Questions? Contact:

(614) 221-5001 or email hilltop@columbusndc.org

Envision Hilltop

Reading the Plan

The Hilltop Community Plan has three pillars: People, Place, and Home. Under each pillar, there are three topic areas of goals and recommendations. Each topic area is discussed in four pages—the first two pages present the goals and recommendations, while the second two pages offer case studies and visionary concepts. The visionary concepts relate to action steps of the goals; they area described in further detail under the visionary concepts heading.

Resident Comments

Each topic area has resident comments that communicate common issues or desires. These comments were collected primarily during the outreach efforts of Summer 2018, but may also come from Envision Hilltop meetings or web submissions. Each topic area has two or three resident comments.

Guiding Principle

In each section, the guiding principle will be shown in this location on the page. Guiding principles are intentionally broad, visionary, and ambitious. They were developed with residents and provided the framework under which recommendations were developed.

Resident Priorities

At the January 10, 2019 meeting, the 51 participants ranked five issues under each category. Those results are shown here in rank order under this heading in each section.

Statement of Need

The statement of need helps explain and justify the goals and action steps that follow. It answers the question, “Why should we address ________ on the Hilltop?”

Goal

Each topic area has three goals that were developed in tandem with residents through the Envision Hilltop planning process. Unlike the specific action steps listed under each goal, the goal itself is more broad. 

The details of each goal are communicated through icons, indicating whether the goal is projected to be completed on a short-term or long-term timeline. Short-term would be initiated by 2025, and long-term would be after that.

Some goals can be easily described as either a physical project, a program idea, or a policy suggestion and indicated by icons. Some goals are integrated, requiring a multi-pronged approach.

Goal

Each topic area has three goals that were developed in tandem with residents through the Envision Hilltop planning process. Unlike the specific action steps listed under each goal, the goal itself is more broad. 

Action Steps

Unlike goals, action steps are specific items that should be completed in order to work toward accomplishing the goal. They are more discrete, tangible, and manageable than the goal.

Outcomes

Outcomes help measure the success of the goal. They answer the question, “How will we know when this goal has been accomplished?”

Pillars

The three pillars of the Hilltop Community Plan—people, place, and home—are shown with a yellow icon at the bottom right corner of the first page of each topic area discussion. Each pillar has three topic areas, and each topic area has three goals. 

Case Studies

Each topic area features at least one case study that expands on an idea presented in the goals and action steps. The case study illustrates a program, policy, or project that has been successful in the past and could serve as a model for the Hilltop focus area. 

Visionary Concepts

Visionary concepts are ambitious ideas that suggest how recommendations can be achieved. The ideas can be programs, policies, or projects that would help further the goals and action steps they are connected to. Each topic area will feature one to three visionary concepts.

Plan Goals by Topic Area

Health & Recreation

Business & Economy

Housing Quality

1.

 

2.

 

3.

Improve conditions, amenities, programs, and access to parks and community centers

Address the impact of substance abuse on family and community

 

Increase access to mental, physical, and financial wellness opportunities

10.

 

11.

 

 

 

12.

Reinforce and strengthen key gateways into the neighborhood
 

Use existing contributing structures and encourage new development in historic business district at catalyst sites
 

Increase local living-wage employment options

19.

 

20.

21.

Promote quality management and maintenance of rental properties
 

Incentivize rehabilitation and renovation of properties
 

Ensure units meet the changing needs of occupants

Education & Schools

4.

 

 

5.

6.

Collaboratively position schools as community hubs and expand on-site wraparound services
 

Increase pre-K enrollment and improve childcare quality
 

Improve college and career readiness

Mobility

Mixed-Income Housing & Affordability

13.

14.

 

15.

Prioritize active and shared mobility
 

Address hazardous vehicle behavior
 

Improve access to employment centers 

22.

 

23.

24.

Offer a variety of housing at levels affordable to multiple incomes 
 

Stabilize housing and prevent displacement
 

Concentrate housing investment and reduce barriers to development

Employment & Income

1.

 

2.

 

3.

Use education and training programs to prepare youth and adults for employment
 

Incentivize higher wages and offer more robust employee benefits
 

Consider wealth-building opportunities

Safety & Crime

Homeownership

10.

11.

 

12.

Focus on crime prevention by investing in people
 

Address physical environment attributes that contribute to criminal activity
 

Expand proactive and community policing techniques

19.

 

20.

 

21.

Expand financial capacity for current and prospective homeowners
 

Support a culture of shared homeowner prosperity to build community pride 
 

Enhance and add amenities to draw new homebuyers

Implementation Strategies

IMPLEMENTATION ENTITY WILL:

The Hilltop Community Plan advises future investments in a multitude of areas, making it an interconnected web of recommendations and goals focused on improving the quality of life for Hilltop residents. To ensure action is taken, progress is tracked, and milestones are met, there must be an entity tasked with overseeing the plan. This group should be empowered to enact portions of the plan, create the relationships and circumstances necessary to realize other portions, and equip residents with the tools and resources necessary to be active and involved with implementation as well.

AND NEEDS THE POWER TO:

 

#1  Enact portions of the plan

 

#2  Create the relationships and circumstances necessary to realize other portions

 

#3  Equip residents with tools and resources necessary to be active and involved with implementation

POLITICAL WILL & PARTNERSHIPS

Implementation is about translating the vision for long-term change into financial, contractual, and institutional relationships between the public and private sectors. This means creating a sustainable organizational structure that can withstand mayoral administrations and other political changes in order to ensure continued commitment to neighborhood residents. The most important factor in the implementation phase is political leadership, as words must be followed by dollars to fund transformative projects and policies—and leverage private resources. As neighborhood revitalization is a long-term and transformative process that involves disruption and risk, political leadership is essential to managing the change process so that all stakeholders feel engaged in the process, understand its importance to the future of the city, and have genuine opportunities for participation. Another crucial component of implementation is determining the optimum institutional structure for project delivery and assigning the powers and tools to various entities. These relationships are illustrated in the diagram below.

IDENTIFY A LEAD IDENTITY

With this plan charting a course to an improved quality of life for Hilltop residents, implementation will be driven by opportunities as they arise and by the community. There is a need for a single organization, or strategic partnership of existing entities or organizations, to serve as the lead actor in terms of economic, community, and real estate development. While there are a number of engaged community groups currently operating on the Hilltop, a coordinated approach is required to increase influence and capacity. The entity or collaborative must integrate residents into decision-making functions in an authentic and meaningful way. This could include allocating a certain number of potential board positions to residents, facilitating a resident council, or working with area commissioners and or civic groups.
 

Realizing the physical manifestation of planning recommendations in the Hilltop focus area is a long-range proposition with a timeframe of at least a decade. There is, however, a need to focus on early catalytic projects that can seize on near-term opportunities and set a new standard for future development. Though investments in place are major components of this strategy, these efforts must be aligned with creating more opportunities for residents, businesses, and organizations. Given the market challenges on the Hilltop, there is a need to attract new investment while also developing a growth-from-within framework to ensure residents, businesses, and organizations already on the Hilltop are an integral part of a more prosperous, equitable, and sustainable future. 

 Residents are the foundation for 

 

 planning, for ideation, and for 

 

 implementation of the plan. 

OFFER ENDURING SUPPORT

Many urban revitalization efforts have a targeted focus, such as housing, health, or retail. The Hilltop Community Plan, however, proposes a holistic and integrated approach that does not focus on one particular area. This can make tracking metrics more complex than a strategy that, for example, would intensely focus on housing market stabilization.
 

Different revitalization initiatives use different vehicles to effect change. Some focus on capacity-building of community institutions, including Community Development Corporations (CDCs) and resident organizations. Others are primarily project-focused, with capacity-building as a secondary goal. Determining the local leadership structure requires several questions to be considered: how many lead organizations will there be?

What are the types of organizations?  And how will leadership roles evolve over time? The leadership structures may be led by one or more organizations, like a CDC. There can be new collaborative structures between local foundations, community-based organizations, and residents, as well as more resident-driven efforts. One predominant idea throughout multiple revitalization initiatives is the importance of having “champions” to access resources and implement the plan—with meaningful participation by local residents. Champions can be members of the philanthropic community, local and regional businesses, or place-based institutions. Whatever structure is used, the entity must receive reliable operating support and funding in order to maintain a long-term commitment to plan implementation.

TRACK PROGRESS

How will the Hilltop Community Plan measure progress throughout implementation? Outcomes for each goal point to desired results, but some goals and action steps are more difficult to quantify. Will there be a point at which the Hilltop focus area may be considered “stable” and no longer in need of concerted interventions? Community leaders should consider setting goals to help prioritize the goals and action steps within the Hilltop plan framework.
 

In order to measure progress, specific metrics for each area of the plan should be quickly established by the implementation partners. This will enable tracking over time and create transparency and accountability for the organizations involved. Working toward agreed-upon goals will help consistently improve the quality of life for Hilltop residents, while reducing neighborhood disparities between the Hilltop focus area and other parts of the city.

Potential points of measurement include: violent crime rate, high school graduation rate, owner-occupancy rate, opioid overdoses, and unemployment. These fundamental neighborhood indicators allow for a macro-level tracking of area distress.

EMPOWER RESIDENTS

The guiding philosophy of the Hilltop Community Plan implementation should be resident-driven engagement and leadership. Empowering residents to drive plan implementation and community revitalization is critical to achieving this goal. What does resident empowerment look like? For an implementation entity, it means significant investment in people—investment of both time and money. Developing leaders, facilitating intellectual growth, building skills, and helping residents bring their aspirations to reality are approaches to resident empowerment that keep the focus on residents, rather than shifting decision-making to other entities.
 

Programs like the Neighborhood Leadership Academy (United Way of Central Ohio) help develop resident leaders, train community advocates, and identify individuals to champion resident needs. Collaborations with programs like this can allow residents to identify priorities and shape programs. It is critical to empower residents across the demographic spectrum, across income, age, and race. Building capacity occurs by facilitating neighbor-to-neighbor relationships and strengthening social connections to create a more cohesive and resilient community.
 

Residents know their own experiences, understand barriers their neighbors face, and bring years of life experience to the table. An inclusive approach will also value residents’ time appropriately, similar to how the time of the planning team, city staff, and consultants is valued. Strategies should identify, recruit, retain, and continually display appreciation for resident involvement and engagement on a long-term basis. On the ground, this could mean financially supporting a resident group (i.e., civic association) and enabling that entity to recruit neighbors, facilitate social activities, and more.
 

Funding is a critical piece of this relationship. When residents have ideas, the implementation entity should work to transform them into reality. Certainly some level of discretion and oversight is needed, but making funding processes onerous could discourage resident participation. Inventing a process with letters of intent, funding cycles, grant awarding, and other bureaucratic language would not be as effective as directly funding residents by facilitating on-site materials purchases and other expenditures. Removing barriers and simplifying projects is absolutely critical to continued engagement and empowerment.

WHERE TO START?

Based on resident priorities as indicated in a survey of event participants, action steps that align with top-ranking issues are presented below. This can help all better understand what issues are more important for Hilltop neighbors, and will help guide the focus of implementation efforts.

4.4 Offer a comprehensive program for parent engagement. Many parents or guardians need support in order to fully support their children. Professional navigators should be made available to schools, perhaps a social worker, to connect parents to resources. Parents can also be engaged through mobile apps and incentive programs that encourage school and teacher interaction.

EDUCATION

PRIORITY: PARENT ENGAGEMENT

16.1 Offer emergency support services for families and individuals. Aligning social services and support networks to create stability for families can help individuals avoid desperate circumstances. Food security, housing stability, living-wage employment, and educational attainment are measures to deter crime. Supporting a holistic human development should be at the center of community safety strategies.

SAFETY

PRIORITY: VIOLENT CRIME

HOMEOWNERSHIP

PRIORITY: CREATE ATTRACTIONS/AMENITIES TO DRAW NEW HOMEBUYERS

27.1 Capitalize on Camp Chase Trail and other natural features. The natural beauty of the meandering Dry Run through Holton and Glenview Parks can also be a destination, as it provides a pastoral respite in the city.
27.2 Increase access to green space. Capitalizing on the existing median parkways by increasing landscaping, programming, and tree canopy could allow people space to be outside without going to a formal city park.

HEALTH & RECREATION

PRIORITY: DRUG ADDICTION & TRAFFICKING

2.1 Focus on addiction prevention, harm reduction, and treatment. Reduce the supply and availability of illicit drugs by continuing to target distribution, both on the street and in homes. Continue and expand harm reduction strategies, like needle exchanges, to prevent the spread of communicable diseases. Improve pipeline into inpatient treatment and availability of beds at nearby facilities.

EMPLOYMENT & INCOME

PRIORITY: LIVING-WAGE JOBS & TRAINING

7.2 Provide construction training and employment to young adults. Programs exist currently to train people for careers in skilled trades, like plumbing, masonry, and electrical work. Participants in programs may need support services or remedial education, which could be provided through partnerships with philanthropic or government funding.
8.1 Continue using tax abatements to negotiate higher wages. When companies want to open new offices or add jobs, they often seek tax breaks from the City of Columbus. In return, the City has leverage to negotiate specific terms—to a certain extent. Special attention to encouraging higher wages for the lowest-paid employees, local hiring requirements, targeting businesses with economic multiplier effects, and setting metrics to measure business’ impact.

17.3 Reform illegal dumping enforcement. Illegal dumping is a chronic and pervasive problem throughout the Hilltop. Efforts are underway to clean up the neighborhood by offering a tip hotline for illegal dumping, reforming the eviction process, and regulating development permits more closely. 

BUSINESS

PRIORITY: TRASH & LITTER

MOBILITY

PRIORITY: ENGAGEMENT & SOCIALIZATION

13.2 Create and then connect people to shared mobility options to reduce car dependence. Explore integrated mobility solutions that allow people to seamlessly transition from one mode to another. Paying for COTA, an e-scooter, and a ride-hailing service should be possible on the same cash-based platform. Improvements to first-mile, last-mile transportation should be considered, especially for those with different ability levels.
27.3 Offer unique programs with a Hilltop-coordinated network of activities. An entity to organize events and manage initiatives across the Hilltop should be created through a multi-partner funding collaboration. Residents should have regular opportunities for socialization, both focused on addressing neighborhood issues and simply celebrating the community.

MIXED-INCOME & AFFORDABILITY

PRIORITY: DIVERSE PORTFOLIO OF HOUSING AFFORDABILITY

22.1 Support the development of affordable rental housing. Create high-quality, permanently affordable rental housing for current and future residents of the Hilltop.
22.2 Explore expanding and adapting the land trust program to the Hilltop. As the housing market strengthens, create permanently-affordable homeownership opportunities using a land trust model. Capitalize on the economies of scale in multifamily units, like historic rowhouses and duplexes.
22.3 Incorporate affordability restrictions into new incentive programs. Consider adding affordability requirements to future cycles of incentive programs. Potential mechanisms include, but are not limited to: affidavits, deed restrictions, and restrictive covenants (to preserve affordability on sale or transfer).

QUALITY

PRIORITY: HOME REPAIR, MAINTENANCE, & CURB APPEAL

19.1 Connect rental property owners to property management resources and best practices. Encourage a high standard of maintenance, help landlords operate according to rental property law, and train landlords to minimize conflict in their properties.
25.3 Expand home repair assistance for low-income homeowners. Address exterior maintenance and repair issues before they worsen to help homeowners avoid future financial hardship, maintain the housing stock, and prevent vacancy and abandonment.

HILLTOP CITY INVESTMENTS

The City of Columbus invests millions to keep residents healthy and safe each year. Municipal investments in the Hilltop focus area are significant, and some of them are featured here.

HIGHLIGHTS

$17 million

West Broad Street Streetscape Improvements

$54 million

Blueprint Columbus:

Eureka-Fremont Project

$855,000

Sidewalks along Wicklow Road & Steele Avenue and Neighborhood Bikeways

WEST SIDE COALITION

The West Side Coalition gathers service providers, community organizations, residents, and available resources. Learning from each other and residents, the Coalition shares information, brainstorms strategies, and helps implement recommendations. There have been 16 meetings with 115 stakeholders involved, 49 agencies at the table, and 13 residents.

RECENT, CURRENT, AND PLANNED INVESTMENT

DEPARTMENT OF NEIGHBORHOODS

Staff cleared and cleaned seven miles of Hilltop alleys 2019, at a cost of $19,300. Select highlights include:

  • 19.1 tons of trash

  • 1.5 tons of tires

  • 3.5 tons of brush

  • 600+ labor hours

1

DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SERVICE

Hilltop Streetscape Improvements (Planned)

  • Enhancements to West Broad just east of Wilson Rd. to Terrace Ave. to include improved sidewalks, traffic signals, crosswalks, street lighting, and street trees

  • Projected Investment: $17+ million

2

Operation Sidewalks - Olive/Floral (Planned)

  • This project will add sidewalks to Olive Street and Floral Ave., from S. Powell to S. Highland Ave

  • Projected Investment: $1.5 million

3

Celebrate One Sidewalks

  • Sidewalk construction on west side of Belvidere Ave. from Mound St. to Sullivant Avenue

  • Projected Investment: $600,000

  • Sidewalk construction along Springmont and Walsh on the south side of Springmont from Highland to Columbian; North side of Springmont from Columbian to Woodbury; North side of Walsh, Woodbury to Ryan

  • Projected Investment: $1.8+ million

Slow Streets Initiative

  • The department receives hundreds of traffic calming requests and speeding concerns yearly. Slow Streets Columbus is intended to improve neighborhood traffic safety and walkability through design. Pilot projects are planned for one-way to two-way street conversions.

  • Projected Investment: $750,000

4

5

DEPARTMENT OF DEVELOPMENT

Urban Infrastructure Recovery Funds (Planned)

Wicklow Road Sidewalks: $450,000

Steele Avenue Sidewalks: $405,000

Hilltop Neighborhood Bikeways: $115,000

6

DEPARTMENT OF POWER

Circuit line extension to improve reliability of substation at Wheatland & Broad Street by providing additional 69-kV transmission source. Expected completion by Spring 2020. 

  • Projected Investment: $5 million

7

BLUEPRINT COLUMBUS

Eureka-Fremont Project (2021-25)

  • Lateral lining and downspout redirection to reduce basement backup incidents

  • Over 450 new sump pumps to be installed

  • Rain gardens, pervious pavement, and storm sewer improvements to address flooding and water quality

  • Project Investment: $54,253,464

8

Terrace/Broad Storm System Improvements (2018-20)

  • Addresses structural flooding and street flooding

  • Projected Investment: $6,649,543

Water Distribution Improvement projects: $7,139,778

  • Waterline and distribution infrastructure improvements, including Westgate Water Tower replacement, to improve flow, quality, and reduce maintenance

  • Eureka/Steele Area: $1,035,720

  • Eureka/Fremont Area: $1,500,000

CELEBRATE ONE

  • Dedicated four Community Health Workers on the Westside that can connect families to resources.

  • Held seven Safe Sleep Trainings in the Hilltop and distributed 109 pack-n-plays in the past two years.

  • Sponsored two community 1st Birthdays for the Westside with over 60 families represented ($7,000)

  • Hosted two baby showers for 160 families ($5,000)

  • Three fairs at Hilltop Y reaching 600 people ($100,000)

  • Franklinton FUEL held Financial Literacy classes for Hilltop residents, graduating 80 in 2019; also built a 186-resource website, HilltopUSA.org, for residents to find resources and events ($69,280)

12

DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION

  • A new pre-K center--including collaboration with the Boys & Girls Club and Columbus City Schools--will begin construction in 2020. It will be built adjacent to Highland Elementary and the J. Ashburn Boys & Girls Club

  • Projected Investment: More than $14 million

Columbus Public Health

  • Invested $1.8+ million through multiple programs, including (but not limited to) home visiting for Mom and baby; car seats; alcohol & drug treatment; WIC; STI/HIV care; vaccines; mosquito control. CARE held 5 trauma-informed listening sessions, reached 6,200+ doors, and engaged more than 500 Hilltop residents.

13

DEPARTMENT OF RECREATION & PARKS

Glenwood Park & Community Center (2017)

  • Community center buildout, playground installation, and park improvements

  • Investment: $7,490,000

14

DEPARTMENT OF RECREATION & PARKS

Holton Park & Community Center (2016-19)

  • Community center lobby renovations and gym floor refinishing, playground installation, etc.

  • Investment: $450,000

15

DEPARTMENT OF RECREATION & PARKS

Camp Chase Trail (2015-present)

  • Acquisition, trail design, and development

  • Investment: $3,800,000

16

DEPARTMENT OF RECREATION & PARKS

Dry Run Stream Restoration (2017-20)

  • The restoration excavates existing concrete pipe and restores the stream to a natural channel.

  • Investment: $1,320,000

DEPARTMENT OF RECREATION & PARKS

Hilltop Community Street Tree Planting (2018-19)

  • About 121 trees will be planted throughout the Hilltop planning area in 2020 with UIRF funds.

  • Investment: $47,000

17

DEPARTMENT OF RECREATION & PARKS

Glenwood Bottoms Natural Area Improvements (2021-22)

  • Investment: $235,000

18

DEPARTMENT OF RECREATION & PARKS

Holton Park & Community Center (2019-20)

  • Lighting at parking lot and along walking path

  • Investment: $50,000

19

DEPARTMENT OF RECREATION & PARKS

John Burroughs Park & Elementary School (2021)

  • Proposed park and playground improvements on school property

  • Investment: $150,000

DEPARTMENT OF RECREATION & PARKS

Future Parkland/Greenways Acquisition (2020-24)

  • Evaluates ongoing opportunities to buy parcels that would be suitable for the development of future parkland or neighborhood trail connectors.

  • Investment: $450,000

Numbers correlate to map locations in the interactive map below. Projects without a number are not geographically specific.

PRIORITIZING GOALS AND ACTION STEPS

Goals and action steps should be prioritized according to resident rankings expressed during the planning process. In the Where to Start? section above, action steps that align with top resident priorities are displayed for each of the nine subcategories. When taking steps to realize the many goals of the plan, consideration should first be offered for Goals 2, 4, 7, 16, 19, and 25 (shown here at right).
 

However, sometimes funding or partnerships arise that present valuable opportunities to create interventions that are not aligned with top resident goals. These unique opportunities should not be declined for the sole reason that they do not align with top resident goals, but an effort should be made to extend opportunities to touch on one of the top six resident goals.
 

 

As goals and action steps are being addressed, measures should be communicated with residents and stakeholders regularly. Through email, periodic events, and updates at the Greater Hilltop Area Commission and civic associations in the area, people should be made aware of incremental progress and initiatives occurring as a result of the community plan.

1. Focus on top resident priorities first.

2. Keep neighbors informed.

SHORT-TERM GOALS

Out of 27 total goals, 12 were classified as short-term. This means they should be initiated within the next five years--by 2025. These 12 goals are listed below, but seven are highlighted because they align with the top resident priorities found in the Where to Start? section. This demonstrates that action steps within these goals should be the top priority for plan implementation.

 Goal 1

Improve conditions, amenities, programs, and access to parks and community centers.

 Goal 2 

Address the impact of substance abuse on family and community.

 Goal 4 

Position schools as community hubs and expand on-site wraparound services.

 Goal 5

Increase pre-K enrollment and improve childcare quality.

 Goal 7 

Use education and training programs to prepare people for employment.

 Goal 10

Reinforce and strengthen key gateways into the neighborhood.

 Goal 13 

Prioritize active and shared mobility.

 Goal 14

Address hazardous driver behavior.

 Goal 16 

Focus on crime prevention by investing in people.

 Goal 19 

Promote quality management and maintenance of rental properties.

 Goal 23

Stabilize housing and prevent displacement.

 Goal 25 

Expand financial capacity for current and prospective homeowners.

 SHORT-TERM GOALS THAT ALSO ALIGN WITH TOP RESIDENT PRIORITIES SHOWN ABOVE IN WHERE TO START? SECTION 

10

11

9