Axios Columbus

Picture of the Columbus skyline.

Hey there, Wednesday!

β˜”οΈ Today's weather: High of 75, low of 62, with a chance of thunderstorms.

✈️ Situational awareness: The Axios Columbus crew is in Washington, D.C., for the rest of the week for a retreat with colleagues from across the country.

  • We'll be focused on improving our newsletter writing but will still be in your inboxes Thursday and Friday mornings!

Today's newsletter is 877 words β€” a 3.5-minute read.

1 big thing: Help for housing developers

Illustration of quarters transformed into nails.
Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

Building a new pipeline of developers from underrepresented backgrounds could help solve Central Ohio's affordable housing crisis, local leaders say.

What's happening: A new loan program to help minority developers build more homes β€” particularly women and people of color β€” launched yesterday through the Affordable Housing Trust for Columbus and Franklin County.

  • The Emerging Developers Accelerator Program is funded by a $10 million investment, half from the city and half from the county. JPMorgan Chase donated $150,000 to fund an educational component.

Why it matters: Participants will complete 12 courses over six months covering all aspects of development, from acquiring sites to understanding zoning rules and working with architects, contractors and lenders.

  • Upon completion, developers can take out loans from the $10 million pot, giving them access to enough capital to take out larger loans and finance projects.
  • They'll also receive mentoring from industry experts.

By the numbers: Just 28% of Urban Land Institute members nationwide are women and just 5% are Black, according to a 2020 report β€” an issue officials say is also true locally.

  • And while our booming region needs to build 14,000-21,000 housing units annually to keep up with population growth, we're averaging only about 8,000, per a 2018 study by the Building Industry Association of Central Ohio.

What they're saying: "I'm saying to the powers-that-be: 'It is time for you to scoot over,'" U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Marcia Fudge said at yesterday's announcement.

  • "It is time to make room for other people … so new people can learn."

Context: Fudge, from northeast Ohio, announced several federal initiatives to build affordable housing while in Columbus on Monday.

What's next: The housing trust is now accepting accelerator program applications on its website.

  • The goal is to begin the first courses in late summer with a class of about a dozen developers, says president and CEO Lark Mallory.

Meanwhile, the city is poised to place a $150 million bond issue on November's ballot to continue addressing affordable housing needs, Mayor Andrew Ginther reiterated at the announcement.

2. πŸ’ Street hockey coming to Whitehall

A rendering of a municipal street hockey rink.
A rendering of the new street hockey rink being built in Whitehall. Courtesy of the City of Whitehall

Kids in Whitehall will soon have the chance to lace up and play free hockey.

  • Street hockey, that is.

What's happening: The city is building a street hockey rink in John Bishop Park thanks to a $250,000 grant from the Columbus Blue Jackets Foundation.

  • As with an earlier project in Westerville, the Jackets plan to offer hockey clinics, equipment and youth and adult leagues.
  • Whitehall is chipping in $60,000 toward the new rink.

Details: Once completed this fall, the rink will round out a city park already featuring baseball and softball fields, a splash park and an inclusive, ADA-compliant playground.

What they're saying: The new rink is meant to introduce children to a sport that can have an expensive barrier to entry, compared to other sports with casual play opportunities like basketball and soccer, Whitehall city administrator Zach Woodruff tells Axios.

  • "With street hockey, you just need shoes and a stick."

3. Nutshells: Did you cashew that?

Illustration of three smiling emojis, each on an outline of Ohio.
Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

🍼 Abbott Laboratories is converting some manufacturing lines to produce Similac baby formula at its Columbus facility amid the nationwide shortage. (Columbus Business First)

πŸ’Έ Ohio's high school athletes will not be able to profit from name, image and likeness opportunities, with 66% of principals rejecting a proposal to mirror college athletes' NIL potential. (Columbus Dispatch)

πŸŽ“ Ohio State trustees will vote Thursday on a tuition, housing and dining increase of nearly 5% for incoming freshman. Yearly costs for all three would be over $26,000. (OSU)

πŸŽ† Upper Arlington won't allow residents to set off fireworks on holidays despite a new state law permitting it that takes effect July 1. (WBNS-TV)

Look who’s hiring

🌎 Find a job that’s out of this world with our Local Job Board.

  1. Digital Marketing Manager - Media Channels at Huntington Bank.
  2. Senior Associate, Brand Governance and Compliance at KPMG.
  3. Talent Marketing Manager at JobsOhio.

Want more opportunities? Check out our Job Board.

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4. Dems pitch constitutional amendment on abortion rights

Protesters outside the Ohio Statehouse.
Protesters at a "Ban Off Our Bodies" rally at the Ohio Statehouse. Photo: Courtney Hergesheimer/Columbus Dispatch/USA Today Network

Ohio Democrats are seeking a constitutional amendment to protect abortion rights should Roe v. Wade be overturned.

Why it matters: The constitutional amendment would override Republican efforts to restrict abortion access and put the question before voters.

Details: The process requires three-fifths approval in both the Ohio House of Representatives and Senate before it gets to voters.

Between the lines: Democratic lawmakers concede this is a long-shot effort, given the Republican supermajorities in both Statehouse chambers.

  • The hope is to rally support from activist organizations and gear up for the backup plan, a citizen-initiated amendment that bypasses the legislature.

Yes, but: That is a much more arduous route to the ballot box.

  • It would require organizers to gather more than 400,000 signed petitions from half of Ohio's 88 counties.

Catch up quick: Ohio does not have a trigger law in place to ban abortion if Roe v. Wade is struck down, though there are active proposals to enact one.

  • A 2019 "Heartbeat Bill" prohibiting abortions after fetal cardiac activity can be detected was blocked from taking effect because of Roe.

5. Photo quiz: First responders recognized

A statue of a police officer, firefighter and boy in a park.
Ohio Police & Fire Memorial Park. Photo: Tyler Buchanan/Axios

Yesterday we invited readers to identify where this statue of a firefighter and police officer is located.

βœ… Many of you correctly responded it's in the Ohio Police & Fire Memorial Park at the corner of Third and Town streets.

Details: Located next to the Ohio Police & Fire Pension Fund headquarters, the park honors first responders who have fallen in the line of duty.

  • This life-size bronze statue is by Cleveland artist Ron Dewey.

πŸ‘ Congrats to subscriber Bob S. for answering correctly and being randomly chosen to win some Axios swag!

😴 Tyler is tired after climbing the famed "Exorcist Stairs."

✈️ Alissa is en route to Washington, D.C.!

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