August 31, 2010 10:32:00 AM
Editor''s note: Columbus City Council has passed a sidewalk ordinance that would require (when feasible) the building of sidewalks in any new development.
Both the sidewalk ordinance and the Senior Enrichment Center are seeking to provide a positive impact within our city. Support for one does not indicate opposition for the other. In fact they should go hand in hand.
Much has been made about the "sidewalk to nowhere" concept. Given the lack of commitment to sidewalks in the city for the past 60 years, any sidewalk in Starkville will almost inherently not be connected. We must begin somewhere. Located in close proximity to the GTPDD campus, the industrial park contains facilities for a dance/gymnastics academy, a children''s party rental facility, and various small businesses, not large industrial complexes. Within approximately one mile of the location are two of the largest city parks and access to major neighborhoods such as Long Meadow and Green Oaks.
As Starkville grows, adding connectivity to the PDD and the industrial park will become a reality through proper planned growth and adherence to our existing laws. Furthermore, the construction of the senior enrichment center on the same platted development as the existing PDD facility points to the possible vision of a campus-like development. As such, internal connectivity must be provided for this site. The sidewalk ordinance makes provisions to ensure this. Truthfully, if this site were not 100 miles of anything else, you would still not have a "sidewalk to nowhere" simply by connecting the multiple buildings.
A cursory review of the economics in this case clearly indicates that the sidewalk ordinance is not prohibiting the development of the senior enrichment center. Numbers provided by GTPDD personnel for the estimated cost of sidewalks have been quoted that this center will be representing a $1.6 million investment and the sidewalks as presently required by the ordinance will be no more than $25,000, about 1.5% of the total project cost.
The question still remains should this center be built in what is defined as an industrial park even if it is not presently being used as a proper industrial park in reality. Would not the broader community and specifically the senior enrichment center''s patrons be better served if more centrally located? Regardless, SCNF views both the senior enrichment center and accessibility as important facets toward meeting our vision for a city where all citizens can live, work, and play.
The writer is president of the Starkville Central Neighborhood Foundation.