COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Local leaders came together for a groundbreaking ceremony Wednesday morning for the Central Ohio Transportation Authority’s (COTA) Mobility Center at Rickenbacker.
The mobility center aims to boost economic development and provide jobs and education opportunities for central Ohioans.
COTA’s President and CEO Joanna Pinkerton said the center is a much-needed hub for cars, bikes, scooters, and rideshare vehicles.
The mobility center will allow Rickenbacker employees to have different transportation options when going to or from work, but most of all, it will be a community gathering place.
“More than 38,000 people are employed in this area. That is expected to double, and it’s a really tough commute for people. How do I get food for my family? People who are interested in workforce development and education, how do I get there? So this really is the build-out focused on people,” said Pinkerton.
Inside there will be a daycare for children of employees and a food pantry run by the Mid-Ohio Food Collective.
“We’re all about convenience and access because when it comes to choosing what food is going to be on the table for your family, convenience is key. So we want to have the right food in the right place at the right time,” said Brad Draper with the Mid-Ohio Food Collective.
Columbus State Community College is also a partner for this project, and they’ll provide on-site education resources.
“A place where they can have access to food, have high-quality childcare, it’s close to their job, the ability then to provide training to get to the next job, a more sustainable job is something we’re really excited to be a part of,” said Dr. David Harrison, the president of Columbus State.
With tens of thousands of people working in the Rickenbacker area, Pinkerton with COTA said a mobility center is necessary, especially as central Ohio’s population continues to increase.
“There’s been a lot of economic growth here and we want to make sure the people’s side of that is taken care of too,” said Pinkerton.
The Mobility Center at Rickenbacker is set to be completed sometime in 2025.