Election 2019: Council candidates consider future of Fair Oaks

At the end of last year, the city of Columbus along with partners Columbus Regional Health and the Heritage Fund, bought the Fair Oaks Mall property on 25th Street. Since then the city has been going through a planning process to decide on the best uses for the property.

We asked the candidates for Columbus City Council in next week’s election about their thoughts on the future of the property and how the city can afford to renovate the space.

Elaine Wagner, the incumbent Democrat in City Council District 2 is running for re-election against Republican Jim Hartsook.

Hartsook said he’s not quite sure how everything is going to be paid for.

Wagner says she’s excited for the possibilities.

In City Council District 3, incumbent Republican Dave Bush is facing Democrat Katea Ravega.

Ravega said the purchase should have been thought out a little better.

Bush said the city was right to purchase the property.

Frank Miller, the incumbent Republican in City Council District 4 is running for re-election against Democrat Michael Schoumacher.

Schoumacher says the property can provide a lot of options for city residents.

Miller said purchasing the property will likely turn out to be a brilliant move.

In City Council District 5, incumbent Republican Tim Shuffett is facing Ross Thomas, a Democrat.

Thomas said more thought should have been put into the purchase.

Shuffett said that it may take several years for the property to reach its full potential.

In the four-way race for the two at-large seats on the council, incumbent Republican Laurie Booher and Democrat Tom Dell are running against Republican Josh Burnett and Democrat Grace Kestler.

Kestler said accessibility for all residents should play an important part in determining how the mall property is used.

Booher said she wants the property to be accessible to all.

Dell said that the city has the opportunity to create something special.

Burnett says that area of the city is important to residents.

Early voting continues this week from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays at the courthouse. A satellite voting center is open at Donner Center from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. You can also vote on Saturday at both locations from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Early voting wraps up on Monday from 8 a.m. to noon at the courthouse.

Election Day is Tuesday Nov. 5th, and polls will be open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.