For years, neighborhood advocates have worked to revive retail on the Hilltop. Now, the city is willing to spend up to $50,000 for a new market study to figure out the best way to do it.

The Hilltop Business Association approached Columbus officials for a grant for a study. But now the city will issue a request for proposals for the study, the first one in seven years.

“The dynamic of the neighborhood has changed,” said Mark Lundine, the city’s economic development administrator in the Department of Development. Hollywood Casino Columbus opened in 2012, and retailers such as Kohl’s and Target have left the Hilltop. Barren Westland Mall remains the biggest hurdle to turning things around.

“There’s been a lot of discussion about what to do with Westland,” said Deb Miller of Boulevard Strategies, a real-estate market strategy firm. “The key to the whole West Side changing is catalytic development at Westland. It has to start there.”

Any survey will focus on the West Broad Street and Sullivant Avenue area, and on bringing back small businesses. “We have the population to sustain some good small businesses,” said Nancy Rhynard of the Hilltop Business Association.

“We want to understand the opportunities for concentrated development,” Councilwoman Elizabeth…