Although the process that eventually will allow Ohio State University officials to sell off what's most often referred to as "the sheep farm" in northwest Columbus is inching slowly along, several residents already are working to influence how the 56-acre site might be developed.
Some people living near the pasture land, which is adjacent to the Ohio State University Airport off West Case Road, are working with an OSU task force to create a request for proposals from would-be developers.
"We're just advising them as to what we would like to see," said Kit Logsdon, a member of the group and a Northwest Civic Association trustee.
"We don't really have any say," Logsdon said.
"I think that we've at least been able to give them some input.
"I think the most significant is to try to steer them toward a scoring system that would give, we hope, greater value toward community amenities, to have community value."
Roy Wentzel has been attempting to create greater public awareness of the need to influence state and university officials regarding development of the sheep farm.
He said his actions grew out of a gathering he and his wife held in May. About seven people sat at three tables in their residence and brainstormed issues of concern for the neighborhood.
The need for a community center and library was front and center, Wentzel said.
"Everybody was in total agreement from three different tables that weren't in contact with one another," he said.
"We do not have a social hub or gathering point in our area, no library, no community center, no senior center or food bank or just a place for needy kids to eat in the summertime," Wentzel wrote in an email about what he said he believes residents would like to see take shape at the sheep farm site.
"As this is probably the largest and last big parcel of land to go up for sale in our neighborhood we view this as a now-or-never opportunity," Wentzel wrote.
"We realize that this is a huge undertaking, but it's obvious northwest Columbus has suffered from years of lack of representation at city hall and we think this is the perfect opportunity to improve our community for the future of our children and grandchildren."
"The biggest fear is that it's just going to be more single-family homes back there and more traffic on Case Road, which is already a busy street," Wentzel said.
"We're doing a darned good job building for all the people who are coming here, but we're not doing a darned thing to handle the traffic.
"That's the last big parcel of land in the area that we could have a community center and a library and so forth."
"Obviously my greatest fear is that somebody will have greater influence on the decision process than the community," Logsdon said.
"Without being specific, I have no idea who that would be, whether a political impact or a financial impact.
"My greatest hope is that we can preserve a small bit of the rural origins of this area," Logsdon said.
"Columbus was considered a cow town, and that might have a derogatory concept, might make people feel that was not flattering, but it's accurate.
"This area was largely dairy, and there were orchards and crop-bearing land from basically Henderson Road, river to river up to Dublin, and it's all gone except for the little pieces around OSU airport."
John Ehlers, a former NWCA president, previously has said an act of the state legislature is required before OSU can divest itself of the sheep farm.
No specific timeline for potential development of the sheep farm has been announced.