Weinland Park Improvements and Gentrification
In the last ten years, the near east side Columbus neighborhood of Weinland Park has seen tens of millions dollars invested in its housing and infrastructure. But high unemployment and crime remain issues despite its proximity to the Ohio State University campus.
And the mostly non-profit developers behind the investments also tread a fine line between improvement and what longtime Weinland Park resident Joyce Hughes called the “G word.”
That’s G for Gentrification, that is, improvements that make the neighborhood unaffordable for its current residents.
Hughes, the immediate past president of the Weinland Park Community Civic Association, said that although there has been much work done on the neighborhood, various coalitions within the community have worked to keep the area affordable.
“What people don’t realize when it comes to the big “G” word, is that the first project that we worked on, after the formation of the Community Properties of Ohio, was the housing stock that was owned by an absentee landlord,” Hughes said. “CPO was formed, they purchased the property, they cleaned up and rehabilitated improved the property for the people that were going to live in the property, and they had safety and housing stock in mind, and it became Section 8 housing.”
Hughes said the investment in the area was about not only making money, but also about helping members of the community.
“I’m not going to say it’s not just about the money, I’m going to say that because of the investment, it only makes sense to make sure that a community can feel included with the Ohio State University, since we are part of the university district,” Hughes said.
Columbus Dispatch reporter Mark Ferenchik said that an open dialogue between members of the community and developer has kept their priorities on track.
“Initially, there certainly were fears of gentrification, as we have mentioned, but that hasn’t come to pass yet,” Ferenchik said. “There seems to be a pretty good dialogue among all the parties there, whether its campus partners, the university, community leaders or the leaders of the foundations.”
Is this simply a long-term land grab from Ohio State and various partners, or a genuine attempt to revitalize Weinland Park? Listen to the full hour of the show for more.
- Jean Pitman, Youth Programs Educator, Wexner Center for the Arts
- Joyce Hughes, past president of the Weinland Park Community Civic Association
- Mark Ferenchik, reporter for Columbus Dispatch
- Isabel Toth, President and CEO of Community Properties of Ohio