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Audubon Park could soon be home to new 800-unit apartment complex

Columbus City Council approved legislation on Monday that would take a chunk of Scioto Audubon Park and turn it into a 780-unit apartment complex.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — In the gym, what matters are the gains.

Jeff Meyer, a member of the Ohio Fit Club just off Maier Place, is excited for the gains this area could soon see.

“I think it’s gonna be great,” he said. “It’s gonna be so good for downtown. We need something like this down here. Expansion’s gonna be good for the local businesses.”

The 17 acres of land just outside of his gym are looking to be turned into almost 800 apartments with a 10-acre green space, after the City of Columbus voted to rezone the area. Currently, it sits on a contaminated industrial property, so it will have to be brought up to living standards per the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.

“We’re here to protect the parks and it’s my job to speak for them,” Columbus and Franklin County Metro Parks Exec. Dir. Tim Moloney said.

Moloney says his office has been working with Zimmer Development Company, but still there are some concerns.

“It’s gonna take some creative engineering,” he said.

Concerns like losing the peaceful nature, to access points, to clutter on the roadway.

An independent study was done at the intersection of West Whittier and Maier Place and it showed in the first year alone the intersection would see an increase of 63% in traffic in the morning hours and an increase of 19% of traffic in the evening hours.

“In fact, we could have four times the amount of units and still pass with flying colors,” Landon Zimmer said.

Zimmer says he understands those concerns, but says as plans are right now there’s more than enough room and current plans call for incoming traffic to be diverted away from the park.

Meyer says the ability to live and stay in this area will only add on to the expanding downtown appeal. And, as for any wrinkles along the way, he’s confident the city and developer will always iron out what’s best.

“There’ll be some periods where we have to figure that out, but I think we’ll do a good job of that as a city,” Meyer said.

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