Sunday, April 27, 2008

New Filming Date - May 5 or 6

There's a change in the filming date for Public Enemies. We can now look forward to another round of filming on May 5th and / or May 6th. It was originally scheduled for this week, but this is a summer scene, and you may have noticed the weather this week... not exactly summer weather.

Cobblestone streets went down on East James Street on Friday and came back up on Saturday as the schedule changed. The cobblestone should return later this week. This gives the construction crew more time to take a deep breath and get things prepared for the filming.
Photo courtesy of Michelle Martin

Universal Studios Returns

Have you noticed the barricades downtown? Universal Studios is preparing for the final movie shots in Columbus. East James Street will be used for a scene involving a bank robbery that has gone badly, and one of the Dillinger gang members is injured. Johnny Depp and Michael Mann will be back in town to do this filming. The shooting for this scene will take about ½ day. The downtown will remain open for pedestrian traffic, and mostly open for cars. Semis and large trucks should be following the detours. On the day of the shoot, the whole downtown area will be closed off as it was last time.

There are lots of rumors around town of extravagant amounts of money being paid by Universal Studios to businesses and individuals. Be assured that these are just rumors, and there isn’t a thread of truth to them. The highest payment that I have heard is $1,500 for the rental of the building used to feed the crew the last time they were here. Most businesses and individuals received much less. It’s funny how rumors start and gain a life of their own. Remember that each individual business negotiated a contract with Universal Studios for compensation based on lost store traffic during the filming. The City was not involved in those negotiations.

I plan to hold a listening session next Saturday at the Columbus Library from 11:00 to 1:00. Please stop by to chat if you have a few minutes.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Movies and City Council Work

Universal Studios is returning to Columbus in about 10 days for the next round of filming Public Enemies with Johnny Depp. The filming will be focused on East James street, although we all know that things can change once they are here in town. In addition, there will be more filming in Columbus in May, but not in the downtown area. It will be wonderful to see everyone again. Julie is having a “Universal Day” at Julie’s Java today from 1:00 – 4:00 to welcome back the folks from Universal Studios. Stop by. The excitement continues!! Get your camera and autograph book ready for the next round of Johnny Depp sightings.

We have been operating under the Committee of the Whole structure for almost a year now, and I’d like to report that this new model has made a significant impact on the way that we do business, and on the amount of work and quality of work that we are able to accomplish. The Committee of the Whole meets twice a month to consider agenda items that are important to the council and the citizens that they represent. We have ‘experts’ provide information to the council, and discuss each topic. When the City Council feels that they have enough information to make a decision, that item is moved forward to the regular business meeting for voting. This has streamlined the way we do business, and moved us out of a structure put in place in the 1800’s to a modern, efficient way of doing business.

The power of the City Council lies in their vote. They also have complete freedom to place any item on the agenda for discussion. My role as mayor is to make sure that each person is given a fair chance to state their opinion in an open, respectful climate. I may participate in a limited way in the discussion at the Committee of a Whole meeting, but not at a council meeting when the vote is taken. This keeps the power of decisions with the City Council. We have tacked some tough topics under the Committee of a Whole structure, and we are making wise decisions fairly quickly. No one council person has more power or control over another, and that provides you the citizens with equal representation. Our record speaks for itself. We are accomplishing a lot of good work for the City of Columbus.

A special thank you to all of the folks who stepped forward to serve on committees this year. Much of the work of the city goes on through our committees. Thank you for taking your precious time and energy to serve the people of Columbus.

My grandson received his bone marrow transplant today. He now needs to stay healthy until the cells are able to regenerate bone marrow and his immune system is functioning again. He has about 4 weeks of hospitalization ahead of him, and most of that in isolation. He has remained remarkably bright and cheerful through all of this.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008


This hasn’t been a very good week for Columbus. Two of our police officers have been put on administrative leave while an investigation is conducted into their activities on Thursday night. I am disappointed. The police department has undergone significant change in the past few months. I had hoped that we could build on the positive work and leadership. You can be assured that the investigation will be thorough and fair. No one will be harassed for speaking the truth. We will learn and grow from this experience. Our police officers work hard to build trust and relationships within the community. It is so easily broken.

And Ed Schellin has decided to create issues between the PFC and City Council. Issues that will likely cost the city legal fees and take up time and energy to resolve. What a shame. After the Council found that Ed had overstepped his authority and conducted himself improperly, they gave him a second chance to build a positive relationship with the City Council. It appears that he is unwilling or unable to work with the Council. Again disappointing.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Mayor's report 2008 04 02


Welcome spring, and welcome Tyler Walker and Jenny Perkins to the City Council. Tyler and Jenny won the election this week and will be seated on the council on the 22nd. It is exciting to have them part of our team! Tyler represents young families in our city, bringing their voice and energy to the City Council. Jenny’s husband Glen was very involved in politics and the school system. Welcome.

A City “scorecard” was posted on the website. This scorecard emerged from our planning meeting in February. We set goals for ourselves last year, and then measured our success in achieving those goals, and set new success measures for 2008. In some areas we did very well. In other areas we need to continue to focus on important issues to ensure success. The goals are high, the measures were tough. In the category of Industrial Economic Development we gave ourselves a green light for expanding industrial land and having profitable TIF districts for the first time. Under Downtown Revitalization we scored a yellow light because although some downtown properties were renovated there were a number of businesses closed without new ones replacing them. Overhauling the recreation department was a green light. Repairing the streets was green. Communication and tourism were yellow lights. You can see the whole scorecard on the website.

Universal Studios is returning to Columbus for filming on April 29th. The filming will be concentrated on East James Street, where one of the Dillinger gang members dies after a bank robbery gone wrong. There will be renovations and street closings in our downtown. I should have the dates of the closing shortly. At this point they are estimating the road closures beginning on April 25th. Our Universal Studios contact, Adam is working hard to keep Ludington and West James open through most of the work and filming. You may have noticed that East James was left pretty well in character after the first round of filming so that there should be much less construction work this time. We had such a great economic impact on our city from the first round of filming. It will be wonderful to have all those folks eating and purchasing things in our city again. Thank you to Universal Studios for choosing Columbus and for helping our economy. Welcome back.

In early April there will be a joint meeting with Chamber of Commerce, Main Street, Historic Preservation, Council and Auditorium Corporation to talk about how the movie could be used as a tourism draw for our city. there have been lots of great ideas thrown around. Now is the time to take this forward and continue the excitement.

And on a personal note. My grandson should be going in for his bone marrow transplant next week. it has been delayed a couple of times because he’s had a cold, but we have our fingers crossed that it can begin soon. And Sam should be welcoming a new little brother by the time this is in the paper. What a lot of things happening to one family. Sam will be in the hospital for at least 6 weeks with the transplant. We are experiencing so many emotions… fear, joy, anticipation, dread. It is love that holds it all together. Hug someone close to you this week and let them know that you love them. It will be good for all of us.

Nancy Osterhaus - Mayor