Columbus seeks another month of input on Courthouse Square plans

Published 1:50 pm Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The idea for a committee was sparked last week by council member Margaret Metcalf, who said there are local people who could give ideas, suggesting local gardening groups. She said she wants to ensure that the work done fits Columbus.

&dquo;I think the people that are here can help us with this design,&dquo; Metcalf said.

Currently eight designs are hanging on the walls at Columbus Town Hall, and the public is invited to write comments and ideas directly on the designs. Plans could also be placed soon at the Polk County Library for public input.

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Withers & Ravenel, engineers, planners and surveyors, developed the design proposals.

Last week about 20 residents attended a public informational meeting about the courthouse square plans. Most of the concerns expressed related to the possibility of relocating the Doughboy statue and cutting historic trees.

Columbus Town Manager Tim Holloman said during the meeting last Thursday that the Doughboy statue will most likely not move. Town officials have also said they may hire an arborist to survey the trees surrounding the courthouse to determine which should go and which should stay.

The town is planning to make Courthouse Street one-way, leaving Ward Street open for two-way traffic. Plans are to improve the sidewalks, as well as making other cosmetic improvements, including adding a shelter for shade on the front of the Womack building and gazebos and arbors at the corners of the courthouse. No plans are being made by the town for improvements to the courthouse lawn.

Holloman and mayor Kathleen McMillian are scheduled to made a presentation with the design ideas to the Polk County Board of Commissioners during a meeting at the Womack building Monday.