Mayor Andrew J. Ginther and members of his administration will be taking to the road next week with a stop planned in northwest Columbus.

A "Community Family Night" is scheduled from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, July 19, in the Carriage Place Community Center, 4900 Sawmill Road.

The flyer for the event reads, "Join us for dinner, activities for kids and a chance to speak with city department representatives."

The announcement was made by Katherine H. Cull, North Side Pride Center manager.

"I hope you all can attend," she wrote in an email.

"It's just great that the mayor goes around to the neighborhoods and visits the resident," said Nick Cipiti, Northwest Civic Association president. "I think that's just terrific."

In a statement, Ginther indicated the Carriage Place Community Center gathering marked something of a departure from past practices.

"For many years, the city's focus was on downtown," the statement read. "I am shifting the city's attention to our neighborhoods, while maintaining our momentum downtown.

"Wherever we're focused, I'll be working with residents to remove barriers to opportunity."

"As far as our expectations, we really don't know for sure what might transpire there," Cipiti said. "I guess I'll just leave it at that."

Roy Wentzel isn't content to leave things at that.

He has hopes about what Ginther's appearance might mean for the neighborhood.

Wentzel is a member of a neighborhood committee that's been seeking for the past several years to influence what happens with what is known as the "Sheep Farm," a large tract of pastureland that Ohio State University officials have announced they plan to sell.

Neighbors of the land say they don't want it to go to development, particularly high-density residential.

They are lobbying for such public uses as a senior center, park or library.

Wentzel said he knows exactly what he would like to hear from Ginther and members of his administration.

"Of course, my big thing has always been the Sheep Farm," he said.

"We're hoping that maybe he will make an announcement that the city has gotten into an agreement with Ohio State to purchase the land.

"I've been hearing good things ... but we haven't heard the definitive word."

"If that isn't his announcement, we would like to know the alternatives for a community center or community hub in the northwest."

If city officials can come up with money to at least secure the land from OSU for now, Wentzel expects initially it will just be green space "but eventually we would like to see them build a community center, library, senior center."

Wentzel pointed out the closest facility for older residents of northwest Columbus to gather is the Gillie Senior Center on Morse Road, about 10 miles away.

He predicted most members of the committee as well as the sizable sector of the population are concerned about what might happen with the nearly 60-acre site.

"We should have a pretty good turnout," Wentzel said.

"I'm going to try to be there," Cipiti said.

kparks@thisweeknews.com

@KevinParksTW1