March 2022

Columbus City Council approves cash for lead safety, crime programs

Courtesy of The Columbus Dispatch
By Bill Bush
March 22, 2022

The Columbus City Council on Monday entered into an agreement with Columbus Public Health for an initiative to keep lead out of drinking water in city neighborhoods, while also approving four contracts with community organizations geared to reduce violence in the wake of a deadly 2021 in which more than 200 people were killed.

The $300,000 lead-reduction project will help ensure continual testing of drinking water and corrosion-control practices to cut down the amount of lead leaching into tap water in structures with older pipes. The local program is an outgrowth of a national one that expired in 2015.

The ongoing program provides information to the Division of Water “as to the effectiveness of its corrosion control program while continuing to assist Columbus Public Health with its Healthy Homes initiative,” the ordinance says. An additional $50,000 in federal money was approved for lead risk inspection and assessment services for houses and apartments suspected of containing hazardous lead paint.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, exposure to lead can seriously harm a child’s health, causing damage to the brain and nervous system, slowed growth and development, learning and behavior problems, as well as hearing and speech problems.

The council also approved a total of just under $1.09 million to four organizations working on crime-prevention related programs: Community Crime Patrol Inc.; Columbus Urban League; Community for New Direction; and Community Refugee & Immigrant Services.

Community Crime Patrol Inc. will receive $375,000 for providing teams of people to patrol residential neighborhoods and city parks across the city, including the Hilltop, Franklinton, Olde Towne East and the off-campus neighborhoods of Ohio State University. The latest agreement is intended to fund the operation from through February. Ohio State and the East Main Street Special Improvement District also will contribute funding for the patrols.

The Columbus Urban League will receive $329,500 for “violence interruption and crisis response activities,” including responding to violent confrontations, mediating disputes and “actively promoting peace building among our youth.” The program will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and can involve responding to shootings, aggravated assaults, and homicides.
Community for New Direction will also receive $329,500 and will provide a similar program to the Urban League’s.

Community Refugee & Immigrant Services will receive $53,000 for a Victims of Crime Program, to provide court accompaniment to survivors to ensure they are able to attend court dates and effectively communicate with attorneys and court advocates while also educating them on their rights.

Also Monday, the council approved $375,000 for the Columbus Fashion Initiative, also known as the Columbus Fashion Alliance, to support the organization’s mission to grow fashion-based businesses in Columbus.

The group “emphasizes equity, diversity, and inclusion within the sector by intentionally engaging existing and emerging designers, producers, and artists of color,” the ordinance said. “The Columbus market is a leader in fashion design, making it essential to support small business fashion entrepreneurs.”

And council approved $19.4 million for a complete reconstruction of Hudson Avenue between Interstate 71 on the west and Cleveland Avenue on the east. Work, expected to be completed by summer 2024, will include new curbs, pavement, intersections, sidewalks, curb ramps, a shared-used path on the south side of the street, traffic signals, and a new 24-inch water main.

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