We are sorry that we must cancel the Franklinton Block Party we had planned for this coming Saturday, May 11. Unfortunately, we learned that representatives of a local union and affiliated political groups have recently decided to use the event to stage a protest to advance their agenda.
We support the right of free speech, and are 100% aligned with everyone that wants the best for the students of Columbus City Schools–but the potential consequences of a protest make it impossible to guarantee a positive and safe environment for the hundreds of children and their families that were planning to attend the Block Party, and have changed the event from a celebration for the Franklinton community into a political statement that we don’t believe is fair to make on behalf of our guests for either side of these issues.
The Block Party was to cap off a week of giving back, in which our employees came together with community organizations across more than 15 projects to do important volunteer work in Franklinton and the Hilltop. The event also marked the groundbreaking for our new campus, a $240M capital investment in the neighborhood that will create and sustain thousands of high-quality jobs, and will provide more incremental revenue to Columbus City Schools within our first year of occupancy than would have been generated in more than 15 years under our site’s current use. More information, including figures from the tax revenue analysis used by the City of Columbus and the School Board to approve the campus project is available here.
We are sorry that this change will let so many people down, but believe it is the only decision we can responsibly make. We will make sure that the food we had planned for the Block Party is available to the neighborhood this weekend, and that all vendors and service providers are paid in full as if the event had occurred. We will also carry through with our commitments to community organizations we were supporting with this event, including the renovation of a long-established gymnasium for the neighborhood.
Our commitment to Franklinton and our broader community is unwavering. We look forward to working with everyone in Columbus to continue making our city a great place for students to learn, and for people to live and work.