Editor's note: One day after this story went to press, Hilliard City Council members said residents' opposition to the Cross Creek Park proposal has prompted them to withdraw the accompanying resolution when they meet Oct. 22. Read the new story at ThisWeekNEWS.com/Hilliard.

Residents of Columbus’ Cross Creek subdivision, which is on the doorstep of Hilliard, appealed to Hilliard City Council on Sept. 24 that borders are not relevant when it comes to protecting the nearby Cross Creek Park, 3342 Hilliard-Rome Road.

“It’s not about green or blue road signs (but) a common goal,” said Cross Creek resident Debi Hampton, referring to the colors of street signs that differentiate Columbus roads from those in Hilliard.

About 60 residents from Cross Creek and some adjacent developments filled council chambers to oppose a proposal by the city to explore commercial development of almost 7 acres in front of Hilliard Crossing Elementary School, 3340 Hilliard-Rome Road.

The proposed resolution would authorize the Hilliard Development Corp. to act as the city’s agent for the purpose of rezoning 6.6 acres of the 10-acre Cross Creek Park owned by Hilliard. The land fronts Hilliard-Rome Road just north of Gillette Avenue.

The Hilliard Development Corp. is a nonprofit corporation created to advance, encourage and promote the industrial, economic, commercial and civic development of Hilliard, according to David Meadows, Hilliard’s economic-development director. Its members are volunteers from the community and include president Kirk Herath, Hilliard City Schools Superintendent John Marschausen, Aristotle Hutras and James Holowicki, he said.

Other legislation would be required to rezone the parcel and any proposed development would also be a separate legislative procedure, Meadows said.

“It’s purely conceptual,” he said.

Medical offices at the site are a possibility, but an ultimate use could not be ascertained until a traffic study and “a deeper dive” into what is a good fit are conducted, Meadows said.

The proposed resolution advanced from a committee to City Council for a hearing Oct. 22, but more than a dozen residents addressed City Council for almost an hour Sept. 24. Prior to the meeting, councilmen Andy Teater and Tom Baker told residents filling the hallway outside council chambers that though the proposed resolution was not being heard by City Council, they still could speak about it.

“You have lost touch with your civic duty. I don’t know of anyone who thinks this is a good idea,” said Karena Neff, a Cross Creek resident.

Referring to the proposed resolution citing Cross Creek Park as “surplus property,” several people chastised council members for not installing playground equipment at the park as they recounted family memories of utilizing its open space.

“There is no other green space anywhere on the east side of Hilliard,” said Patrick Shafer, another Cross Creek resident.

Jason Sparks, president of the homeowners association of Hyde Park, a Hilliard subdivision, said his neighborhood’s residents shared the concerns of Cross Creek residents.

Several council members indicated they were aware of the issue after reading emails from the residents who oppose commercial development on the land.

Teater agreed to meet with residents from Cross Creek and other neighborhoods prior to Oct. 22. The meeting was scheduled for 7 p.m. Oct. 10, but a location was not decided immediately.

Hilliard school district officials said they would be pleased to share concerns about the potential impact of development adjacent to Crossing but any decision would be the city’s alone.

“(We are) aware of conversations related to the potential sale of Cross Creek Park for commercial purposes. Any sale (of the park) is at the sole discretion of the city of Hilliard,” Marschhausen said.

Marschhausen said conceptual plans have been shared with the district and communicated to school board members and other district leaders.

“If asked for input about potential development we welcome the opportunity to share our perspective about the impact on school safety,” Marschhausen said. “Any time a development is proposed (near a school), we can advocate for what is best. ... But we have no role (concerning development) except to be an advocate for the district.”

kcorvo@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekCorvo

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Previous story:

Residents of Columbus' Cross Creek subdivision, which is on the doorstep of Hilliard, appealed to Hilliard City Council on Sept. 24 that borders are not relevant when it comes to protecting Cross Creek Park.

“It’s not about green or blue road signs (but) a common goal,” said Debi Hampton, referring to the colors of street signs that differentiate Columbus roads from those in Hilliard.

About 60 residents from Cross Creek and some adjacent developments filled council chambers to oppose a tentative proposal by the city to explore the commercial development of almost 7 acres in front of Hilliard Crossing Elementary School, 3340 Hilliard-Rome Road.

No rezoning has been suggested but residents responded to a proposed resolution that, if approved, authorizes the Hilliard Development Corp. to act as the city’s agent for the purpose of rezoning 6.6 acres of the 10-acre Cross Creek Park owned by Hilliard.

Other legislation would be required to rezone the parcel and any proposed development would also be a separate legislative procedure, said David Meadows, Hilliard's economic-development director.

“It’s purely conceptual,” but the city is interested in exploring commercial development of the sliver of land fronting Hilliard-Rome Road just north of Gillette Avenue, Meadows said.

The proposed resolution allowing the Hilliard Development Corp. to explore development opportunities advanced from a committee to City Council for a hearing Oct. 22.

Nevertheless, more than a dozen residents addressed council for almost an hour Sept. 24.

“You have lost touch with your civic duty. I don’t know of anyone who thinks this is a good idea,” said Karena Neff, a Cross Creek resident.

Referring to language in the ordinance that cites Cross Creek Park as “surplus property,” several people chastised council members for not installing playground equipment at the park as they recounted family memories of utilizing its open space.

“There is no other green space anywhere on the east side of Hilliard,” said Patrick Shafer of Cross Creek.

Jason Sparks, president of the homeowners association of Hyde Park, a Hilliard subdivision, said his neighborhood's residents shared the concerns of Cross Creek residents.

kcorvo@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekCorvo