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Columbus Approves $850,000 Grant Despite Residents’ Concerns

Columbus taxpayers who gathered at the Redevelopment Commission's meeting expressed concerns that public input was not weighed into the decision.

The Columbus Redevelopment Commission passed a resolution today, awarding an $865,000 grant to Columbus Downtown Inc. The grant, which is funded by taxpayer money, will go toward repaying loans the CDI took out to buy land for a proposed sports arena. The land has been purchased, but the plans to build the arena are currently off the table.

The Redevelopment Commission Vice President, Jim Lienhoop it was still the right decision to pay off the debt.

“A particular issue comes along and it will draw attendance at one of these meetings. But then that attendance tends to wane and that attention and I am hopeful these people can remain engaged,” he says. “I honestly think we did the right thing here.”

More than seventy Columbus residents gathered at Thursday’s meeting to voice their concern over the money. The meeting was scheduled 48 hours in advance, and many resident criticized the city for not giving residents more notice.

“Having watched this work for many years, this outcome was not a surprise,” Columbus resident Max Lemley says.

City officials could change their minds and decide to go with the original plan to build the sports arena, but currently there are no plans for the property.

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