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Columbus Promises To Hire Linden Residents To Build Community Center

Mayor Andrew Ginther signs a community benefits agreement for the Linden Community Center.
Adora Namigadde
Mayor Andrew Ginther signs a community benefits agreement for the Linden Community Center.

Mayor Andrew Ginther and other Columbus leaders signed a community benefits agreement for the construction of the new Linden Community Center and Park on Thursday morning.

“By having local workforce goals, this project can provide good-paying jobs for people who live right here in our city,” Ginther says.

Ginther set aside $20 million for the Linden Community Center in the most recent capital improvement budget. It's one of the largest single-line items on the budget.

Thursday's agreement sets a goal of hiring 30 percent local workers to build the center. Officials plan to host three recruitment events in Linden in hopes of hiring people specifically from the neighborhood.

“We’re working to make sure we reach new records for our minority participation in contracting to build the center,’ Ginther says.

According to Columbus City Council member Rob Dorans, special recruitment will help Linden take ownership of the project.

“The community benefit agreement has elements to it that make sure we’ll have the opportunity to recruit the next generation of skilled trade workers from a more diverse area like the Linden community,” Dorans says.

The city created its first community benefits agreement for construction of a new fire station on the Far East Side.

Columbus Recreation and Parks Department held several public meetings last spring to hear what community members wanted from the new center. City leaders plan to break ground in June, and the project is scheduled to conclude in 2020.

Adora Namigadde was a reporter for 89.7 NPR News. She joined WOSU News in February 2017. A Michigan native, she graduated from Wayne State University with a B.A. in Broadcast Journalism and a minor in French.