Clintonville Area Commission members hope to take advantage of what District 1 representative David Vottero called a "once-in-a-generation opportunity" by urging that an extension of the Olentangy Trail be included in the public-private partnership for the new OhioHealth headquarters project.
Commission members voted 8-0 during their Jan. 4 meeting to approve a letter asking for the addition to what already is an $89 million project -- $40 million of which is infrastructure improvements -- approved by Columbus City Council in September 2016.
The new OhioHealth administrative building, a 270,000-square-foot structure, along with a 1,350-space parking garage, are rising on a 13-acre site off Olentangy River Road behind the Kohl's store and Canterbury Apartments. The headquarters will bring all 1,600 of OhioHealth's nonclinical employees together in one location.
The Olentangy Trail runs from downtown Columbus through Clintonville to Worthington Hills, with trailheads in several Clintonville parks and neighborhoods.
The CAC's letter asks for Olentangy River crossings at Kelso Road and Webster Park, along with an extension of the trail along the west side of the river through public right-of-way and the OhioHealth site to "complete" the trail.
Currently, a gap in the trail from Northmoor Park to Clinton-Como Park forces cyclists to ride on surface streets and to cross West North Broadway at its signalized intersection with Milton Avenue.
"As work at OhioHealth has advanced we are increasingly concerned that this once-in-a-generation opportunity will be lost," the letter reads.
"We must not let that happen."
"I think this is a case where you don't get something if you don't ask for it," Vottero said at the meeting.
"I could not agree with you more on this letter," said B.J. White, District 9 representative.
"I think this is a good letter and makes some good points," said Randy Ketcham, who represents District 6.
Initially, Vottero wanted to send the request to Mayor Andrew J. Ginther, but Christopher Allwein of District 8 suggested copies also should be directed to members of City Council and executives at OhioHealth.
Councilman Michael Stinziano, who attended the CAC's meeting, additionally advised sending the letter to state Rep. David Leland (D-Columbus).
The overall project, including the infrastructure improvements, is scheduled for completion in spring 2019.