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There’s still hope for bigger, better Whitehall Kroger

614now Staff

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Two years has gone by since Kroger purchased a former Big Bear grocery store at the Town and Country Shopping Center in Whitehall, but the massive marketplace is still promising a bigger, better store for the community.

The place may just be a vacant lot right now, but according to This Week News, the 8.2-acre site at 3680 E. Broad St could become a shopping center with a drive-through pharmacy, fuel center, expanded kosher offerings, ClickLists, and other amenities.

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But ultimately, the project timeline is still being worked out.

Via a 15-year, 53% tax-increment-financing agreement Whitehall City Council approved in 2016, Kroger’s deadline to begin construction was pushed back from the end of 2018 to the end of 2021.

Kroger purchased the property for $4.2 million and is expected to shell out another $24 million to build the new store.


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Arts & Culture

What’s Open: Venues slowly start to roll out live music

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When it was announced in mid-May that wedding venues and banquet halls would reopen at the beginning of June, the next question became: When will music venues be next?

Although the rollout has been slow and will be gradual, Columbus venues and attractions that regularly house live music are making their comeback. When the high-spirited, good-feeling cover band Popgun graced the Natalie’s Music Hall & Kitchen on May 27, many people’s greatest fears of being robbed of live music for the rest of the year were eased maybe a little.

The only way for us to get currently get down to live music is to sit down, which is a fair trade-off given the times.

Check out a few Columbus venues that are set to reopen or have reopened under strict coronavirus guidelines.

  • The Forum Columbus -- The Forum welcomed back live music on May 29 with a tabled RSVP DJ showcase. For this event, guests were required to come in groups of no more than 10, be seated six feet apart from other groups, and remain seated unless you have to use the restroom. There are no future events planned as of this publishing.
  • Otherworld  -- The immersive art installation that took Columbus by storm in 2019 is set to return on June 11, according to the venue’s webpage. Otherworld will be operating at a capacity of one visitor per 160 square feet, or around 20 percent of the regular admittance. It’s unclear when the next time Otherworld will host live music, but this is a giant step in the right direction in terms of venue re-openings.
  • South Drive-In -- It’s not a venue in Columbus that traditionally holds music, but it’s become one and may stay one for the time being. Viral DJ Marc Rebillet will be bringing his sold-out drive-in show to the South Drive-In on June 14. With these types of performances popping up all around the country and the South Drive-In owner getting plenty of event requests, we will hopefully be seeing more shows of this nature in the warmer months.
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Govt & Politics

City Attorney Klein, Columbus leaders outline need, steps for police reform

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Elder Larry Price speaks at the police reform press conference on Wednesday, June 3.

Columbus City Attorney Zach Klein and a few Columbus community leaders gathered at the Michael B. Coleman Government Center for a press conference addressing plans to “reform the culture of justice in Columbus.”

Klein, who has been urged to improve the systematic problems with policing, acknowledged during the press conference that “there’s systematic racism in every step of government.”

Asking the rhetorical question, What are we going to do about it?, Klein followed with, “The time for action is now.”

Those who spoke at the press conference also included:

  • Elder Larry Price, chairman of the Criminal and Justice Committee and Columbus chapter of the NAACP
  • Stephanie Hightower, president of CEO of the Columbus Urban League
  • Pastor Frederick LaMarr, president of the Baptist Pastor’s Conference of Columbus

LaMarr led off the discussion, delivering a message to “set aside differences to bring about real reform.”

Klein then made a few brief comments before giving Hightower and Price a chance to speak.

“Racism should’ve never been a part of the American epic,” Hightower said.

Price, who will also be speaking on behalf of the NAACP on Friday at 12 p.m., asking for a citizen review board in Columbus.

“The oldest, boldest, baddest organization on the earth now says, It is time. Enough is enough,” Price said.

Klein outlined the immediate actions that the Columbus government is going to take to reform systematic racism in the police department. 

They are outlined as follows:

  • Appoint special counsel from outside of the city to investigate the ongoing protests in Columbus, something that was also done in Charlottesville
  • Conduct a review of the Columbus Police Department’s procedures of clearing the streets of peaceful protests
  • Change the Columbus Division of Police’s use of chemical agents against nonviolent protesters
  • Submitted evidence to the Columbus Division of Police  Internal Affairs Bureau of uses of chemical agents and encourage Columbus citizens 
  • Create a citizen review board
  • Move charging decisions for alleged misdemeanor criminal offenses to inside the Columbus city attorney’s office for review before they are filed
  • Conduct a review of the Columbus City Code
  • Achieve police-community reform

Klein then took time after outlining the city's plan to answer questions from the media. A topic addressed in those questions included mention of the treatment of reporters in Columbus, specifically from The Lantern. 

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Coronavirus

Breakaway Music Festival will not take place in 2020; to return in 2021

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Those in the music festival community have continued to rally their broken spirits behind live streams and classic archival sets in lieu of the live event industry being put on indefinite hold. 

With each passing day, though, hopes for any large concert gathering happening in 2020 seem incredibly bleak and unrealistic.

News from Midwest college market concert and music festival promoter Prime Social Group on Thursday further confirmed the modern hippie’s greatest fear: a summer void of camping out in otherworldy open fields and following their favorite musicians across the country. 

PSG operates a network of festivals under the Breakaway Music handle that take place annually in Columbus; Charlotte, North Carolina; Grand Rapids, Michigan; Washington D.C.; Nashville; and San Diego. The promotion company made the difficult decision to cancel all six of its 2020 editions of the EDM and pop-focused Breakaway Music Festival with a fully-committed plan to return in 2021. The decision was made due to health and safety concerns stemming from the coronavirus pandemic.

Tickets to the event can be carried over for the 2021 edition of BMF. For those who choose this option, you’ll receive an extra ticket and merch bundle. PSG will also provide refunds if transferring tickets for 2021 is not an option.

Columbus has been making its claim as a music festival destination over the past few years. Breakaway, along with events like Sonic Temple, Wonderbus, and Buckeye Country Superfest, has been bringing quality acts to Columbus consistently. The festival’s presence will be greatly missed this upcoming August.

“Now more than ever, we could use that special sense of unity achieved through live events and music festivals,” said Prime Social managing partner Zach Ruben. “We cannot wait to Leave it All Behind and make memories with all of you again. Until then, stay safe, stay healthy, and be kind to one another.”

In the meantime, Breakaway plans to release exclusive behind-the-scenes footage from past editions, new digital content, and various live streams. Visit breakawaymusicfestival.com to keep up to date with what PSG has in store.

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