12:00 AM

Ground broken on new Neighborhood Policing Center

COLUMBUS – Ground was broken today (6/7) on construction of new Neighborhood Policing Center in the University District, the result of a joint commitment between The Ohio State University and the city of Columbus to strengthen neighborhood safety and community ties. University President Karen A. Holbrook, Mayor Michael B. Coleman, City Council members Michael C. Mentel and Andy Ginther, and public safety officials joined area residents and community leaders in the ceremony.

“This policing center brings together law enforcement agencies and community organizations in an innovative and unique way to increase safety and visibility of police officers in the University and Weinland Park area,” said Mayor Coleman.

Located at 248 E. 11th Ave. between Summit and North Fourth streets, the $4.4 million, 13,500 square-foot facility will serve as the new Columbus police substation for Precinct 4 and will include permanent office space for University Police, Community Crime Patrol and a Neighborhood Pride Center. Meeting rooms will also be provided for residents and community organizations. Construction is scheduled for completion in summer 2008. Ohio State and the city will share equally in the cost.

“Today's groundbreaking brings us one step closer toward realizing one of the most important partnerships between the university and the city,” Holbrook said. “The start of construction is a major step toward securing an increased police presence in this community for our students and longtime residents.”

Columbus police officers in Precinct 4 will continue to work out of the current substation located at 2636 Deming Ave., through the construction period. Columbus Fire Station No. 13 will remain at the adjacent Arcadia Avenue location.

Mayor Coleman announced that the building will be named to honor the legacy of two people whose concern for the community and the university has been unparalleled – Tom Moody, the 44th mayor of Columbus from 1972-84 and Bill Hall who amassed a 28-year career at the university. Hall served as vice president for student affairs at the time of his death in 2005.

Richard A. Hollingsworth, vice president for student affairs, added that the policing center will be complemented by a number of existing safety programs and services provided by the university, including a student escort service, residential weekday and late-night transportation services, and the Community Ambassadors Program.

“Bill Hall worked diligently to build stronger relationships between the university and other groups concerned about safety in the University District, particularly the officers of the Columbus Division of Police,” Hollingsworth said.

“He was a strong advocate for students and respected by all for his dedication and integrity. Including his name on this policing center is a fitting tribute to his memory and legacy of service.”

Mayor Coleman noted other University-area initiatives, including the investment of more than $953,000 in city funds to install streetlights between 12th and 19th avenues this fall. Adding street lighting in neighborhoods was a priority set by the city in partnership with leaders from Ohio State Undergraduate Student Government.

“These combined efforts, including the unique alliance between University Police and the Columbus Police Department, will have a significant impact on the quality of life for residents of this community,” Holbrook said.

Robert Caldwell, president of the Weinland Park Civic Association, added that the policing center will launch a new era in community relations between the Columbus Police Department and area residents.

“The additional neighborhood support services that will be provided through the policing center will allow residents to take a collaborative role in building a community that is safe and productive for families, schools and businesses,” Caldwell said.