Calling it a long term investment, Mayor Michael Coleman plans to spend more than $300 million to improve city neighborhoods. He chose the Columbus Aquatic Center at 1160 Hunter Ave. as a backdrop for his announcement because in the spending plan, there is money to replace Maryland Pool.
"When we invest in better places for our kids to cool off and have fun, we're investing in their health, safety and quality of life," Coleman said. "All of these neighborhood investments will strengthen our city and our residents for years to come."
In the 2013 budget, there is $65 million for road resurfacing over the next two years: $32 million this year, plus $33 million in 2014. Frebis Avenue, between Lockbourne Road and Parsons Avenue, is one stretch of roadway needing attention.
Zeiroub Ly works at Jim's Tire Shop at the corner of Frebis Avenue and Lockbourne Road. He said it's not uncommon for drivers to pull into the shop with busted tires and dented rims after driving on Frebis Avenue.
"Last year, they just did some repairs here, but otherwise, the road just keeps getting worse and worse," said Zeiroub.
Columbus City Councilwoman Eileen Paley chairs the public service and transportation committee. She tells NBC4 that the next two years are a reinvestment of tax dollars generated from an income tax increase voters approved in 2009. Paley said they plan to save money by working closely with others.
"If ODOT is doing a project, we're doing a project with them. If public utilities is doing a project, we are working together. We don't want to tear up the streets for sewer lines and resurface them again," said Paley.
The investment in resurfacing will improve 145 lane miles of roadways and more than 30 miles of alleys. Also in the budge is $8.7 million for bikeway development, including pavement markings. There is also money, more than $5 million, for pedestrian safety improvements that include nearly 8 miles of sidewalks.
It's good news to James Gibbish. He travels by foot along Hague Avenue.
"That would help me a lot because I walk a lot on the roads here and there are no sidewalks at all," said Gibbish.
Some of priority projects in the 2013 City of Columbus Capital Improvements Budget include:
Police & Fire Annual Radio Equipment Program - $600,000
Crime Lab - $14.5 million
American Addition Infrastructure Improvements - $7.5 million