COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Safety restrictions in the Short North are loosening after several non-violent weekends.
Now, the Columbus Arts Festival is in full swing, and Mayor Andrew Ginther said police and fire authorities are present to keep watch.
“Families can feel safe and comfortable coming down here enjoying one of the best arts festivals in the country,” Ginther said.
“We’re utilizing multiple strategies at the arts fest to keep the event safe for everyone,” said a spokesperson for Columbus police.
NBC4 asked Ginther, with resources being used Downtown, in the Short North and around the city, does the division have the staffing to keep up?
“We’re going to have all of our officers responding to calls for service and doing their work throughout the city,” said Ginther. “We are used to this, we have done this for a long time and luckily we have officers continuing to raise their hand and work overtime.”
Ginther also said the creation of the new precinct, zone 4, is helping with police response times. Restrictions in the Short North are easing up as well. The city is now allowing parking on the southbound side of High Street past 10 p.m. Food trucks are also now allowed to operate until 2:30 a.m.
Food truck owners like Adam Wallace said this is a relief.
“We still have bills, you still have things you have to take care of and you are responsible for so it will be good to be back in business,” Wallace said.
Wallace is the owner of Eden’s Food Truck and Feed the Need Food Carts. He said he lost around $1,000 in revenue every night since the mayor’s executive order. He did not open his carts at all in the Short North, fearing he would lose more.
Friday will be the first time he is back up and running. However, under the Columbus City Council’s new rules, all food carts have a new location.
“The spots will be across the street from most of the bars so for all of our lovely people who come out and support us look for the carts they are going to be there,” Wallace said.
Ginther said, although these last few weekends have been good, the city is not over the hump just yet.
“Those two weekends earlier last month are simply unacceptable and we have to be vigilant and stay proactive and engaged to make sure we stay safe,” Ginther said.