Merion Village- Another quality Columbus Urban Neighborhood on the Southside

I followed the traditional boundaries of Merion Village but exclude the industrial portion of the district west of High Street. Very few people live here.

The district is named after the Merion family who settled in Columbus in 1809 and purchased  1800 acres of land which became Merion Village. Development started in the district in the 1830s with the construction of local canals. The Merions made sure that their holdings near the Scioto river became the industrial hotbed of Columbus. The residential component of the neighborhood east of High Street (where this evaluation begins) developed generally after the Civil war starting along its northern edge abutting German Village and working its way south towards Hungarian village. Most of the neighborhood was developed around the turn of the 20th century.

Merion Village witnessed some disinvestment starting in the 60s & 70s but nowhere near the level experienced in Black majority districts like Olde Towne East or Driving Park. Its main commercial corridors (High and Parsons) experienced the most blight with these scars are still very visible today. Reinvestment has slowly moved southwards from its border with German Village since the 70s. As a general rule of thumb real estate prices are highest near German Village and lowest in the district’s southern border.

Overall Merion Village is a solid urban district, which will continue to improve as it receives more investment. The most important areas it can improve upon include: revitalizing its commercial corridors along High and Parsons, adding more bike lanes, attracting missing neighborhood retail amenities, and being attentive to providing affordable options as real estate prices climb. 
Click here to view my Merion Village album on Flickr

URBAN STRENGTHS:

* Overall public transit service is pretty good, but better closer to German Village. Still very convenient access to Downtown.
* Great connectivity and street grid.
* Great economic diverse, probably the best in all of Columbus.
* Diverse For Sale housing with un-renovated by solid homes selling in the 100Ks and low 200Ks. Modest but renovated homes selling between 225K-350K. Larger renovated homes selling generally btwn 350K-600K. But given the rapid rise in value in Cbus, low-moderate income residents will soon be priced out of homeownership.
* Decent array of rental product with higher end product closer to German Village and more moderate rates further south.
* Generally a safe neighborhood but still some blight and rough patched along Parsons and southern end of High Street.
* Convenient access to Shiller Park for most residents. This is one of Columbus’ best urban parks. Also a couple ballfields next to the elementary school and a nice green space at Moeller Park.
* Generally high quality sidewalks and consistent proper ADA infrastructure.
* High quality architecture especially the northern half near German Village which is mostly brick. Homes transition to mostly woodframe construction the further south one goes.
* Culturally Merion Village includes a nice array of restaurants, bars, and cafes esp. along Thurman and Whittier. Some stuff on High and Parsons. Also some nice live music venues.
* Neighborhood retail amenities include a supermarket, bakery, CVS, public library, a book store, a hardware store, a music shop, and the Columbus Community Hospital.
* Pretty good access to schools including two public elementary schools and South High School. Also a couple Christian schools as well.

URBAN WEAKNESSES:

* No bike lanes throughout Merion Village but there are several bike sharing stations.
*Racial and generational diversity is decent but not great.
* Some nice residential infill near German Village, but also plenty of newer suburban uses along Parsons and High Street.
* Really no art galleries, museums, or theaters in Merion Village. Although a couple theater companies are located to the north in German Village.
* Missing neighborhood amenities include a post office, retail banks, boutiques, and other clothing retailers.
* Urban massing and quality streetscaping is a mixed bag in Merion Village. Along the major commercial corridors (High and Parsons) is a mix of good urban blocks, auto centric blocks, and deterioration. There are also several very mixed-use nodes along Thurman, Whittier, and the 4th & Moler node where the urban form and streetscaping is quite good. 

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