The City of Columbus is creating a new development arm to replace one that was closed a few years ago.
The City has also hired a firm to help with the makeover of the Reeb Avenue Elementary School building. Jim Letizia reports.
In 2009, Columbus' taxpayer funded development arm, The Columbus Urban Growth Corporation, was closed due to a 4-million dollar debt. Now Columbus City Council has voted to create a new organization to replace the one that was run by Mayor Michael Coleman's friend, David Baker. Council last night approved the creation of the Columbus Next Generation Development Corporation, which municipal Economic Development Administrator Bill Webster says will help redevelop some of the city's poorest neighborhoods. Webster says officials plan to expand the organization's work city-wide. It is not clear how the Corporation will be funded or who will run it. Council last night also approved spending nearly 790-thousand dollars on a consulting and engineering contract with a private firm to renovate the former Reeb Avenue Elementary school. Plans are to turn the building into a neighborhood facility that will house a Learning and Development center for children and the organization taking over the social service programs formerly run by the South Side Settlement House. Veteran South Side activist Bob Leighty praises the plan. It was discussed by Mayor Michael Coleman during his state of the city speech earlier this year. The city acquired the building from the Columbus Schools as part of a land swap in which the district gets the 52 acre site of the former Woodland Meadows apartment complex.