RDG chosen to conduct housing study, results expected in summer of 2024

Robin Hilber

A planning firm with locations across the Midwest has been selected to evaluate Columbus’ housing needs.

The city has chosen RDG Planning & Design, said Assistant Director of Community Development Robin Hilber. The housing study project seeks to assess the city’s existing housing stock, demographics and market demands, as well as identify critical housing gaps and issues.

The Columbus Redevelopment Commission voted in July to authorize up to $150,000 to fund the study. The city released a request for proposals in September and received 14 responses, Hilber said. From there, they selected four consultants to interview before deciding on RDG.

The company, which describes itself as an “interdisciplinary design and planning firm,” has offices in Denver, Des Moines, Iowa City, Omaha and St. Louis.

“They recently completed housing studies for the Greater Lafayette READI Region, the Indiana Uplands region, and the city of Bloomington, so they’re very appreciative of the opportunity to continue their work in Indiana,” Hilber said.

City officials are still developing the firm’s contract and hope to take it to the Columbus Board of Works for approval soon, she said. The study is expected to have a six-month timeline, with the city having the finished product in June or July.

“We picked RDG because they have such a great experience with community stakeholders, and we wanted to have somebody that would interact well with the community as well as provide a document that is digestible not only to real estate developers as well as just the common layperson,” said Jessie Boshell, a senior planner with the city/county planning department. “So they will be providing documentation from a story map, which will be a summary of what their findings are, as well as moving all the way to a technical manual.”

The firm will look at the spectrum of housing needs and provide suggestions for how to address the city’s needs, he said.

Hilber added that RDG will conduct a survey as part of their work, with both an English and Spanish version available.

“They want to survey the entire community, anybody who’s interested in participating in that,” she said. “They’ll also be coming to Columbus and talking with corporations and not-for-profits, anybody who really deals with housing.”

According to Hilber, the city’s last housing study was completed in 2012.