With the I-70/71 interchange reconstruction project looming in the not-too-distant future, members of the German Village Society long-range planning committee decided to revisit the idea of trolley-bus routes to German Village.

With the I-70/71 interchange reconstruction project looming in the not-too-distant future, members of the German Village Society long-range planning committee decided to revisit the idea of trolley-bus routes to German Village.

The highway reconstruction project will involve the temporary closing of ramps in the downtown area. Committee members fear that the traffic hassles could keep tourists away from the neighborhood.

Nick Gurich, a graduate student at The Ohio State University, brought a refined set of demographic figures to the committee on March 15. Previously, a class in the city and regional planning program had presented the long-range planning committee with demographic information from German Village and surrounding neighborhoods. Gurich had agreed to continue with the effort and further compile statistics within German Village boundaries.

Part of his recommendation included better public transit, specifically trackless trolleys that would circulate to hotels and other places downtown where people cluster.

Bill Curlis, a member of the long-range planning committee, said the idea of a trolley was discussed about five years ago when local officials considered creating a special-improvement district for the entire community. But the plan was quashed because of the price tag - estimated at the time to cost between $75,000 and $100,000 - to be paid by property owners through a special tax assessment, he said.

"It might be time to look into that again, but it is a very expensive proposition," Curlis said.

Further concerns included the size of the buses and exhaust, as well as a proliferation of tourists in the area.

Still, the committee took Gurich up on his offer to explore the issue.

Trolley-style buses are not new to Columbus. Several circulated on downtown streets for about a decade, but they were auctioned off about five years ago by the Central Ohio Transit Authority. The long-range planning committee would look to COTA to administer the program for German Village.