Hilliard City Council on Oct. 22 is expected to withdraw a resolution that would have explored the commercial development of a portion of the city-owned Cross Creek Park, 3342 Hilliard-Rome Road, in front of Hilliard Crossing Elementary School, 3340 Hilliard-Rome Road.
The decision to walk back from a suggestion to rezone part of the park for possible use as medical offices came after dozens of residents from Columbus' Cross Creek subdivision made emotional appeals Sept. 24 to Hilliard City Council.
Even more sent emails.
Council President Albert Iosue estimated he and other council members received "about 50 or 60 emails" opposing the proposal.
"The residents made their opposition clear," Iosue said.
Iosue said the city administration suggested the legislation be withdrawn.
"A decision and a plan to explore commercial development was put forth by the administration and presented for a reaction," said David Meadows, Hilliard's economic-development director. "That reaction was heard loud and clear and a collective decision (by the administration) was made."
Meadows said he suggested to Mayor Don Schonhardt that the city not proceed with the proposal and a consensus was reached.
Meadows said he communicated the decision to abandon the proposal individually to each council member.
Councilman Andy Teater said he was not opposed to exploring a commercial use of the parcel, but he would adhere to the will of residents.
"I heard from residents throughout the community who are opposed to it," said Teater, including those in his own subdivision, Hoffman Farms, several miles away from Cross Creek Park.
"The residents' opposition was overwhelming."
Councilman Tom Baker said he agrees with the decision to withdraw the proposal because "there is little open space" in that area, it is too close to Crossing Elementary School and it is in an area "challenged by traffic."
Councilman Les Carrier said the decision is an example of how public input works.
"We listened and even learned things, such as the desire of the residents to have upgraded amenities in pocket parks," Carrier said.
The resolution authorized 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.
It will appear on City Council's Oct. 22 agenda with a notation for it to be withdrawn, law director Tracy Bradford said.
Debi Hampton, a resident of Cross Creek, was among the approximately 60 residents from Cross Creek and neighboring subdivisions in Columbus and Hilliard near Cross Creek Park who voiced opposition to the proposal Sept. 24.
"We're thankful for the decision of council and that our voices were heard as we continue to work together," Hampton said.
Residents still are scheduled to meet with Teater and other council members from 7 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 10, at Hilliard Crossing Elementary School, Hampton said.
"We'd like to see a few more amenities at the park," she said.