A New Foundation, East Barthman Avenue, Columbus Ohio
My early November excursion into the Urban Curse neighborhood presented me with quite a bit of activity and change. The large open commercial block along Parsons Avenue, where many vacant buildings and houses once stood (#UrbanCurseRedevelopment : Fall 2011), has begun to be prepared for construction of the new John Maloney Health and Wellness Center as well as affordable apartments intended for the areas senior citizens I also spotted fresh empty lots throughout the community indicating that many of the long vacant houses have finally been met demolition crews in recent months. It is always interesting to see these houses gone, some of which I have featured repeatedly on Urban Curse. Sometimes the houses and buildings seem so eerie and prominent when standing, but once vanished it’s hard to imagine them existing at all.
South Side Settlement House Building on Election Day, East Innis Avenue, Columbus, Ohio
When I lived on the south side of Columbus, my precinct voting station was inside the South Side Settlement House building. The unique structure was always a little tricky to enter because often times only one door was maid accessible to the public. It’s curved hallways simulated the experience of venturing into a labyrinth made of solid block and cement that (if the right path is chosen) eventually led to a small gymnasium where eager Election Day volunteers awaited. Lines were often long because there were usually only 4 or 5 booths available for the community’s entire voting population.
I remember I always voted in the morning, dressed and ready to go to work once I fulfilled my right. Many of the people around me just got off the third shift at one of the few remaining industrial hubs nearby, setting out to clean someone’s house, or unfortunately not working at all. Many of the volunteers were long time residents long retired and still proud of their neighborhood and country despite the economic shambles around them. There was always a smell of chicken broth or bread that lingered from the kitchen as lunch was being prepared to feed the people who depended on the historical outreach facility for nourishment.
Election Day always felt real to me when I voted at the South Side Settlement House. It had a pace, an interaction, and a diversity that I haven’t found since I moved out of the area.
The South Side Settlement house closed for good within the last few years due to it’s insurmountable economic struggles. The building will be demolished and it’s community outreach programs have been assumed by other community organizations.
Sounds and Senses, South Washington Avenue, #Columbus #Ohio
The street is empty and desolate. The day is beautiful, moderate, dry, and crisp. A disobedient dog barks in the distance, a phantom screen door weeps open and slams shut, an invisible bird or small animal scuffles inside reclaimed brush growing unmanaged in a vacant lot. There is a faint smell that reminds me of the wild countryside, but the sounds of diesel engines and hip hop beats along Parsons Avenue assures me that I am in the midst of urban withdrawal.
Very few residents currently live on this particular block in south Columbus. Although the day is beautiful, moderate, dry, and crisp, the few residents who remain are reserved only to peak from their windows. Despite the promises of revitalization, signs of hope seem imminent yet stalled.
Repurposed to the Community, East Reeb Avenue, #Columbus #Ohio
APPS : #CameraPlus
#backstory : This may seem like a standard, straight on photo. But to me, on the day I captured what was a retired institutional symbol of education to the struggling community, the school seemed strong and hopeful. The sun was out, the clouds were light, the environment spoke promise as tentative plans to move forward and repurpose the building back to the community seemed more real.
Left for Dead, East Innis Avenue, #Columbus #Ohio
APPS : #CameraPlus #PhotoForge2 #Snapseed (Taken with Instagram)
South Parsons View to the City, South Parsons Avenue, #columbus #ohio
This is a crisp morning view one would get entering the city of Columbus from the south on Parsons Avenue. Looking north from an overpass that spans east to west bound rails, the city’s skyline becomes slightly apparent just beyond the Urban Curse neighborhood that I document. This is where the real early 20th century urban neighborhoods begin, developed primarily for employees of a historic steel mill that runs along it’s southern perimeter.