East Franklinton- Columbus’s oldest Neighborhood and Now Home to a Burgeoning Art Scene and Major Redevelopment Efforts

Settled in 1797, Franklinton is the first American settlement in Franklin County, and was the county seat until 1824. As the city of Columbus grew to the east, Franklinton was annexed and incorporated by Columbus in 1859. Franklinton still hosts some of the City’s oldest surviving building, but unfortunately due to serious disinvestment, much of this has been lost. The eastern portion of Franklinton is sometimes referred to as “The Bottoms”  because much of the land flooded historically. But this threat has been eliminated thanks to the construction of a floodwall in 2004. Franklinton industrialized during the second half of the 19th century as four railroads were built here. This also led to a significant influx of families from SW Ohio and West Virginia   The fabric of the neighborhood was well maintained until the 1960s with the construction of the innerbelt. This resulted in significant lowering of property values and ultimately blight and disinvestment. Thanks to the construction of the damn and significant political will, there are major redevelopment plans in the works for East Franklinton. The neighborhood has already seen some renovations, large infill projects, new breweries & restaurants, and a bourgeoning arts scene. This will be well augmented by the Scioto Peninsula project projected to bring 1800 new residences, a couple hotels, 2M Sq. Ft. of office and 200K sq ft of new restaurant and retail space to the community. The Scioto Peninsula is the portion of the neighborhood sticking out into the Scioto River where Cosi and the Natural History Museum are currently located directly across from Dwtn.

East Franklinton also excels at hosting wondering recreational amenities, several museums, and some of the best examples of cutting edge in-fill architecture in Columbus. From an urban deficiency standpoint, East Franklinton has limited retail amenities, limited housing options, a lack of tree canopy, low density, and many dead spaces. These issues however will hopefully be resolved soon as the neighborhood continues to fill in. Many current residents and housing advocates are rightfully concerned with potential gentrification and displacement, which hopefully will motivate City leaders to aggressively develop new affordable housing.

Click here to view my East Franklinton Album on my Flickr Page.

URBAN STRENGTHS:

* Excellent access to Dwtn sitting literally across the Scioto River front it. Also solid public transit as well.
* Several dedicated bike lanes including the Scioto River trail that wraps around the district and a couple road based lanes. Also several bike rental stations in the neighborhood. Scotter rentals are also very plentiful in the neighborhood.
* More and more rentals coming to the neighborhood as it is under a construction boom. 1-bedrooms generally lease in the low-mid $1,000s. 2-beds in the mid $1,000s.
* Some very nice Park and Recreational amenities with the Dodge Park Community Center & Pool, the Lower Scioto Recreation Trail, wrapping around 2/3rds of the neighborhood, West Bank Park, and Genoa Park.
* Culturally the neighborhood excels at Breweries, bars, and art galleries. Also a good number of restaurants & cafes. Franklinton also hosts COSI, the Natural History Museum, and Veterans Memorial & Museum. The neighborhood also has good access to the cultural amenities Dwtn.
* Some really wonderful historic buildings but not much of it left in the neighborhood. Franklinton is becoming a skinning example of cutting edge in-fill architecture for the City.
* Lots of recent buzz about the district helping to counter act decades of negative perception.

URBAN WEAKNESSES:

* Sidewalks are generally in place but sometimes missing due to the blighted and industrial legacy of Franklinton. About 50% of intersections have current ADA ramps.
* Only a handful of schools within East Franklinton but of mixed ratings. Several in the wider Franklinton community also with mixing rating but covering K-12 well.
* For sale housing is pretty limited but generally moderately priced. Really not 1-bedroom product. 2-beds btwn mid 100Ks to 300K. New or renovated 3 & 4 beds seem to be selling in the 300Ks & 400Ks but not a lot of comps to go on.
* Retail amenities are still very limited. There are a couple boutiques, a florist, a salon, a couple churches, and convenient access to a major hospital.
* Safety in East Franklinton is more perceived than real. Most crime seems to occur west of I-315 but East Franklinton still hosts a lot of blight and vacancy.
* Lots of missing teeth leading to bad urban form. This will improve, however, as the neighborhood fills in. New develop has been quality urban form and good streetscaping.
* Tree canopy is so .
* Density is very low but this will improve quickly and tons of development is planned for East Franklinton.

King Lincoln- Columbus’s Historic African American Neighborhood

Originally known as Bronzeville by its residents, this neighborhood was rebranded as King-Lincoln during Mayor Michael B. Coleman’s administration to highlight its historical significant to the African-American community in Columbus.

The origins of King-Lincoln date back to the 19th century when freed and escaped slaves from across the Confederate South began to settle in Columbus. The neighborhood’s Black population especially grew during the Great Migration after WWI due to its existing Black population and convenient location near jobs. Restrictive housing covenants in other areas and White flight, solidified Bonneville’s claim as the most populated African American neighborhood in Columbus and by the 30s it was a vibrant self-sustaining Black community. It also became a hub of Black cultural hosting four theaters and multiple jazz clubs. The district would later be the  site for much of Columbus’ civil rights activism. Like most African American neighborhoods in America, Brownsville started to decline in the 60s thanks to the construction of I-71, and the migration of middle class Black families to the suburbs. This gutted King-Lincoln of most of its businesses and helped create a concentrated area of blight, crime and poverty.

Thankfully King-Lincoln is on the rise again thanks to the success of neighboring Olde Town East but also to the tireless promotion of its community groups and lots of gorgeous historic homes that are being renovated. While there is a significant amount of permanent rental housing, efforts should be made to ensure long time residents can move to homeownership and take advantage of the rise in housing prices and investment. There are also signs of Long Street being rebuilt with some new food & beverage businesses and some mixed-use infill. But much work is still needed as there remains lots of blight and vacancy in King Lincoln. The northern business district, Mt. Vernon has seen very little reinvestment.

Click here to view my King-Lincoln Album on my Flickr Page

URBAN STRENGTHS:

* Solid transit access and excellent convenience to Dwtn being literally on its eastern border.
* Good urban connectivity.
* Excellent economic diversity decent racial and generational diversity.
 * A good # of walkable schools within the neighborhood but most average or under performing.
* Good diversity in housing. 1-beds condos or rowhouses sell in the high 100Ks or low 200Ks, 2 beds btwn 100K-300K depending on size, condition, and stability of the block, 3-beds btwn mid 100Ks-400K, 4 & 5 beds are similar but with larger and newer homes selling btwn 400K-700K.
* Market rate rentals are a bit limited but moderately priced. 1-beds lease around 1,000, 2-beds in the 1,000s, and 3-beds in the mid $1,5000s to low 2Ks.
* Medium rent in King Lincoln is only $350 an indication that there remaining a lot of dedicated affordable rentals here.
* Some excellent residential architecture on the more stable streets. Also some good recent in-fill although plenty of crummy auto centric in-fill as well.
* Solid number of parks and recreational amenities within or near King Lincoln including Mayme Park, Beatty Park and recreation center. Franklin Park and Saunder Park/Swimming poll are in adjacent districts but still walkable. 

URBAN WEAKNESSES:

* Density isn’t great thanks to all the demolition and blight that have affected the neighborhood.
* Some bike infrastructure with a dedicated bike lane and a 2 dedicated bike stations.
* Decent ADA infrastructure but plenty of non compliance ADA curbs and some missing or broken sidewalks.
* While King Lincoln is prob much safer than it was still some pretty dodgy areas especially around Mt. Vernon and lots of blight remaining.
* As the density is still pretty low and there isn’t a cohesive biz district yet, pedestrian activity is pretty low.
* Cultural amenities are limited to the King Theater, the Kings Arts Complex, and a handful of restaurants and bars. Decent proximity to the cultural amenities in Olde Town East, Franklin Park, and Downtown.
* Retail amenities are also pretty limited but there is a local pharmacy, florist, library branch, a major hospital, post office branch and a handful of boutiques, barber shops, salons, and banks. Lots of churches however.

Downtown Columbus, OH

Downtown Columbus has many subdistricts  but the main three can be separated into:
– the Discovery District (eastern edge)
– the High Street Corridor (main north-south St.), also called the Uptown District
– the Riverfront along the Scioto River.
Other subdistricts include the Arena District (NW portion), Capitol Square (at High and Broad), and the Columbus Civic Center (along the River).

The City of Columbus began to develop in 1812 with the purpose of creating the state’s new capital. This was originally layer out across the river in Franklinton, but quickly shifted to Downtown Cbus. The current statehouse was built in 1857. By the turn of the 20th century, office and commercial activity was concentrated along High and Broad  in addition to Long and Gay Streets. Surrounding these areas was several mostly residential neighborhoods including German village to the South, Market Mohawk to the SE, large high-end mansions further east along Broad, and Fly town where the Arena District stands now.

The Post WWII era brought many modern high-rises  helping Dwtn attract more office jobs. Columbus also engaged in very intense urban renewal efforts leading to the wholesale removal of much of its southern southwestern, and eastern edges. This left behind large swaths of dead spots comprised of surface parking lots, and low rise buildings. Fortunately the character of Dwtn has slowly improved for the better the past two decades thanks to several new parks, the Arena District, revitalization of in-tact historic streets like High, Gay, and Long, and significant in-fill throughout. Dwtn has also invested much in its streetscaping and bike infrastructure.

The next stage in Dwtn Cbus’ urban growth evolution is to become a solid place to live. This requires more residents, in-fill projects on surface parking lots, and much more retail amenities like a full service grocery store, target, and small businesses. Hopefully with Columbus’s strong market this can become a reality soon.
Click here to view my Downtown Columbus Album on Flick

URBAN STRENGTHS:

* Nice set of dedicated bike lanes within Dwtn and especially out to the metro area via several trails along rivers. Dedicated bike lanes connections to City neighborhoods is not terribly comprehensive. Good dedicated bike coverage Dwtn and to many inner-city neighborhoods in Cbus.
* Very gridded Dwtn street network but plenty of wide 1-way streets. Fortunately many of these converted a parking lane to dedicated bike travel.
* Generally good ADA infrastructure depending on what part of Dwtn one is at.
* Lots of good urban in-fill being built Dwtn, helpful to offset some of the awful stuck built between the 1960s-1980s.
* While not to the level of Dwtn Cleve or Cincy, the buzz of Dwtn Cbus is improving.
* Culturally several modest  museums Dwtn including the Art, State House, the Cultural Arts Center, the Fire Museum , and several historic homes. The Veterans & COSI museums are just across the River in Franklinton. Good array of performing arts theaters mixing historic and new theaters, including many small theaters. Cbus also has an Opera and Ballet. Also a decent array of art galleries, restaurants, bars, nightclubs, and live music venues.
* Dwtn hosts both a NHL stadium , MLS team, and minor league baseball park in the Arena District. The Convention Center is on the border with the Short North.
* At 25%, pretty high pct of households are family households. Pretty good for Dwtn.
* Pretty good array of for-sale product, generally higher end but good diversity. 1-bed condos sale btwn 150K-350K. 2-beds are at a similar price but some higher end product in the 400Ks&500Ks especially when you include townhomes. Good array of 3-bed product selling btwn 500K-1M.
* Good amount of rental product, typically priced for American Dwtns. 1-bedrooms lease in the $1,000s, 2-bedrooms in the 1,000s& 2,000s. 3-bedrooms are pretty limited.
* Dwtn Cbus has come a long way with improving its parks Dwtn in the past decade building the Scioto Mile Promenade, Bicentennial Park, Columbus Commons, McFerson Commons in the Arena District, and North Bank Park Pavilion. This supplements older parks & plazas such as Sensenbrenner Park, Topiary Park, and the Ohio State House Grounds.
*  Solid Dwtn employment with over 85K jobs. Vacancies are average.
* High college enrollment with nearly 34K students attending school within Dwtn. 

URBAN WEAKNESSES:

*Overall transit service in Columbus is so . Probably about middle of the pack for a major American City. Fair amount of suburban areas are within the City.
* No bus connection between dwtn and the airport
* Density is so , but improving as more in-fill res. projects come to Dwtn.
* Some spots of good vibrancy but certainly plenty of dead spaces Dwtn.
* No strong civic plaza although one could argue its either the Statehouse or Bicentennial Park. Columbus Commons was meant to be this and has good programming but was a major disappointment from a design perspective.
* Two nice high schools downtown. Also a arts middles school but located outside of the Dwtn area.
* Decent Dwtn retail and neighborhood services but not on the same level as Dwtn Cleve or Cincy. No supermarket, shopping mall, nor major retailers. But Dwtn does offer several drug stores, a hospital, Dwtn library and post office, and some boutiques and clothing stores. Better shopping amenities located in adjacent inner city district of German Village and the Short North.
* Many surface parking lots have been built on, but Columbus certainly has plenty more to go especially in the eastern half of the district. Massing is often good in areas of density and form. But also areas of crummy 1960s-1980s low rise buildings often with auto centric orientation.

North Clintonville- A Columbus neighborhood that bridges the gap between American’s streetcar and autocentric eras

North Clintonville is the northern half of Clintonville north of Henderson/Cooke. It includes the sub-district of Old Beechwold, East Beechwold, and Sharon Heights. Old Beechwold is a historic development from the pre-WWII era that was developed after the failure of an early Columbus Zoo. Here, single family homes using stone, brick, and stucco are set on well canopied curvilinear streets. East Beechwold is a bit newer mixing homes from the 1920s-1950s. Sidewalks in both neighborhoods are hit or miss. Sharon Heights is consistently the most suburban of the sub-districts with housing squarely between the 1940s-1960s and limited sidewalks.

The Beechwold business district along High Street between Henderson and Morse Road is the most urban in North Clintonville. It has clusters of businesses with urban orientation and walkability but lacks consistently. Remaining commercial districts are pretty auto centric across the district.

North Clintonville excels in providing quality amenities such as good parks, quality housing, low crime, and good retail amenities, although often oriented towards cars. Because the neighborhood bridges the early 20th century streetcar era and the full auto centric era, it has a lot of suburban tendencies that prevent it from being a viable urban district. But with some intentional urban commercial overlays and densifications, North Clintonville could become a viable urban district. It certainly has the enough quality public transit access and connectivity to pull it off. 
Click here to view my Beechwold album on Flick

URBAN STRENGTHS:

* Some very nice stretches of historic homes old Beechwold and East Beechwold sub-districts. Nice 1920s-1940s brick housing with some older woodframe. Plenty of blah 1950s-1960s housing as well.
* Good access to Dwtn and surprisingly good transit access.
* A pair of north-south bike paths running along the western and  eastern edges of the district.
* Plenty of housing product selling between 200K-500K depending on condition and size. Vast majority of this are SF homes but some condos mixed in as well. Top of the market is larger SF homes selling btwn 500K-700K. The majority of these are in the Old Beechwold subdistrict.
* Several nice park and recreational amenities including the Olentangy River Trail, Beechwold Ravine, Overbrook Ravine, Kennedy Park, Broadmeadows Parks, Rush Run Park, and Sharon Meadows Park.
* Very safe neighborhood. Limited blight.
* Cultural amenities include a good array of restaurants (although many are fast food joints), bars, and some cafes.
* Good neighborhood amenities but most of them are auto centric. A couple supermarkets & drugstores, a post office, a couple bookstores, several boutiques, plenty of banks, a hardware store, a target, and other general retail especially in the Graceland Shopping center.
* Other than the Graceland Shopping Center and some WWII developments, great tree canopy in North Clintonville. 

URBAN WEAKNESSES:

* Poor Density. More similar to a suburb.
* Commercial districts are mostly auto centric but some climbs of good urban form along High Street between Cook and Morse Road.
* Some ADA infrastructure and sidewalks south of Morse but its really hit or miss. Sidewalks are mostly non-existent north of Morse in the Sharon Heights sub-district.
* No dedicated bike stations though in this portion of Clintonville.
* Some rentals but almost all of them are 2 & 3 bedrooms. s generally at moderate rents. Mix of moderate and more expensive rentals.
* Pedestrian traffic is pretty limited.
* Really no museums here although there are several old historic sites just north in Worthington. No theaters and limited live music and art galleries.
* Hospitals and library are located in adjacent districts, but one most drive there.
* Lots of quality schools south of Morse Street. Only one in North Clintonville.
* Some decent commercial infill built to the street but also lots of unattractive auto centric buildings. 

Clintonville- Columbus’ most white-collar urban district

Clintonville for much of the 1800s was the “empty space” between Old North Columbus and Worthington along the High Street stage coach route. In an attempt to draw others to the area the Bull family built businesses in the center of Clinton Township, along North High Street in the mid 1800s. By the early 1900s, downtown Columbus residents and Ohio State professors built summer homes here. Eventually, with the extension of streetcar lines into the neighborhood, Clintonville filled in.

Clintonville never really lost its market strength and luster the several decades after WWII. But High Street and Indianola lost much of their urban fabric due to miss guided auto centric development. Since the 2000s the Clintonville housing market has strengthened even more and now most homes sell in the 300ks and 400ks. Its high market value is due to Clintonville’s strong schools, great parks, large back yards, safety, and convenient access to Dwtn and Ohio State. There are several urban areas for Clintonville to improve including more quality urban infill along its commercial corridors, more density, better bike infrastructure, and more intentional affordable housing. Clintonville residents, while mostly liberal, can be rather Nimbyistic blocking quality urban in-fill and affordable housing projects.
Click here to view my Clintonville album on Flickr

URBAN STRENGTHS:

* Okay access to Dwtn but very convenient access to Ohio State, obviously another major jobs center.
* Good number of rentals generally at moderate rents. 1-bedrooms btwn 700-$1,000, 2-bedrooms btwn $800 and the low $1,000s, and 3-bedrooms generally in the mid $1,000s.
* Excellent tree canopy.
* Great park amenities including the Olentangy trail and several large adjacent green spaces, the expansive Columbus Park of Roses, several ravines and sports fields.
* Culturally Clintonville includes a nice diversity of restaurants, bars, & cafes, a local movie theater, a handful of art galleries, and the Columbus Civic Theater.
* Good neighborhood amenities, although often with more suburban form. This includes several full sized supermarket, a public library, a couple drug stores, several, book stores, a good array of boutiques, and other general retail services.
* This is a very safe community with limited blight.
* Great array of public/private schools well representing K-12. 

URBAN WEAKNESSES:

* Bike infrastructure is ok. A couple bike lanes and one dedicated bike station.
* For Sale housing is on the high side but still a decent amount of diversity. Good amount of modest SF housing selling in the 200Ks. Most product of 3 & 4 bedroom well maintained homes sell in the 300Ks & 400Ks. L
*Larger SF homes sell in the 500Ks & 600Ks.
* Ok racial and economic diversity.
* The urban form of Clintonville’s business districts is hit or miss. Some nice stretches of urban form along High Street (especially near Como) and a nice node on Indianola. But large primarily auto centric stretches on both streets, especially Indianola.
* Limited modern in-fill and what does exist is mostly autocentric. 

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. 

Olde Towne East- Columbus’ best Victorian Architecture

Olde Towne East is one of Columbus’ oldest neighborhoods. Development started in the early 1800s with the neighborhood filling in mostly during its post Civil War boom. From this period comes the unique architectural style of Olde Towne East and a good deal of social mixing where rich and poor residents lived in close proximity to each other. Following World War II Olde Towne East went into decline and many of its grand homes of the late 1800s began to deteriorate or were subdivided into apartments and rooming houses.

Revitalization efforts started in the early 1970s as many parts of the neighborhood, particularly surrounding Bryant Street, were historically designated. This encouraged a slow but persistent restoration of these grand homes. By the early 2000s revitalization became more wide spread focusing on rebuilding the Parsons-Oak commercial node. And finally by the mid 2010s the whole district was revitalizing leading to new construction and sales prices extending into the 400Ks. Right now, the Olde Towne East has a nice range of for sale prices between 100K-500K but I fear this will not last, and the neighborhood will be out of reach for many low-moderate income households.

From an urban perspective Olde Towne East is well served by public transit and only 1-2 miles from Dwtn Columbus. It’s retail amenities are still fairly modest but improving (especially at the Oak and Parsons node). My hope is that its main Thorofare along Broad starts to see more development and large mixed-use infill. There are still many vacant lots and buildings to revitalize giving Olde Towne East a bright urban future. I also hope the city permits more mixed-use zoning along more diverse and creative uses to integrate with parts of the neighborhood removed from the Parsons-Oak Commercial node.
Click here to view my Olde Towne East Album on Flickr

URBAN STRENGTHS:

* Fantastic access to Dwtn Cbus being only 1 mile away. Solid public transit as well.
* Great racial and economic diversity. Decent generational diversity with 1/3 of households as family households.
* Good amount of rental housings moderately priced (i.e. 1 & 2 bedrooms around $1,000 and 3 & 4 bedrooms in the $1,000s).
* Good variety of for sale prices, although I do fear that the neighborhood’s rapid appreciating value will start to become cost prohibitive to many long term residents. Homes generally stay within 100K-600K. Modest or unrenovated homes sell between 100-250K. Renovated by smaller homes between 250-400K. Larger renovated homes sell in the 400Ks & 500Ks.
* While many still write up the neighborhood as dangerous there is most certainly a buzz here.
* Wonderful set of historic Victorian homes.
* Cultural amenities include a good set of restaurants, cafes, bars, and some live music venues & art galleries. Some nice museums in surrounding districts like the Kelton House Museum & Garden, and the Franklin Park Conservatory , the Columbus Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens.
* A handful of schools located with Olde Town East and several in nearby Franklin Park.
* Not a ton of urban in-fill but some nice Residential and mixed-use projects starting to arise. 

URBAN WEAKNESSES:

* Decent but not great density. Hopefully as the neighborhood fills in, this will improve.
* Bike infrastructure is decent with one dedicated north to south route and a couple bike station. The district needs an west to east route that connects to Dwtn.
* Still a fair amount of blight even if the neighborhood isn’t dangerous anymore.
* Parks and amenities are a bit limited but not bad. Parks include Blackburn Park, a Recreational Community Center, and a nice playground.
* Retail amenities are a bit limited as there are not supermarkets, drug stores, post office, banks nor library. But the neighborhood includes some nice boutiques, a wine store, a florist. Children’s hospital however is just south of the district and adjacent Dwtn also has some nice amenities.
* The urban commercial node at Parsons and Oak is attractive (with good urban form and streetscaping) but only extends a couple of blocks. Because of its location on the western edge of the neighborhood, commercial is limited in the middle and eastern section of Olde Towne East.

Dennison Place/South Campus- The often forgotten neighborhood between Columbus’s Victorian Village and Ohio State

The district stretches between 5th to Ohio State to the north. This includes several smaller sub-neighborhoods of Dennison Place, the Circles, Necko, and South Campus.

Dennison Place and Necko was mostly built out by 1900 with great historic Victorian style homes. The area began to decline in the 1930s as Columbus expanded and people began to move to the suburbs. By the time decline bottomed out in the 1970s, many of the original homes were converted to rooming houses or knocked down to make room for modern apartment buildings, or simply abandoned and boarded up. This sparked neighborhood preservation policies and new zoning to prevent further destruction.  By the 1980s, the revitalization of Dennison Place/Necko started with the restoration of its historic Victorians. Now these homes sell between 500K-1 Million. The fate of South Campus was more like the University District. A post WWII demand for housing led to new apartment buildings and larger homes being transitioned into multi-family. The area is still a heavily students. High Street has seen significant revitalization including a slue of new mixed-use infill buildings.

Areas where the neighborhood could improve from an urban perspective include: more for-sale housing diversity, better park and recreational spaces, and walkable schools.
Click here to view my Dennison Place Album on Flickr

URBAN STRENGTHS:

* Great population density.
* Good historic architecture especially in the Dennison Place/Circles and Necko section.
* Great access to job centers across all modes. 1 mile to OSU and 3 to Dwtn Cbus.
* Good coverage by the City’s bike sharing system.
* Decent racial diversity thanks to the large international population at OSU.
* Lots of rental options and most of them moderately priced. Some higher end rentals as well.
* Cultural amenities include a good amount of restaurants, bars, and cafes, a cineplex, several live music venues and art galleries, and convenient proximity to OSU’s cultural activities.
* Quality retail amenities a supermarket, several drug stores, a Barnes & Nobles bookstore, a public library, several boutiques, banks and other neighborhood serving retail. Parts of High St in OSU and the Short North are also walkable to residents living here. This includes the OSU Target.
* Great urban massing and streetscaping along High Street. Also a quality urban node at Neil and 10th. A couple other nice mixed use blocks sprinkled throughout. 

URBAN WEAKNESSES:

* Surprisingly the Olentangy recreation trail is the only dedicated bike path in the neighborhood. This does, however, provide a nice safe route to Dwtn.
* For sale housing is generally expensive but some more modest options with 1-2 townhome condos selling in the 200Ks. Smaller SF homes or less updated ones selling btwn 300K-500K. Larger renovated historic homes selling anywhere from 500K-1 M primarily in the Dennison Place/Necko section.
* Parks are pretty limited within the district although the Thompson Park (complete with a community center) sits on the district’s southern edge, OSU’s open space is nearby, and the Olentangy Recreational Trail on the western edge.
* No schools within Dennison Place/South Campus but some in surrounding neighborhoods.
* Modern in-fill is mixed bag. Some good off campus housing built by OSU are Neil and 11th Street and more and more quality mixed-use in-fill filling in along High Street. But plenty of post WWII garbage apartments in South Campus area.

Old North Columbus- A quality historic community north of Ohio State University

Old North Columbus was founded in 1847 as a stand-alone city. North Columbus in its early years was a major stage coach stop between Columbus and Worthington to the north and had a history of thriving saloon and speakeasy scene. North Columbus was also the site of a large  factory and a mill along the banks of the Olentangy River. The establishment of Ohio State in 1871 brought a major boom to the neighborhood and helped fill it in by the 1920s.

Old North Columbus never saw the level of disinvestment as places like Weinland park after WWII nor wholesale take over of students as occurred in the University District to the south. While students comprise a large portion of the neighborhood, there is still a sizable homeownership community here. High Street has also held on to much of its late 19th century commercial architecture and hosts a great array of ethnic restaurants and decent amount of neighborhood serving businesses. Also a quality urban node at Summit and Hudson and a pair of attractive boulevard streets and ravines north of here. Neighborhood branding signs were installed in the early 2000s along High Street to bolster the community’s identity. The biggest area for improvement is new quality urban in-fill along High street and Lane Ave. redeveloping surface parking lots and low-rise auto centric uses. Given the development pressures nearby in OSU, I’m confident this will come soon. The neighborhood also desperately needs walkable schools within the community to attract more generational diversity and long term homeowners. 
Click here to view my Old North Columbus Album on Flickr

URBAN STRENTHS:

* Solid multi-model access with good transit and public infrastructure access.
* Good economic diversity and only decent racial diversity.
* Great array of rental options generally renting at moderate rates.
* A lot more for sale housing here than other districts surrounding OSU.
* Pretty safe district with only a little bit of blight.
* Great park amenities including the extensive Tuttle Park which includes extensive woods, a swimming pool, recreational center. Glen Echo Park follows the Glenn Echo Stream with recreational trails and bike trail along the Olentangy River.
* Good tree canopy thanks to the large amount of park space here.
* Culturally a great array of ethnic restaurants, plenty of bars & cafes, lots of live music venues, and convenient access to cultural amenities of OSU.
* Decent retail amenities, especially along High Street, a drug store, hardware store, bike shop, several record stores, and some other neighborhood retail. Supermarkets located on the edges of the neighborhood along with a Lowes Improvement Store and Target.
* Quality historic commercial along High Street with good historic residential helped with a fair amount of late 19th century architecture.
* High street and Lane Ave’s urban form is a mixed bag. Another nice urban node at Summit and Hudson.

URBAN WEAKNESSES:

* Limited generational diversity but more family households than other student heavy districts around OSU.
* Modern in-fill is a mixed bag. Some nice dense mixed-use infill along High, with plenty of auto centric buildings remaining. Plenty of blah post WWII apartments throughout.
* No schools within Old North Columbus but some in surrounding neighborhoods.

Columbus’ University District- home to the City’s largest off-campus student haven

For the purposes of this evaluation I define the University District/Indianola Terrace as the area between Lane/Northwood and 11th street and between High Street and the railroad tracks. University District is actually a much broader area by most standards encompassing North Old Columbus and South Campus. Indianola Terrace is east of Summit Street.

Like much of north Columbus, the University District grew on a similar track with Ohio State, which opened in 1870 but didn’t really start to expand until the early 20th century. To people’s surprise the neighborhood was a fashionable “suburb” in the first half of the 20th century with a mix of brick rowhouses and large SF homes. Several curved roads and ravines lie between 16th and Lane Ave. The influx of servicemen into the neighborhood after WWII seeking housing lead to a population boom and the construction of new apartments and conversion of many SF homes to MF.  Perceived problems of vehicular congestion, crime, and litter resulted from this quick rise in density and the University Area Commission was created in 1972 to address them.

Its difficult for me to say whether I view the change of University District post WWII as necessarily an urban “negative”. On the one hand it most certainly rapidly altered the neighborhood creating a more transient less cared after place. On the other hand, it created a density level helpful in fostering vibrancy, mixed-use, and significant retail on Hight Street. In hindsight it probably would have been wise to rezone parts of the neighborhood closest to campus for high density apartments, and try to preserve homeownership heavy pockets east of Summit Street. Fortunately the University District feels more invested in than before, less gritty, attracting more homeownership, and hosts a dense mixed-use corridor along High Street. Hopefully the neighborhood can continue to attract a more diverse demographic (non-students) and become the vibrant and diverse place it could always become. I see many parallels to the University District with Pittsburgh’s Oakland or Cincinnati’s CUF and Corryville.
Click here to view my University District album on Flickr

URBAN STRENGTHS:

* Good but not great transit access. Overall convenient access to lots of jobs with OSU and Dwtn.
* Great bike infrastructure with several dedicated bike lanes and good bike station coverage. 
* Quality historic architecture, but would be even better if the bldgs didn’t take a beating as student housing.
* Great ADA and sidewalks infrastructure.
* Not much modern in-fill within the neighborhood but lots of quality urban mixed-use infill along High Street.
* Decent racial diversity thanks to OSU diverse student body.
* A high level of density thanks to students being packed into rental housing.
* Not surprisingly tons of rents here and generally at pretty modest prices.
* High Street has very good urban massing and streetscape especially with its recent extensive urban in fill.  
* Cultural amenities include a great array of ethnic restaurants, lots of college bars & cafes, several live music venues, and the OSU cultural activities.
* The University District hosts a full service target,  2 CVS, several chain retailers, lots of banks, a handful of boutiques, and a cineplex and Barnes & Nobles on its southern border. 

URBAN WEAKNESSES:

* Lots of students living here which greatly reduces the University district’s economic and generational diversity.
* For sale housing is mostly limited to student rental. But some SF and duplexes in good shape selling in the 200Ks & 300Ks. You certainly get a lot of house for your money here.
* Park space is limited here to the nice but modest Luka Ravine park and the ballfields behind the Indianola Middle School. But park asset is probably OSU quads and green space.
* The neighborhood is a bit rough in spots (especially in Indianola Terrace and has a fair amount of grid but by no means a dangerous place.
* The neighborhood only hosts a small privet grade-middle schools. A couple others in adjacent districts.