A newly created special improvement district along East Main Street will help increase safety and promote economic development, representatives from the city of Bexley and the Eastmoor subdivision said.
Columbus City Council approved March 29 the establishment of the East Main Street special improvement district, which extends from Gould Road on the west to Barnett Road on the east. The purpose of the SID is to "improve and build the East Main Street corridor of Columbus as a viable business, cultural and residential community," according to the SID's articles of incorporation.
"One of the main concerns of property owners and businesses have is to improve the security situation -- petty crime, prostitution, petty theft and, of course, drugs," said Herb Talabere, chairman of the SID Development Committee and a former president of the Eastmoor Civic Association and Block Watch.
Bexley Mayor Ben Kessler said Bexley and Eastmoor representatives began the possibility of forming a SID several years ago as a strategy to bolster development along East Main Street.
"I think it can be a valuable partnership," he said. "It's definitely been a valuable partnership in terms of helping to see (the SID) get implemented, and we hope to be participating with it."
In establishing the SID, Talabere headed the effort to collect signatures from at least 60 percent of property owners within the district's boundaries. Franklin County Auditor Clarence Mingo certified that the East Main Street SID petition obtained signatures from 63 percent of property owners. The SID Development Committee must now notify property owners that they will be assessed 7.5 percent of each property's annual taxes, which is estimated to raise about $54,000 a year for the East Main Street SID.
The funds will be used to form a nonprofit corporation that will provide safety measures, including bicycle patrollers similar to those employed by SIDs in other areas such as Northland, the University District, the Short North and downtown Columbus.
"It will be some extra eyes on the street to deter some of the crime," Talabere said. "That's worked very well downtown."
Kessler said he and Bexley City Council have had discussions about providing funding in an amount yet to be determined to the East Main Street SID.
"I'm going to include it in our 2018 budget proposal to council is helping to fund the SID staff so that there is some service provided to the eastern portion of Main Street in terms of bike patrol and trash pickup," he said.
The goal, Kessler added, is "to help create a more viable arrangement for Eastmoor and support our own border there on Main Street."
Property owners on East Main Street have until mid-May to file any objections to the annual assessment. Columbus City Council must issue final approval before the assessment goes into effect.
"All that gets done by August before city council goes on recess," Talabere said. "We don't actually see the money until March or April of next year."