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RDG Planning & Design hosts open house | Local

RDG Planning & Design hosts open house | Local

When the discussion comes to Columbus’ downtown, other communities would be jealous to have a “green space” like Frankfort Square, said RDG Planning and Design Principal Amy Haase.

“So many cities we work with are trying to figure out, ‘How do we add green space to our downtown?’” Haase said. “That is just an unbelievable asset.”

RDG – an Omaha-based company working with the City of Columbus – is looking at the city’s downtown to not only promote its attractions but also improve the area.

RDG has started work on that with an open house held earlier this week at Henry on 11th, 2521 11th St. The meeting saw business owners, city officials and more talk about their visions for downtown.

“We want to hear additional input on what people think are some of the key opportunities and some of the issues that we need to be addressing downtown,” Haase said. “We’re even brainstorming ideas and strategies for those (issues). … We need to capitalize on the opportunities and address the issues.”

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As previously reported by The Columbus Telegram, the city is redoing its plan due to the original strategy being over a decade old. Having a new plan will help the city apply for grants which would go toward façade, signs and more.

During the open house, RDG had the attendees split into groups and discuss what features they like about downtown and what changes they would like to make.

The groups found façade, curb appeal, offerings variety, parking and branding could use some work in the downtown. Meanwhile, they believe downtown’s low cost, entertainment happenings, staple businesses and Frankfort Square were some of the area’s unique features.

Artzy Haven owner Kristin Stock – who presented her group’s findings at the event – said they would like to see better lighting as well as trees to make the downtown more inviting.

“Sometimes (not enough lighting) may keep a lot of people from coming to the downtown,” she said.

Haase said RDG is also engaging with listening sessions with property and business owners this week. She added she’s learned that community members are excited about the new businesses that popped up downtown.

At the same time, the downtown has quite a bit of concrete which is not necessarily comfortable for pedestrians, Haase said. Going forward, RDG is going to look at how it can “soften it up” for residents, she added.

Meanwhile, the city has a 10-person committee for the downtown Columbus plan. The committee includes city officials, business and property owners and Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce and Columbus Area Convention and Visitors Bureau staff.

The committee and RDG have also launched a survey earlier this month for community members to fill out. It is available by visiting surveymonkey.com/r/columbusdowntown. Questions revolve around parking, restaurants, tourism, downtown housing, sidewalks and building variety and conditions and much more.

“We would really enjoy and appreciate anybody and everybody in the community to participate in the survey,” Haase said.

Andrew Kiser is a reporter for The Columbus Telegram. Reach him via email at [email protected]