Redevelopment will be the watchword for the Northland area in 2018, neighborhood leaders predict.
"I'm really excited about the progress we're making in the discussions about (state Route) 161, particularly in the area of the Continent," said Emmanuel V. Remy, president of the Northland Community Council.
In fact, Remy said, in talks he's had with potential developers for the area at the intersection of East Dublin-Granville Road and Interstate 71, as well as Mayor Andrew J. Ginther's office and other city officials, he's offered a very specific and concrete example of what the future might hold for the once-prominent shopping area.
"I've been talking with people and bringing up Grandview Yard as a development that could work in that area," he said. "You've got to give them a vision."
"I think we all see something on that scale, perhaps the same kind of investment in the corridor and that intersection," said Dave Paul, chairman of the NCC development committee. "It's a good vision for the area."
Dave Cooper, president of the Northland Area Business Association, and George Schmidt, coordinator of that organization's State Route 161 Task Force, both predict progress in 2018 for some along the once-vibrant East Dublin-Granville Road. Both said they are particularly buoyed in this hope by a Columbus City Council vote Dec. 11 to approve a grant of $15,000 for the task force.
The money will be used to improve a website for the NABA initiative and increase communication with business and property owners in the corridor, Cooper said.
"The ultimate goal is the SID," he said, referring to a special improvement district that involves property owners basically taxing themselves to pay for infrastructure improvements.
"I'm, of course, anxious for the 161 Task Force to make some headway in terms of stabilizing that corridor," Paul said.
"The beautiful thing is we've already done this on Morse Road," Remy said.
He said he's excited by the leadership and commitment Schmidt has brought to the 161 Task Force.
Remy said the cleanup efforts organized through the task force have been a help to him when approaching developers about properties along East Dublin-Granville Road.
Schmidt said his goal for 2018 is to increase the involvement of business owners along Route 161 to get them more "engaged" in what happens along the entire corridor.
"I need to find owners who are willing to invest two to three hours a month to plan on a vision for what 161 can be," he said. "They need to see where it's economically beneficial."