At its March 6 meeting, the Columbus City Council restored the Trotter’s normal hours of operation, discussed problems with the interlocal agreement with the Convention and Visitors Bureau, rejected legal bids and approved some traffic control measures.
The council voted unanimously to restore the Trotter Convention Center to its regular operating hours.
On Nov. 28, 2017, the council voted 4-2, with Councilmen Joseph Mickens and Charlie Box voting no, to reduce the Trotter’s hours after a man was shot to death outside. It had been rented out for a Thanksgiving party and, despite the presence of both private security and Columbus Police Department officers, Cordell DeShaun Lewis, 27, was shot and killed in the street outside at about 12:15 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day.
Closing time was reduced from 1 a.m. to 11 p.m. At the time Mayor Robert Smith said the change would be in effect for six months; it has actually been a little over three months. Other security measures, such as cameras both inside and outside, were also put in place.
Tuesday night Trotter manager Mike Anderson asked that the hours be returned to normal.
“We would like to request that we go back to the original hours of closing at 1 a.m.,” Anderson said. “We have installed a number of cameras throughout the lobbies and the entryways and exterior. We have all that equipment up and running.”
Ward 1 Councilman Gene Taylor made the motion, seconded by Ward 6 Councilman Bill Gavin, to grant the request.
Mickens had some questions.
“I have no problem with it, but in the meantime what are we doing about that club on the Southside?” he asked, referring to the Premier Lounge. On Nov. 4 CPD Officer Jared Booth shot and killed Raymond Davis in a parking lot across the street from the Premier Lounge after Davis allegedly pointed a gun at him. At a Nov. 7 meeting the council cracked down on the nightclub, requiring it to close at 10 p.m.
“We’ve talked with the owners and explained to them what they need to do,” Smith said. “We’re waiting on them to get back to us as far as the lights on the back. I’ve met with (Columbus Light and Water Department General Manager Todd Gale) and (CLW) has installed about six lights on the front already. We’re just waiting on the owners to get back in touch with us.”
“It seemed like they had done all that,” Mickens said.
“No, sir, they did not,” Smith said. “They haven’t done anything.”
The motion passed unanimously.
City Attorney Jeff Turnage reported that the attorney general’s office had kicked back a proposed interlocal agreement with the CVB for revision.
The city and the CVB, after much discussion, had agreed to an interlocal agreement specifying that the city would receive funding from the restaurant tax revenues that would go towards upgrades at Propst Park, the completion of the amphitheater and funding for several festivals. The agreement must be approved by the AG’s office before it could be put into effect.
Turnage said that the changes were largely “technical” in nature. The agreement will have to go back to the CVB for approval before it is sent back to the AG.
The revised agreement passed 6-0.
City Engineer Kevin Stafford asked the council to approve a flashing warning sign on Holly Hills Road and traffic calming measures near Hunt school.
Stafford said the sign was needed coming from one direction at the intersection of Holly Hills and Boyd Drive because there was a bad corner there, but that visibility was fine coming into the interchange from the other direction.
He also asked that “bump-outs” be installed on 20th Street North at Hunt school and Sim Scott Park. Residents complained of people driving fast through the area, and he said that part of the problem was that the road was very wide due to the turn lane into the school. Narrowing the roadway should slow traffic, he said.
Both requests were approved unanimously.
In other business:
Five new CPD officers were sworn in. They are: Matthew Lasker, Latessa Fluker, Darnell Madison, Eli Shumaker and Will Simon.
Accepted a letter of resignation from one CPD investigator, effective March 1.
Seven applicants are now in play for Currie Fisher’s unexpired term on the school board. They are: Willie Petty Sr., Cedric Vance, James Samuel, June Leigh, Johnny Judson, Telisa Clay Young and Eric Thomas. The term expires March 3, 2020. The appointment will be made at the March 20 council meeting.
Kevin Stafford was reappointed to the board of adjustment and appeals of development codes.
The council voted to re-advertise for legal bids after the Packet and the Commercial Dispatch both submitted the same amount.
The city entered into an agreement with the Columbus Redevelopment Authority to demolish structures on eight parcels in Burns Bottom. Demolition will be complete within 30 days, and the CRA will pay $2,000 each, plus fees for disposal of debris.