Board approves lease for makerspace project

An exterior view of Cummins engine testing buildings at the Columbus Municipal Airport in Columbus, Ind., Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2020. Mike Wolanin | The Republic

COLUMBUS, Ind. — Columbus’ Board of Aviation Commissioners has approved allowing a makerspace group to lease its property, provided that certain conditions are met.

The board approved lease terms Tuesday for the makerspace subject to “an environmental review to ensure that the building is safe,” according to board attorney Mary Stroh. This condition was the result of a discussion regarding potential issues with asbestos.

Airport director Brian Payne said that the lease is for a property known as buildings 45 and 49, which are owned by the airport and currently leased to Cummins, Inc.

Cummins plans to leave at the end of its current lease, meaning that the buildings will be vacant as of July 1, he said.

Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce President Cindy Frey, who has been involved in makerspace discussions, said that a makerspace is “a collaborative space designed for making, exploring, building, using high tech to no tech tools.”

“Members would be able to access the space,” she said. “These members might be students. They might be hobbyists. They might be entrepreneurs.”

She said they’re calling the space “Propeller” as a nod to airport and to have it fit the description as a place for “making, innovating and accelerating.”

For the complete story, see Friday’s Republic.