Writing: Public Hearing on Historic Registry

OSU CRP 783 City Planning: Municipal Functions

Public Hearing on Registering Old Beechwold District into The Columbus Register of Historic Places

The Columbus Register of Historic Places actively consolidates seventeen historic districts of Columbus, Ohio.  Clintonville, one of the districts, is full of vibrant city life intertwined with suburban life.  The area is comprised of three unofficial districts including Beechwold, the topic at hand.   Most of the city parks and residences have very diverse timelines of different types of infrastructures transformed over time.  Park of Roses was originated as a farm for raising horses; Olentangy Park Apartments was originally an amusement park ; a zoo was developed encompassing a large percentage of the district.

Old Beechwold neighborhood was placed in the National Register of Historic Places by the United States Department of Interior in 1987 as well as placed in the Columbus Zoological Society in 1902.  These facts indicate that the district has served its purpose of being recognized for its history and diverse range of zoning and uses in the past.   Once the Zoological Society purchased the land for livestock, economic constraints came to surface, and eventually the land was sold and turned into residential zoning.

These are a few examples showing the power and strength of the district having endured changes in zoning and development of its land.  This should be one of the main reasons why Old Beechwold should always have a place in the Columbus Register of Historical Places as well as in the National Register of Historical Places. 

Realistically, due to the economy, different criteria and different classes of residents, and other constraints, the Old Beechwold Association actively voices their opinions at local meetings. They recently spoke at a public hearing at the Columbus City Council on October 26, 2010.  One of the main issues was to vote for Old Beechwold district to be registered by the Columbus Register again.  Also, the Planning Division of the Department of Development for the City of Columbus was involved since boundary adjustments for the area is one of their projects they are actively overseeing.

Old Beechwold has had a history of disputes caused by an outside jurisdiction whether it was local or national.  For instance, roughly twenty years ago or to be exact, year 1985, when the area was ordained as a historic district of Columbus, the legal description was incorrect.  Of course, today’s laws and jurisdictions after twenty-something years may not be able to correctly register a district that was incorrectly registered years ago.

These committees, local, state or national as well as the Columbus City Council committees should realize that since Clintonville was not originated as a formal city with defined boundaries, this leads to years of ambivalence of what’s accurate and what’s not accurate within the subdivisions of Clintonville.  Some residents say that Old Beechwold is not an area of Clintonville while others oppose that statement.  All plans and future projects should always be fully considered enough to grasp all configurations of possibilities and circumstances that can take place once all are officiated.

This district has way too much significance to be taken lightly. The idea of historical preservation is not just to re-use its original structure and meaning. Preservation is not something that self-functions.  Whether the district was registered locally, by the state or nationally, its identity still needs to be maintained actively and consistently, not just as a display for aesthetics and profit.  All of the committees, zoning and other departments as well as the Architectural Review Commission are assumed to collaborate together consistently.  All this is to meet its requirements and job requirements, If not, registering a district into the Historic Register defeats its purpose and its value. 

Let’s save the true character and identity of Old Beechwold, in Clintonville of Columbus, Ohio.

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