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Redevelopment Commission OK's temporary bike trail

The Columbus Redevelopment Commission gave approval for a temporary easement for a bicycle trail near the old Bartholomew County REMC building near Second Street and Lafayette Avenue.

The easement is for a 20 foot-wide path through property at 801 Second Street on an asphalt surface that is already there. Dave Heyward with the Columbus Parks Foundation says there will be minimal cost as the only thing that the city's Parks and Recreation Department would have to do is mark the path, which will run north of the building. If all goes well, work on the new, permanent path could begin this summer.

Commission members expressed concern about approving a temporary easement, only to come back in the near future to terminate it and replace it with a permanent easement for the Phase I Second Street People Trail Expansion that would take the path through where the former REMC structure still sits. Dr. Michael Whitworth, a representative of local bicycle advocacy group Columbike, told the commission that bike routes are vitally important to the city and implored the members to approve the temporary easement.

The Redevelopment Commission ultimately approved the request on a vote of 3 to 0.

The Redevelopment Commission must now make a recommendation on what to do about the structure. Commission member Frank Jerome noted that prior to Monday night's meeting, the options were to teat down and rebuild the structure, or move it. Both options, he said, would cost about the same. City Redevelopment Director Heather Pope proposed a third option during the meeting. She said that she did some research and found an auctioneer who would be able to sell the building to a third party. That party could then move the building or tear it down and take the steel, copper wiring and any other items of value. Pope says that based on a rough estimate supplied to her by the auctioneer, the building could fetch between $7,000 and $14,000. The city would still be responsible for the site cleanup.

Commission members asked for this option to be officially presented at next month's meeting for a vote. Since this option was not published prior to Monday night's meeting, it could not legally be voted on. Members indicated that this is the option they would like to recommend to the Columbus City Council, who would make the final decision. Regardless of which option is chosen, the new, temporary bike path will likely be closed while the building is being moved or torn down.

Last Updated: Monday, June 16, 2014 8:42:43 PM

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