Northland News

Nonprofit Summit

Infrastructure study, mall progress on agenda for Feb. 12


The next Nonprofit Summit will focus on progress being made toward creation of a nonprofit mall in the Northland area and a presentation about a student study of infrastructure needs along the Morse Road corridor.

Northland Alliance Chairwoman Joyce Bourgault, who began convening the gatherings for nonprofit organizations and agencies operating in the neighborhood in May 2011, said the next session, scheduled for Feb. 12, will include a presentation from Jesus L. Lara,, an associate professor in the City and Region Planning Section of the Knowlton School of Architecture at Ohio State University. His topic will be the development of a "strategic vision plan" for one of the area's main commercial corridors, to be created by 11 of his students.

The Feb. 12 meeting will begin with coffee and registration at 8:30 a.m. at the Haimerl Center, 1421 Morse Road. Lara's presentation is set for 9:20 a.m. with an update from the Northland Nonprofit Mall steering committee planned for 10:30 a.m.

The Nonprofit Summit is scheduled to conclude at 11:30 a.m.

Those planning to attend should register by Tuesday, Feb. 11, by calling 614-262-5094 or sending an email to

Lara's students conducted similar infrastructure studies in Weinland Park in 2010, Linden Village the following year and the West Side in 2012, according to the school of architecture's website.

In those instances, Bourgault said last week, the students worked on an entire neighborhood, but the focus this time around will be specifically on the Morse Road corridor because Northland is simply too large an area.

"The goal for this class is to work with community members and leaders to prioritize their needs and concerns," she said in announcing the Feb. 12 summit. "Planned activities will include a series of community design workshops geared specifically toward the needs of neighborhood residents.

"Based on this understanding, alternative design scenarios will be envisioned for the neighborhood. Target areas include safety and accessibility, open spaces and recreation, and access to local community resources."

Progress has been made since the last Nonprofit Summit on the idea of having a single location where organizations and agencies that operate in the area could have their headquarters or outpost offices, Bourgault indicated last week.

"We are at a turning point," she said. "We've gotten good word from United Way and the Columbus Foundation that they like the project that we're doing, they want to give us support as they can, and we want to share with the rest of the community what point we're at now in the project to keep people updated."

Bourgault, who said an OSU graduate student would be assisting with the nonprofit mall concept over the next several months, cautioned that realization of such a dream won't come any time soon.

"I would love to say that it's moving faster, but it's not going to," Bourgault said. "It's just a slow-moving process when you're trying to put this many people together into one collaboration. It's a challenge."