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City looking to ‘start from scratch’ with old farmers market site and wants your help

City wants to clean up the old farmers market site. Here’s how you can have a say in its future use.

Columbus is seeking a $500,000 EPA Brownfields Cleanup Grant for the old Georgia State Farmers Market site. There is still time to offer ideas for future uses of the site. Contact Laura Johnson at ljohnson@columbusga.org. Jan. 23rd is the deadline.
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Columbus is seeking a $500,000 EPA Brownfields Cleanup Grant for the old Georgia State Farmers Market site. There is still time to offer ideas for future uses of the site. Contact Laura Johnson at ljohnson@columbusga.org. Jan. 23rd is the deadline.

City officials are close to submitting a grant proposal that if approved would allow them to “start from scratch” and re-imagine how a blighted chunk of land in the city limits could be put to better public use.

The city of Columbus is seeking a $500,000 EPA Brownfields Cleanup Grant to remove hazardous materials on the site of the former Georgia State Farmers Market site at 318 10th Avenue. The grant would help clean up debris at the site, including asbestos containing materials, lead paint and soil contaminated with petroleum.

Laura Johnson, director of community reinvestment for the Columbus Consolidated Government, said the site is currently blight and isn’t being utilized.

“It’s just an eyesore when people ride by it,” she said. “If we’re able to clean this up it could actually spur redevelopment in other areas.”

Johnson said the city held a public hearing Jan. 6 for citizens to suggest ideas about future use of the approximately 14.67 acre site. She said ideas included converting the site to green space, creating a memorial for the three adjacent cemeteries, developing an educational urban agricultural area, and building a sensory garden for children with autism and senior citizens with dementia.

Johnson said after figuring out how to use a site, they also want to see if there are ways to connect it to nearby areas.

“Is there a possibility that we could do trails or something that would lead to this site so that people that might be at South Commons or in the Liberty District would be able to get here to utilize this space as well,” Johnson said.

There is still time to offer ideas for future uses of the site. Contact Laura Johnson at ljohnson@columbusga.org. The last day for commenting is January 23.

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