Story Behind The Story

$300,000 Carousel May Be Added To Columbus Commons

Today we worked on a story about the $20 million Columbus Commons project. For those who don’t know, it’s the park that’s being constructed on the former site of City Center mall.

The basis for today’s story was we got word that several additions to the park had been approved by the Downtown Commission, including a water feature, two cafes and a $300,000 carousel.  Now, we didn’t do this story because we love carousels (though they can be fun) our main question was whether tax payer dollars were being spent on these extra items.

First things first, we contacted the Capitol South Community Urban Redevelopment Corporation, which is spear-heading the effort to put a carousel in the park. Our main objective here was to get the nuts and bolts of the story (or information) and see what is and what isn’t true.

After leaving a message, I contacted a company in Mansfield who was contracted to build the carousel. They were able to give me the basics behind the carousel such as dimensions and the cost; $300,000. (Those things are not cheap!)  Fortunately, the chief operating officer from Capitol South was quick in getting back to me and she agreed to speak to us on camera about the project over all as well as the idea of putting a carousel in the park. As I would come to find out, the money being used for the water feature, cafes and carousel is from private funds, not tax payer dollars.

Once we finished up that interview, we headed up the street to the project site. Of course, our main objective here was to get video and ask Joe Public what they think of the idea of putting a carousel in the park. Before we had left the station, I had printed out a picture of a carousel the company told me was similar to the one that would be constructed at the park. This way, I was able to not only ask people what they thought about the carousel, but I could show them as well. (As you can imagine, it didn’t take long before we had people on both sides of the idea) A couple interviews and teases later, we were on our way. (Hooray!)

It just so happened while I was back at the station listening to the interviews we had shot, (which is by far the most boring part of my day) we got an email from a spokesperson with the Franklin County Commissioners who said they would not process the grant they were giving towards the project until they got more information on the extra features.  The woman from capitol south told us this was a matter of miscommunication and that they were working to set the record straight with the county commissioners. See, there were questions on whether tax payer dollars were being spent on those extra features. (Which as you read above, is not the case.)

So that’s that. We had to clear up a lot of issues and information with this story, but I like to think we did a fine job at it… but that’s for you to decide…

Posted by Tom Brockman  on 07/27 at 07:25 PM



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