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Neglect forcing residents out
I read the front page article, “Hilltop residents come together” from the Feb. 11 edition of the Westside Messenger, with some sadness. I remember attending a similar meeting twenty-five years ago after a negative article in a Central Ohio magazine about the Hilltop fading in the west stirred us all up.
We all were determined to do what we could to turn the Hilltop around. I became active in the Hilltop Business Association, the Hilltop Kiwanis and the Hilltop Area Commission then.
Unfortunately we received little more than some trees and trash receptacles on Broad Street from the powers downtown, when what we really needed were more police officers. This still appears to be the greatest need on the Hilltop. People are not likely to go shopping on West Broad Street and Sullivant Avenue while prostitutes work the streets at all hours and gangs come out at night.
After having either a home or an office on the Hilltop my entire life I finally have no presence there. I moved my office to Dublin Road on Jan. 1. Nearly everything around my office was either closing or deteriorating. People were sleeping in the bushes. As a West High School graduate and a third generation HBA member, it was not a choice I enjoyed making.
In my opinion, the Hilltop has been neglected for the past twenty-five years by most of the political leaders responsible for its preservation. I hope that people will remember which political leaders they see coming to the Hilltop on a regular basis when it is time to vote.
Fred L. Berkemer,
A challenge to change
This is in reply to Rick Miller’s Feb. 11 letter. Yes, we do have too much crime on the Westside (CPD – are you getting this?). And it is going to continue until the city, and residents take back our neighborhoods. I am deeply concerned about the number of vacant and boarded up houses in my neighborhood. But I have no qualms about reporting suspicious activity around those houses.
The decline of the Westside is not the fault of longtime, hardworking, taxpaying residents, it is the fault of the influx of the criminals who come in to take advantage of the lack of police presence and neighbors who do not want to get involved.
In order to rejuvenate this area we need shopping centers that are viable, not more flea markets. I have always patronized the stores on the Westside. The Kmart, Meijer and Westland mall. I do not like to drive to other parts of town to shop.
I challenge the Columbus Division of Police, Mayor Coleman, and the residents to help us to get our neighborhood back. Whatever it takes.
Rebecca K Jones,