So there are quite are few ideas out there floating around about the bigger picture of Weinland Park and how to fix them. The hope is to replicate the experiment elsewhere, if it works.  And while it’s true Weinland Park does have “challenges” that need to be worked out sometimes it’s a little overwhelming to try and keep up with what the rest of the world has planned for your neighborhood. The interesting part is that there are quite a few disparate visions now all jockeying for dominance.

It’s a pleasant exercise in fantasy urban planning to imagine winning the lottery and curing the “challenges” in Upper Arlington, Bexley, or Worthington. Just showing up one day and telling everyone to relax I’ve got it under control and it’s not going to cost you a dime.

Well, until that magical day lets review some of the most recent ideas.

University of Cincinnati & Ohio State

The DAAP’ers at University of Cincinnati* and the Knowlton School at Ohio State have made quite a nice little book about their plans:

http://issuu.com/jrleonard.04/docs/revisioningwp

Farmers markets, bicycle highways and an artist colony. Not to mention p. 105 indicates that Urkel from Family Matters has moved to Weinland Park. Whether Urkel is a sign of gentrification or revitalization is going to be a lingering matter of debate for years to come.

The Real Estate Market – Is it time to move to Weinland Park?

http://deliciousrealestate.com/2011/02/04/is-it-time-to-consider-buying-a-home-in-weinland-park/

Historically, perhaps arguably, the market has been the biggest urban planner of all. While a lot of the premier sales described appear to to be “south of the park” Weinland Park is in a real live real estate blog/site. And someone is mentioning buying a house here. And you would even be a settler which apparently is the stage after pioneer.

There is a nice mention of the all the places that make liquor in the neighborhood. Unfortunately, this neighborhood high point often goes unmentioned in the social service literature along with the fact that you can spend $10 on a single drink at a bar with a French name. It’s starting to set up an interesting dichotomy. Weinland Park as train wreck or opportunity?

Agrarian Overlay – MORPC

http://twitter.com/morpc/status/28721218176

Since vodka and $10 drinks don’t count as healthy choices  and Tweeter’s Chicken Crib has been ruled largely inedible we’re still holding down the food desert. It’s always interesting to ask people what they think about making Weinland Park into a little Portland, Oregon with fewer white people.** Try it.

Weinland Park Collaborative – Campus Partners, City of Columbus, J.P. Morgan Chase Foundation, Columbus Foundation, et al.

In their own words:

weinland-park-collaborative-brochure

Nicely summarized here on the WPCCA page the eponymous collaborative is focused on revitalizing the neighborhood and is against gentrification.

http://www.weinlandparkcivic.org/WPCCA/Collaborative/Collaborative.html

The collaborative is using federal Neighborhood Stabilization Program II money to rehab around 30 houses and 10 new builds. 40 Low Income Tax Credit houses are also being built in the spring on Sixth Street. The Collaborative also had a job training program for about 25 residents. And it has a number of other programs, see the web page.

While no one really agrees what gentrification is the consensus is that it’s probably very bad. Revitalization means that anyone who wants to stay in the neighborhood should be able to and not be forced out by the skyrocketing real estate market in Weinland Park. Reality, however, indicates that the national housing market is still sliding and only 26 percent of current residents want to stay in the neighborhood. And there is an 18 percent vacancy rate for structures in the neighborhood. Interestingly, the second most popular response to the Weinland Park survey the question “biggest things wrong with the  neighborhood” was “people” beating out guns and only being eclipsed by alcohol and drugs. So it kind of depends who’s being displaced and where the people against displacement live. However, the only thing that throws a suburbanite into a bigger tizzy than the words gentrification or displacement is mentioning that Worthington or Upper Arlington would be a great place for more affordable housing. It’s no coincidence that there isn’t a word for people getting displaced to a better neighborhood.


*University of Cincinnati receives top billing since your local blogger is a proud Bearcat.

** I support this idea.

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