The Columbus Redevelopment Commission has begun discussion of Mayor Kristen Brown’s proposal to transfer management of the publicly owned properties managed by the private, non-profit firm Columbus Downtown, Incorporated, or CDI, back to the city.
CDI is responsible for the management and leasing of several public downtown properties including the Jackson Street and Second Street parking garages. Critics of that arrangement argue that CDI’s private status threatens public transparency because tenants leasing through the firm are not subject to the standard public bidding procedure.
Mayor Brown’s proposal would transfer management of the properties to the Columbus Parks and Recreation Department, a move that she says serves the public interest.
“We’re dealing with property that’s been paid for by the taxpayers, leases for properties paid for by the taxpayers, restaurants developed with taxpayers’ money, so, ultimately it’s to make sure everything is done in an open and transparent way,” she says.
The transfer of management would ultimately lead to CDI’s dissolution. Brown says she would like to see the transfer happen as soon as possible, but that it can only happen after tenants’ leases are renegotiated.