Columbus: the end of the line…

by Maureen McCabe on December 9, 2007

short north archesMaybe It’s not the end of the line. It is the end of the Columbus Dispatch eight part series about Ohio’s big cities. I was awake when the paper came so went out in the dark to get the paper off the driveway and read it the old fashioned way again today.




We can thanks Mayor “Jack” Sensenbrenner (1954 to 1968 I believe) for the Columbus we have today. I knew about Sensenbrenner’s plan and policy of annexation probably from reading earlier Columbus Dispatch articles… definitely from reading the Wikipedia version of Columbus Ohio.

I wonder what the Short North was like in 1954 to 1968, I am sure by ’68 it may have been the “scary area” you hear about.  Today that neighborhood is definitely a community asset.

The Columbus Dispatch article mentions the “win-win agreement of 1986 and how that affects the City of Columbus and the Central Ohio region. The “win-win agreement” described by:


Westerville School District


New Albany Plain Local School District


The final installment of the Columbus Dispatch series disappointed me on first reading it. Partly it was disappointment to read:

“The bright spot among Ohio’s biggest cities isn’t immune to problems and isn’t keeping up with its peers nationwide. “

Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah! I want a rosier picture.


Partly my disappointment with the Dispatch article was Sensenbrenner’s policies; “I already knew that Dispatch. Tell me something I did not know.”


Partly I was disappointed there was not some kind of statewide wrap up, solution for all seven big cities. I worry about the poor people in the Dayton area waiting for the Columbus Dispatch writer to solve Dayton’s problems. Or for the Columbus Dispatch reporters to persuade the Ohio legislature through this special report to solve Dayton’s problems. Discussion of the Columbus Dispatch’s Dayton Installment Tuesday:


Monday- hopeful “Solving Dayton’s problems: Whiners and wimps need not apply”


Tuesday – disappointed “Another ranty post from a typically happy camper: It’s education, Stoopid”


I was disappointed there was not more in this final installment about how Ohio’s big cities are in it together or aren’t in it together. All I read about how we in Columbus are affected by decline in the other six big Ohio cities is this quote from Bill LaFayette, vice president of economic analysis forColumbus w/ white border the Columbus Chamber of Commerce.

“LaFayette and other economists say part of the problem is that the economic struggles of other Ohio cities and the state hurt Columbus because they limit the market for products and services here.”

I’m sorry I don’t understand what that means… Columbusites would consume products from Cleveland, Dayton, Akron, Toledo, Cincinnati and Youngstown if they were producing them… Columbus transportation would be involved in moving products from Cleveland, Dayton, Akron, Toledo, Cincinnati and Youngstown to the rest of the world if those cities were producing more products?


I did not know how the increase in total city of Columbus population compared with an increase or lack of increase in the part of the city of Columbus which is in the Columbus school district as opposed to suburban school districts.


The Columbus Dispatch Series


There’s a second article in the Columbus Dispatch today: Poll: Some don’t link ‘burbs, city.


I believe the polls results went something like this…

“59% – go to “downtown” to eat out.

57% – for cultural activities

45% – shopping

44% – fireworks, festivals, parades

40% – sporting events

39% – concerts

38% – work

3% – other

2% – live there

10% – never go there”

Me? Cultural activities, fireworks, festivals and parades… I am surprised trying to remember the last time I went to a downtown Columbus restaurant… I live up near the north outer-belt, north of 270, south of Polaris.


Columbus map with gridThe poll also asked the 401 Central Ohio residents polled whether they saw themselves moving downtown … between “not very likely” and not “not at all likely at all” were a combined 82%.


The third question in the poll was about living in the city of Columbus, not about living in downtown Columbus. It was about living in the city of Columbus. The polled residents seem to agree over all with Teri Lussier in Dayton.


The overall question of the poll was whether the success of the suburbs is linked to the city and not everyone polled is convinced. It seems although the experts interiewed see the connection not all of us do. Or not all of the sample who were polled did.


I was surprised there was not something in today’s paper supporting a light rail system… All week I kept thinking “that’s what this series is all about.” Trains.

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1 Erin December 9, 2007 at 06:37 pm

I think light rail can make or break the success of a city’s downtown. We just recently started running light rail service here in Charlotte, as a means to lessen traffic congestion during rush hour but also to get people to the center city more easily – now the downtown area just needs to catch up and offer more shopping, restaurants, etc., to entice people to actually come.

2 Maureen McCabe December 9, 2007 at 07:37 pm

There are plenty of reasons to go downtown here and there are more people living downtown now than there have been in years. We have some great restaurants downtown.

I wonder where the 45% who said they are shopping downtown are shopping in downtown Columbus… Short North? I thought the mall did away with the shopping downtown and the mall went belly up or at least Macy’s left City Center this fall. I walked through the mall in September.

I had really ignored talk of light rail until recently.

Thanks for the comment Erin.

3 buckblog December 9, 2007 at 08:29 pm

The closest I ever come to doing something downtown is the convention center for the auto show. Other than that I never go downtown. I drove through downtown a few weeks ago and was stunned at the decay and unattractiveness of it after not really having seen it firsthand for a couple years.

4 Walker Evans December 9, 2007 at 10:14 pm

I’ve lived in a downtown neighborhood for years and I’ve seen nothing but growth. Sure, there’s still some rough spots on the outskirts, but there’s decades to reverse. It’s not going to be reborn overnight, but the progress so far is great.

5 Maureen McCabe December 11, 2007 at 04:41 pm

Although I don’t live downtown I have always been one to go downtown for events, First Night, The Arts Festival, Red White & Boom, etc. I think there is a lot of progress downtown. Thanks for the comments Paul and Walker.

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