Booster

Group of city officials to look into rat problem

Columbus Public health leaders hear CAC's plea

By ThisWeek Community News  • 

There's good news on the rat front, Clintonville Area Commission Chairman Daniel B. Miller announced at last week's monthly meeting.

The rodent onslaught has been a regular topic on local online message boards this summer, with dozens of large rats seen skulking about backyards and even invading homes.

While he hasn't received anything official or in writing, Miller said he has been informed that the commission's resolution calling for a study of the rat problem in the neighborhood and possible revival of a defunct rodent-control program hasn't fallen on deaf ears.

Columbus Public Health officials plan to pull together a group that will include representatives from the code enforcement, public service and public utilities departments to investigate the problem of rat proliferation, first brought to the city's attention by CAC District 8 representative Dr. Kristopher Keller, Miller said.

Once the group is formed, he said, its members plan to meet with the CAC and perhaps tour areas where rats have been spotted in daylight hours -- generally a sign that their numbers are significant.

While the health department's budget for 2014 does not contain any money for bringing back a rat-control program, it was adopted long before the area commission passed the resolution, the chairman said.

Isom Nivins Jr., neighborhood liaison to the CAC, suggested in addition to possibly lobbying health department officials to adjust the budget if a substantial rat issue is determined to exist, but also to be on hand in December's city budget hearings.

Miller proposed forming a task force to represent the area commission with the group being brought together by the health department, and he appointed Keller to head it. Keller may seek to have others also named to the task force.

Here comes car2go

After twice running out of time to do so, the CAC last week voted to send a letter of support for a new car-sharing operation coming to parts of Columbus, including Clintonville.

The "long-overdue" letter of support for car2go North America LLC, as Miller described it, finally was brought up at last week's meeting after getting bumped from the agenda by time constraints in August and again in September.

The commission's consideration of the issue came on the same day the wholly owned subsidiary of Daimler North America issued a press release announcing a start date of Oct. 26 for the car-sharing operation and the opening of membership registration at Columbus.car2go. com.

A network of 250 car2go edition Smart 42 vehicles will be available for shared use in the Columbus area, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, according to the announcement.

Columbus will be the 12th market in North America for car2go.

The service is designed to complement COTA and CoGo by providing residents the ability to pair one-way car2go trips with buses and bikes, the press release said.

The cost of the service for subscribers is 38 cents a minute, according to the website, with gas and insurance included in that fee.

"I propose that we offer them support in a general form," Miller said.

Daimler North America officials have been seeking letters of support from area commissions and civic associations in the areas where the program is to be instituted in order not to have to pay for parking spaces.

The service area will stretch from the South Side residential neighborhoods of Merion Village and German Village up through downtown, the Short North and Clintonville, east toward the Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, and west to Franklinton, according to the press release.

"I see some issues regarding parking," said Randy Ketcham, the District 6 representative, who wondered why the company should get a break on parking meters when others have to pay.

The letter of support falls short of demanding city officials waive parking meter costs, Miller replied.

The vote to send the letter was unanimous.

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