Letters to the editor
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Residents should take some blame
I would like to address the news in your paper concerning the rapid decline of the Westside.
In my opinion, the decline of the Westside can be placed on some of its residents who have failed to embrace the changing demographics of the area. They have failed to patronize the businesses that were here, and those that have come into the area hence, some of those businesses have left.
How many of your readers truly supported the stores that closed? Who did their shopping at the Hilltop Marketplace, Meijers, K-Mart, or Pep Boys? Who now shops at the markets on Sullivant Avenue? Who ate at Spain, Rax, Tumbleweed, Ground Round or Red Lobster?
The talk is about new restaurants and bars, but who supported those that we had? Who are the people who complain about Westland Mall closing and then go running off to Tuttle, Easton and Polaris to do their shopping? The apathy of the residents speaks loudly until there is a “crisis.”
The Westside has an extremely rich history with Camp Chase, the Confederate Cemetery, Burnside Heights and many more. Where are our state and local “politicos” when it comes to making the Westside known to this city? We can become a Victorian Village, an Italian Village, a German Village or more with an investment of our hard earned tax dollars.
Yes, the residents of the Westside share some of the blame, but we also don’t need a lot of the blah blah blah and meetings from our elected officials; we need action now, as they promised. The Westside will rise again when we put more pressure on our elected officials!
Ron J. Koziol,
Closings have negative effect on community
Every time I drive the twenty-five minute ride out to Tuttle Crossing Mall for a Saturday morning shopping trip, I am reminded of how much I took for granted the convenience of shopping at the now semi-abandoned Westland Mall. I have lived and grown up on the Westside of Columbus all my life. I love the Westside and am saddened to see such a decline in the community.
Although the recent announcement of the closings of the Meijer at its Georgesville location and the Hilltop Marketplace on West Broad Street has sparked this topic of interest, in the past several years, the string of store and business closings has hit the Westside community hard.
Although the closings of these businesses are a result of corporate decisions, its immediate effects are on the surrounding community. Vacant buildings result in property values decreasing. So when one business closes, we are not surprised to hear of other places moving soon after. In addition, crime rates increase, people are out of jobs, and families begin to move. What is left is what people now refer to as a “ghost town” when they are discussing the Westside community.
With many stores and businesses “relocating” to the outskirts of Columbus to provide “better resources” to their customers, where are residents in the city going to go? Many elderly people live in the Westside community, and they are now being forced from the neighborhoods where they used to shop, get their medications, or even walk around the mall in the winter months.
I appreciate Representative Dan Stewart’s statements in the Jan. 28 edition of the Westside Messenger addressing his interest in trying to revitalize the Westside community. However, I think it is important for us as a community to unite if we really want to see a change in the neighborhood where we live.
There are several meetings being held in the area for concerned residents and business leaders. I encourage all to attend, or at least to stay in tune for the results of these meetings.
We are the customers and if we utilize our businesses and take care of them, they will stay. I would rather spend my money here on the Westside than shop in the surrounding areas. It would be wonderful to see the Westside flourishing again. I am optimistic that small changes will occur if we all begin to take an interest in our community. If not, we can expect to seen be hearing the announcments of more store closings.
Rocking chair thief on the loose
I’ve always been proud to live on the Westside of Columbus, enjoyed the laid-back quality and the people. So, I hope that the person(s) who crept up and stole the two high-back dark red rocking chairs off my front porch on Briggs Road are certainly enjoying them!
We just got those chairs and were so looking forward to sitting on the porch in the upcoming warmer weather, relaxing and enjoying life and saying “Hi,” to the people who walk by. I cannot imagine someone having the gall to come up on our porch and taking off with something, let alone two very large rockers. They must’ve needed them so much more than we did.
So, if anyone in your neighborhood comes up with two new high-back dark red rockers, please be sure to congratulate them on their acquisition and hope they enjoy them. It’s a sad situation when someone may be forced to chain down the chairs on their porch!
Spare me the fairy tale
I read, with no small amount of amusement and amazement, Dawn Griffith’s Jan. 21 letter to the editor in the Westside Messenger, in which she bemoans the closure of the Georgesville Road Meijer store and other area businesses. I have to wonder - does this woman and others of like mind have eyes to see and sense to comprehend what the Westside is all about? Well, I certainly do.
Seeking to take advantage of home prices a fraction of those in my native, Hilliard, I bought a house here on the Westside. Needless to say, doing so has ranked among the biggest mistakes of my life. Since moving here in early 2006, I’ve had my vehicle broken into twice and my home burglarized. My neighbor was shot in his front yard (falling into my driveway), the man across the street was a victim of a home burglary, and a woman residing two houses away tells me of being threatened in her living room by several gun-wielding good citizens how somehow mistook her home for a drug house. One certainly gets the point here, eh?
Simply put, nobody in his or her right mind, or able to afford housing somewhere better, would willingly live in an area such as the barbaric and lawless Westside.
The same, no doubt, holds true for businesses. As a Meijer employee, I can tell readers for a fact that the Georgesville Road store is being closed for a multitude of reasons, mostly because it is not profitable. What isn’t a stated reason, although I suspect it, is the local criminal elements and the fact that clientel must risk life and limb to navigate the dangerous parking lot. Again, can one blame residents and businesses seeking to flee the Westside?
Much is said about the ressurection of this area, but I don’t know what that magic bullet (or bullets) might be. A forced relocation of much of the population, perhaps? I don’t see it being found a successfully implemented in the forseeable future. The answer, at least for me, is to emulate smarter minds than mine, cut my losses, and move to a safer environment.
Some lessons are learned hard, and one of them that the Westside is a cheap place to live for a reason. The moment I can manage to sell my house for a dollar figure even remotely close to what I still owe on the mortgage, I’m outta here.
And please spare the fairy tale about lifetime Westsiders who think this is a wonderful end of Columbus in which to live. Tell that to the residents and businesses with the money and brains to seek greener and less dangerous pastures.