Consultants told 30 West Side residents and business owners at a June 25 meeting what is needed to rejuvenate the Broad Street corridor.

Consultants told 30 West Side residents and business owners at a June 25 meeting what is needed to rejuvenate the Broad Street corridor.

Township officials and economic consultants from M. Arcari Associates were there to address residents' concerns and answer questions.

Consultant Mike Arcari said that two things have to happen to make rejuvenation of the corridor successful: The first is establishment of a JEDD (Joint Economic Development District) and the second is creation of a Community Reinvestment Area (CRA).

"A JEDD allows the township to do thing it couldn't do before," Arcari said. "It addresses questions of annexation issues, transportation, infrastructure funding, planning and development and the marketing of businesses, which is critical."

Putting a JEDD in place provides a way for Prairie Township and Columbus to cooperate on those types of issues. This, he said, will stimulate economic development.

A JEDD is established by a unanimous vote of trustees, after which a board is formed. It is made up of city and township residents, area businesses and others.

The JEDD board can levy an income tax for the district, not to exceed the income tax of Columbus, Arcari said. That tax revenue could be used to cover costs of key projects -- streetscape and transportation-related improvements, safety services and area revitalization and maintenance efforts.

Arcari said the portion of the corridor in Prairie Township has possibilities because of its location adjacent to I-270.

"This is a super location," he said. "You need something to happen here to take it to the next level. The JEDD allows for a revenue stream to be created and utilized for specific projects. There currently is not adequate funding for the things that need to be done here."

A CRA is also important to the corridor's redevelopment, Arcari said.

"It's a program that the township is discussing with the county," he said.

A CRA is a specific geographic area designated as eligible for tax exemptions on improvements to real property, such as new buildings or expansion and improvements to existing buildings, Arcari said The property owner must apply for the abatement prior to construction and needs to show the investment in construction and demonstrate that the project will create and/or retain jobs.

"We want to try and stimulate businesses to create nicer facilities," he said

To make both the JEDD and the CRA a reality, consultants stressed to those who attended the meeting that their involvement and support will be critical.

Those who spoke at the meeting weren't concerned about the creation of a JEDD or a CRA, but were interested in the Ohio Department of Transportation's plans to improve West Broad Street by eliminating some curb cuts. Such a move would deter business rather than enhance it, they said.

Trustee Nicole Schlosser said residents concerned about those road improvements, planned for 2011, should get in touch with ODOT representatives.

"We are looking ahead and reinvesting," she said. "We want to create a place where people want to live and do business."

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