Westland area residents tell planners what they want to see at mall site

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COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Close to 100 people came together Monday night to voice their opinions on what would make the Westland area better. 

Now that there is potential redevelopment of the old Westland mall site on the horizon, Franklin County planners want input.

“We know what we want, we got great ideas work with us,” neighbor, Sandy Maggard said.

That’s the message many neighbors on the west side have for developers.

“We don’t want people coming to an area that doesn’t look like a friendly place,” Alex Lescher said.

For about a decade, the Westland mall property has sat empty.

“I’ve seen a big decline in this area and it looks terrible,” Maggard said.

However, news of Plaza Properties now owning more than 90 acres is making people eager for the future and they have ideas on how to get the area back on track.

“We need sit down restaurants, more walkable areas, more pedestrian traffic where the community gets involved,” Maggard said.

At a meeting Monday night people were asked to talk about the strengths of Westland and needs of the community.

“The key is that a developer in Columbus hears that information, hears what the community wants and wants to put an investment in that,” Franklin County Director of Development, James Schimmer said.

Many of those needs included business development, better public safety and fewer vacant properties.

“I think drawing businesses here is something we talked about and bring people in from other parts of the city,” Lescher said.

As people left the meeting, many of them said they now feel more optimistic about the area’s future.

“I’m very hopeful. I think they want to do a great job for us,” Maggard said.

A spokeswoman for the mall owner said they have been working on a mixed-use redevelopment plan for the site and it will be something that will also complement the casino.

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