Outreach and Engagement Awards
For the second consecutive year, an Ohio State nominee was chosen as the North Central Region Winner. All five regional winners gave presentations at the October 2008 Outreach Scholarship Conference.
Video presentation of the 2008 North Central Region Winner > (opens in new window)
Ohio State’s Comprehensive Approach to Urban Revitalization
Ohio State Partners: OSU Extension, Office of Human Resources, Campus Partners, Office of Information Technology, University Public Safety, College of Education and Human Ecology
Community Partners: City of Columbus, Columbus City Schools, Weinland Park Community Civic Association (WPCCA), Community Properties of Ohio, Community Crime Patrol, Wagenbrenner Development Company, JP MorganChase Foundation, Proctor & Gamble Foundation, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
Links: Campus Partners
The Ohio State University has employed a comprehensive approach to the revitalization of its urban neighborhoods. This approach involves community planning, neighborhood partnerships, and strategic projects that remove barriers to market-based revitalization. In the mid-1990s, the university established Campus Partners as a nonprofit redevelopment corporation to lead revitalization of the diverse urban neighborhoods known as the University District. Campus Partners led a public process to prepare a plan for the University District, which was adopted by Columbus City Council. From the planning came the recognition that the highly concentrated poverty, poorly managed subsidized housing, and crime in the Weinland Park neighborhood of the University District must be addressed if revitalization were to succeed. Beginning in 2001, Campus Partners convened government and university officials, neighborhood civic leaders, and housing advocates to prepare an innovative plan to acquire and renovate more than 500 units of government-subsidized housing. This housing, now known as Community Properties of Ohio, became a national model for scattered-site low-income housing, with more than $50,000 per unit being invested from private and public sources for renovation, plus improved management and supportive services for the families. Capturing control of the housing was key to dealing effectively with public safety and creating neighborhood stability. Since then, other strategic initiatives in Weinland Park have included the following:
- In 2005, Campus Partners opened South Campus Gateway, a $152-million mixed-use project with retail, entertainment, apartments, office space, and a major parking garage.
- Columbus City Schools opened the new Weinland Park Elementary School in January 2007.
- In August 2007, Ohio State’s College of Education and Human Ecology opened the innovative Schoenbaum Family Center, the nation’s first university-operated early childhood laboratory in a neighborhood. The center is co-located with the elementary school and draws half its children from the neighborhood.
- The city’s Department of Recreation and Parks is renovating an existing park to better serve the adjacent school, family center, and neighborhood residents.
- OSU Extension has placed its community computer center in the neighborhood’s settlement house to aid job training and GED preparation.
- The OSU Extension educator in the University District has led a university-community committee that has created a pathway for entry-level university employment for neighborhood residents.
- The university and city are jointly funding construction of a neighborhood policing center opening in mid-2008 with space for a Columbus Police precinct substation, offices for Community Crime Patrol, University Police and city code enforcement staff, and community meeting space.
- Campus Partners provided planning resources for a community-led process to prepare the Weinland Park Neighborhood Plan, adopted by City Council in 2006, to guide future private and public investment.
- Campus Partners negotiated acquisition of a 20-acre “brownfield” site, helped the city obtain a $3 million state grant for remediation, and is collaborating with the city and a private developer who plans to build 500 units of market-rate housing on the site.
These initiatives are spurring private investment, encouraging homeownership, and promoting the evolution of a true, mixed-income neighborhood.