Columbus Neighborhoods Documentary Profiles University District
WOSU-TV has produced the fourth installment in the Columbus Neighborhoods series.Â This episode showcases the University District.Â As WOSUâs Sam Hendren reports, the documentary traces the history of Ohio State and the neighborhoods nearby.Â Itâs a relationship thatâs not always run smoothly. On a hilly street just east of the Ohio State campus a young man on a motorcycle breaks the tranquil setting.Â The sound is part of the fabric of the University District.Â It annoys some of the older residents like this woman who would not give her name for fear of retaliation.Â The woman says the students living around her have caused many of her neighbors to move away.Â She says students have a negative effect on the areaâs quality of life. âItâs not good.Â Itâs not good because students take precedence over everything else,â? the woman says. âItâs noisy, vulgar, and I donât want to leave my house but I donât know what Iâm going to do.â? Greg Staab, a student at Ohio State, says itâs unfortunate that the people whoâve lived in the district for so long are moving away.Â But he says most students in the neighborhood should not be blamedâ¦ âDuring the weekends it gets a little wild during game days but I think for the most part, most of the students are pretty good citizens,â? Staab says. âItâs one of the strengths of the University area and its one of the challenges that we face. We are dealing with a large population of young adults,â? says Steve Sterrett, the former head of the organization Campus Partners. âThey are at an age where risk-taking behavior is the norm.Â And so those are going to be challenges that are always going to be with the University District.Â Thereâs always going to be those tensions,â? Sterrett says. That was not the case in the early days of Ohio State partly because, as the documentary explains, there was very little neighborhood around the university to disturbâ¦ As Ohio State matures, it becomes more than a place to study agriculture and engineering. Â It brings arts and culture to the community.Â "And Ohio State really becomes this diamond that the neighborhood begins to gather around," says Stu Koblentz, who's lived in the district for 18 years. That was in the 1870s and â80s when the student population was still small.Â What happens at the turn of the century foreshadowed whatâs happening today: the university begins to reach out to its neighbors. The 1900s usher in a golden age for the University District.Â Innovative leaders and residents collaborated on improvements on education, government, the arts and other disciplines.Â Thatâs what a University is for. It was the one that attracted the best intellects of the time.Â What attracted a tremendous flood of students to Ohio State was the end of the Second World War.Â In 1945, Ohio State had 13,000 students.Â In 1946, the student population would almost double. âIt filled the classrooms at Ohio State, but it also added significant people to the University District,â? Sterrett says. âMany of those GIs had postponed marriage and families and so they came back to school but they also had with them wives and sometimes children. And so that rapid increase in enrollment at Ohio State had a profound effect on the adjacent neighborhood.â? Sterrett says homeownership in the University District had always been low but in the 1950s and â60s, he says people were moving away from the area to the suburbs. The exodus from the University district only increased with student unrest in the late 1960s. In response to the chaos, Columbus Mayor Sensenbrenner imposed a curfew on the University District.Â Anyone on the streets was subject to arrest.Â The campus was a cordoned off area.Â It was under a military situation.Â There were checkpoints at every alley and every street.Â Since that time, developers have torn down houses and put up apartment buildings and off-campus living in the University District has flourished.Â As the former head of Campus Partners, Steve Sterrett had years to observe the changes. âItâs the neighborhood in the state of Ohio that has had the most Ohioans live in it,â? Sterrett says. âThere are thousands of young people who come from around the state of Ohio and for a part of their life; they live in the University District. And for many of them, itâs one of the most exciting, memorable periods of their life.â? Columbus Neighborhoods: The University District airs tonight at 8 on WOSU-TV.