Challenges of Franklinton: Columbus’ Historic Urban Neighborhood



The neighborhood of Franklinton is like a staple in the history of our capital city of Columbus. It seemed to be situated for many years on the wrong side of the river, but the flood wall in 2004 brought hope of both new commerce and stable home ownership to the area. Some parts have succeeded over time, but obstacles still remain. On this hour of “All Sides,” we’re talking about Franklinton during a special broadcast in front of a live studio audience at WOSU@COSI downtown. For more information, visit our Facebook event here.


  • Kevin Ballard (Vice President, Gladden Community House and Editor, Franklinton News)
  • Rebecca Hunley (community activist and Safety Task Force Chair, Franklinton Area Commission)
  • Jim Sweeney (Executive Director, Franklinton Development Association)
  • Patrick Kaufman (Co-Director, Franklinton Gardens)

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Join The Conversation

  • Keith Morris

    One of Franklinton’s biggest challenges is that this funding is years overdue. In the context of the gentrification of the Short North, those who aren’t digging the growing yuppie element (think doggie bakeries and bars with a focus on drinks that cost over $10) they don’t really have a 90s Short North equivalent: a bustling area to move into that has a few rough spots. Old North Columbus would be it, but it’s already occupied and Olde Towne East and Merion Village don’t offer a significant business district. All that’s left are several neighborhoods that are nothing but rough spots (suffice it to say there are over a dozen) It was obvious, especially in 2004, that the Short North was pretty much done and yet the city didn’t see fit to seriously fund anything in other neighborhoods outside of already well-established neighborhoods: in a well-balanced manner, that is.

    Columbus has it all wrong when it comes to urban revitalization having
    to revolve around housing stock, hence why after two decades no
    neighborhood has seen improvements on par with the Short North back in
    the 90s where you can bet those Victorian and Italianate homes would still be sitting empty if High St was not addressed. Case in point, from Parsons to Lockbourne the Southern Orchard neighborhood has plenty of blocks with brick homes vs. wood-frame houses yet no one is talking about Southern Orchards, if they even know where it is. Nor has anyone opened a single destination on Livingston or Whittier in the neighborhood to draw any visitors so that they would be rather impressed by what housing stock is available.

    Franklinton proves in a very significant way that destinations are far and away more important than housing stock any day. Visitors from outside of the neighborhood fill Tommy’s Diner and the Florentine: Franklinton’s/The Bottom’s, rep has done *zero* to stop people from visiting these establishments in large numbers. Add more destinations and you’ll see this same phenoma double, then triple the number of places packing in lots of customers. The blank canvas aspect of the eastern 1/3 of Franklinton is another plus and thankfully there is a commercial contingent with the plans for new mixed-use development in this area which will likewise draw visitors to the area.

    Another challenge which isn’t being addressed is W Broad: there is no focus to add onto the already small but bustling restaurant corridor in the middle of the neighborhood to say nothing of the dense commercial blocks west of here past the railroad tracks which if filled would offer a density of destination spots comparable to the Short North, but on a smaller scale and with a Franklinton flair. The annual events like Urban Scrawl and Go West! demonstrate that people will come to Franklinton/The Bottoms for good food and drinks, but only where they are given the option. Right now, you don’t have that option in the several empty buildings lining W Broad.

  • Kkeld2002

    Franklinton COULD be the ONE neighborhood contiguous to downtown that breaks the mold. The one Columbus neighborhood that realizes their history is NOT tied to preserving old, thrice flooded homes.  The one neighborhood that ALLOWS modern homes, Green homes, Artistic homes that do NOT look all the same.    I suspect however that when Columbus celebrates another birthday in 50 years – the housing stock in all of the city will be clinging to the past instead of learning and improving the standards and styles for the future.