Northland News

'Let's Move' Northland location now uncertain

Availability of Brookhaven High School in question because of CCS proposal to close several schools


Plans are moving ahead for a fall event to encourage families to be more physically active at four locations around the city, but the Northland location is now uncertain.

Members of the North Side Health Advisory Committee met last week, and "Let's Move, Columbus" was a main topic of discussion.

The fitness-promotion initiative, which is based on a faith group's efforts in Indianapolis, is to be jointly put on by four health advisory panels on the same day, Sept. 21.

"The goal is to get people out and moving, see how easy it is to incorporate into their lives, and how much fun it is," Sandy LaFollette, North Side Health Advisory Committee co-chairwoman, said at last week's meeting.

The North Side site for a children's health fair and a variety of family activities appeared to have been all set in late January when LaFollette announced that the principal of Brookhaven High School had consented to host the event.

That was before Brookhaven became a candidate for closure as part of the latest round of cost-saving measures being undertaken by Columbus City Schools officials.

Scott Dowling, the committee co-chairman, suggested the building could remain available for the Northland Let's Move, Columbus activities even if it is no longer to be used as a high school.

"We may be able to still keep it for this event," he said. "Hopefully, we don't have to go to a completely different agenda."

Columbus Board of Education members were tentatively scheduled to vote as early as this week on the closure of several buildings, including Brookhaven and Independence high schools, along with Monroe Middle School and Arlington Park, Fifth Avenue, Maybury and Siebert elementary schools.

"I'm really hoping and praying that this is going to work out for us," LaFollette said. "As soon as we find out that the school's not going to be closed, we'll be able to move forward."

LaFollette said she has a backup plan if Brookhaven won't be available in the fall, but the school provided an ideal location with its track, the possible use of indoor restrooms and even electricity for some of the Let's Move, Columbus exhibitors.

The 2014 version of Let's Move will serve as a "test drive" to possibly expand the effort to all of central Ohio within five years or so, according to the Rev. Kwesi Gyimah, a member of the committee and pastor of the Columbus All Nations Seventh-Day Adventist Church.

The congregation's nonprofit health ministry, the Global Center for Wellness and Transformation, will serve as a main sponsor for the Northland site.

"We're open to ideas," Gyimah said. "It's the first time we're doing something like this."