Happy Spring! Time for Action!
Happy Spring 2022 to all of Worthington!
After yet another suitably brutal Ohio Winter, it is truly uplifting to experience the warm breezes, vibrant foliage, and budding life that is the Spring season in our neck of the woods! What if we could have enjoyed this Spring – as a community – at our newly established Worthington Commons? Wouldn’t it have been absolutely lovely to share the walking trails, gardens, and oodles of trees – as a community – in our newly minted Commons?
Therefore, our goal at PCPW is to make this the last year that we are deprived of our signature green space and public commons! After more than a decade of talk, it’s time for positive action! Which clearly begs the question … what will it take to move forward with the development of the UMCH property into the mixed-use development we’ve come to call Worthington Commons?
Surprisingly little as it tuns out … we have a couple of “asks”, both of ourselves and our new city council.
To our city council, we ask the following:
- We ask for an independent, third-party review of city finances.
- Over the last half dozen years, residents have heard multiple, inconsistent, even contradictory, views of how, or even if, the city could fund the development of the UMCH parcel.
- Given this history, and the need for a single version of the financial truth, we formally request that the city obtain the services of an independent, third-party expert to assess the city’s financial position and spell out realistic options for mixed use development of the UMCH site.
- Acquire the UMCH property and lead the development process.
- The past ten-plus years, and multiple failed “big developer” proposals, clearly demonstrate that residents will never get what they want, nor will the city ever get what it needs, if a developer owns this property and controls the development process.
- We therefore call on the city to end this decade of frustration, break the stalemate, and move forward with a resolution to formally engage LC in acquiring the UMCH property – at a fair market price – as a first step towards leading a resident-centered development process.
To residents, we ask the following:
- Stay the course, the sky is definitely not falling! LC’s lawsuit against the city is clearly a bullying tactic. Let’s let common sense prevail. Worthington retains the right to control municipal zoning for the long-term benefit of the city and its residents. And to be clear, when Worthington wins this lawsuit (or perhaps even before, if it’s thrown out of court), then many, many good things are going to happen!
We offer just a few as examples:
- Commencing resident-centered planning sessions. Building on the great work of our Visioning Committee, we will finally begin the process to decide the specifics around the design, layout and amenities that will become Worthington Commons!
- Soliciting and evaluating restaurant, retail, and professional tenants to occupy and build out Class One commercial space, facing the Worthington Mile, and now within a short jaunt of Olive AI’s 400-some employees!
- And, perhaps most importantly, ending a decade plus of inaction and lost time by breaking ground on the multi-use development that is Worthington Commons and thus preserving this highly valuable space for all future generations!
- Let City Council know how you feel! The single, most effective thing we have done in this long slog is sharing our own personal views on UMCH development with city council. We hereby ask everyone who has signed, or even thought about signing, the PCPW petition to email city council, with their heart felt support for this cause! Please email your thoughts to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
A final thought … one directed to council.
You may perceive that what we’ve asked you to do is not easy. And yet, is there another way to look at this? Please consider allowing yourselves to become heroes. Those who will always be remembered for providing the grit and leadership to transform the UMCH parcel into Worthington Commons! Ask yourself, do you want your legacy to be abetting the construction of yet another cookie-cutter residential-megaplex, of which there are literally dozens around town? We think not.
We do think you could, and will, be well remembered for leading a process which brought Worthington:
- A vibrant commercial strip along High St, providing both a critical link in the Worthington Mile, and the tax revenue to fund Common development on a long-term, break-even basis
- A bikeway incorporated into the layout of the Commons, enabling a key east-west connection in MORPC’s Rapid 5 plan. BTW – have you seen how many people are on the bike trail! Imagine those folks now cycling through Worthington, stopping off for a brief respite, a bite to eat, etc.
- A signature contiguous green space, which Worthington – unlike the communities surrounding it – does NOT have. It is clear from reading the letters to council, as well as hearing from our 1200-plus petition signatories, we residents want a green space of sufficient mass to become our “Commons”. That one, special place where this community gathers, celebrates Fourth of July and Memorial Days, holds its Arts Festival, not to mention the creative new uses we’ll discover going through the resident-centered design process!
- A residential sector, providing the necessary acreage for commercial and green spaces; but of sufficient size and density that it is critical to the overall “vibe” of Worthington Commons. We’ve heard calls for senior housing, for appropriately scaled housing, and for affordable housing. We say “yes” to those calls … yes, we hear you and see the merit of your thoughts, let’s now work these specifics out – as part of the design and build process!
Enjoy your spring, and we’ll talk with you soon!