and sidewalk extensions into neighborhoods are among the recommendations, as well as extensions to the People Trail.

The plan also calls for the city to work with commercial developers to attract restaurants, specialty and ethnic groceries, specialty automotive stores and unique entrepreneurial retailers to the corridor.

Creating signage for the entire corridor that would brand the area, as well as creating landscaped gateways at the southern portion of State Street at the intersections of Indiana Avenue, Stadler Drive and Marr Road, are part of the plan.

All of the ideas are broken into three tier groups representing implementation dates that could take place over the life of the State Street project.

Columbus-Bartholomew County Planning Department Director Jeff Bergman said he was pleased with the finished plan the city had come up with and was glad that so many people could be part of the process.

“It seems to set the right tone between some recommendations that are bold and maybe a bit on the visionary side, with things that are readily and very easily accomplishable,” he said.

Plan Commission member Dave Fisher said the city has lost a lot of credibility by having plans in the past that didn’t amount to any real change along the busy corridor and it’s time residents in the areas start seeing real change.

“I’ve lived in Columbus since 1969, and in my time here I’ve heard a lot of exciting things that are going to happen on State Street. I think most of them now are documents on somebody’s shelves,” he said. “It’s really important that we take action to incorporate this comprehensive plan and then that the city steps on the gas and tries to make progress with some of these tier-one projects.”

The next step is for City Council to approve making the State Street revitalization part of the city’s long-term comprehensive plan at its July 1 meeting.

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