Columbus is taking steps to renovate a downtown street which is home to a number of bars and restaurants.
The city plans to put in new lights, sidewalks and gates toward the end of Fourth Street so it can be closed during festivals. The project will be paid for in part with taxes collected from downtown sales. The rest of the money comes from a state economic development grant.
Owner of 4th Street Bar & Grill Kurt Schwarz says the planned improvements, including better access to utilities such as water and electricity, will especially help when festivals are held downtown.
“With the festivals that we do now, we do the beer trucks,” he says. “We do food and beverage both. Right now we run hoses. We run electrical cords, but that will be a little bit easier once the street reconstruction is done.”
Deb Steele is the owner of Gramz Bakery & Café on Washington Street, adjacent to Fourth Street. She says the increased traffic downtown could increase awareness of her business, but she would also like to see some of the tax money used to increase parking.
“That’s the number one complaint,” she says. “Even though we have the parking garages, one is almost completely dedicated to Cummins during business hours.”
The city is now taking bids from contractors and hopes to have the project complete by the end of the year.