Election 2019: Council candidates consider downtown riverfront project

The city of Columbus has been looking at ways to replace the dam between the Second and Third street bridges, to shore up the riverbanks and possibly install attractions that would lure residents and tourists to the area.

We asked candidates for Columbus City Council about their thoughts on the downtown riverfront and plans for developing the area.

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

Bush said there is a safety issue with the low head dam.

Ravega said that she doesn’t know if it is possible for the city and businesses will get back what they will put into the riverfront project.

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

Miller said that safety concerns means some work has to be done.

Schoumacher agreed that the dam and the trash site need to be addressed.

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

Shuffett says that the riverfront project has grown from a desire to connect the People Trails, remove the dam and fix the riverbank.

Thomas says the city must take care of the dam and the erosion, and he would like to see the People Trail connection.

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.

Dell said that connecting the People Trail also allows the city to fix other problems in the area.

Burnett said there is one common question that residents have about the project.

Booher said the dam work must be done and she likes some of the other proposals.

Kestler said that some beautification can be done as part of the other repairs at a minimal cost.

The race in City Council District 1 pits incumbent Republican Dascal Bunch against Democrat Jerone Wood and independent Michael Kinder.

Wood said that the safety problems need fixed, but the rest needs to be weighed against other needs.

Bunch said that the dam is a hazard that needs to be addressed

Kinder said he favors the dam cleanup and the People Trail connection.

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

Wagner said that she agrees that the city needs to remove the dam and shore up the banks.

Hartsook said he is concerned about how any new project will be maintained

Early voting continues from 8 until 5 today and tomorrow at the Bartholomew County courthouse voter registration office and 10 to 6 at the satellite voting center at Donner Center.  Both locations will be open on Saturday from 8 to 3. Early voting wraps up on Monday from 8 to noon at the courthouse.

Election Day is Tuesday. Polls will be open from 6 to 6.