COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — A new vision to transform downtown Columbus is the goal of a new strategic plan focusing heavily on increasing residents and workers in the area.
There have been several strategic plans in the past that have made Columbus what it is today.
The goal of this one is to increase downtown residents to 40,000 and downtown workers to 120,000 by 2040.
The Scioto Mile and Columbus Commons are two downtown landmarks born out of strategic planning decades ago.
“We have to encourage people to come back downtown,” said Bob Loversidge, a member of the Columbus Downtown Commission, which approved a new strategic plan which has been in the works for the last year. The commission serves as the downtown district’s planning and zoning review board.
The big focuses in the new plan are on creating a better housing stock including affordable housing, bringing in more local small businesses, and improving transportation options.
“We still have 200 and some acres of surface parking in our downtown: we can’t achieve density until we replace a lot of that with buildings to house people and green space,” Loversidge said.
“We really want downtown to become a place you go to rather than through,” said Amy Taylor, president of the Columbus Downtown Development Corporation.
Taylor said that right now, approximately 11,200 people call downtown home and about 90,000 people work there. To reach their living and working population goals, downtown needs to be a place for everyone.
“Whether it’s offering more affordability in housing so more people can live downtown at lots of different income levels or saying we need our downtown first floor retailers to represent our community and really have a diversity of offerings and people so that we all feel welcome downtown,” Taylor said.
Loversidge, who’s been on the commission since the beginning, said there’s a lot of work to do and a lot of aspects of downtown living that Columbus is still missing.
“If you live downtown, you should be able to get everything you need walking within 15 minutes and we don’t have that now,” he said. “We have kind of islands of density, but we don’t have all the pieces pulled together.”
The Columbus Downtown Commission approved the plan Tuesday morning, and it moves next to Columbus City Council for consideration Monday.
You can check out the entire plan by clicking here.