MORPC Hands HUD Plan to CEDCO to Create Food-Processing Jobs in Weinland Park

(Columbus – August 23, 2013) The Community Economic Development Corporation of Ohio (CEDCO) will kick off its campaign to build a state-of-the-art food-processing and employment center in Weinland Park at 7:45 a.m. on Thursday, August 29. Plans for the Food District @ Weinland Park (http://www.thefooddistrict.org) were completed through an $865,000 Community Challenge Grant that the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission (MORPC) received in 2011 from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

MORPC and its grant partners will hand over the finished plans to CEDCO at a breakfast meeting for Columbus-area government, business and civic leaders, and will present a short video that showcases the proposal. The breakfast will be provided by Two Caterers, a successful catering business that has expressed interest in operating a third-floor event center that will be part of the Food District.

The cornerstone of the Food District is a proposed local-food processing plant that will generate revenue to support a job-training and -placement center for unemployed residents of Weinland Park and nearby neighborhoods. The Food District also will have a co-op market, café, wholesale cash-and-carry food market, education programs and office space and businesses services for food entrepreneurs. A planned aquaponics system, combining the production of fish and salad greens, will be incorporated into the Food District.

Grant partners in the project are MORPC, Godman Guild Association, Local Matters, The Ohio State University (Knowlton School of Architecture, Extension, South Centers, and the Center for Urban & Environmental Economic Development), City of Columbus, and Wagenbrenner Development, which owns the land to be used for the Food District, at 5th Avenue and 4th Street, and remediated the soil with help from the Clean Ohio Brownfield Revitalization Program. Other collaborators were Keida & Associates, Design Group, MKSK Studios, and McMahon DeGullis LLP.

CEDCO is a not-for-profit subsidiary of the Godman Guild Association and emerged during the planning process to take the lead in moving the project toward implementation. CEDCO will manage the capital campaign and the development of the site.

For questions about this project, please contact MORPC Agriculture Specialist Brian Williams at bwilliams@morpc.org or 614-233-4187 or CEDCO Executive Director Jon Moorehead at jon.moorehead@cedcohio.org or 614-294-5476 ext. 107.
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Designated as central Ohio’s metropolitan planning agency, MORPC is a voluntary association of 41 local governments. The Center for Energy & Environment at MORPC serves as a community resource in the region by offering a variety of services including: daily air quality forecasts, trail coordination, educational presentations, watershed planning, home weatherization, government carbon footprint analysis and more.

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