Thursday, November 30, 2006

"A menace, a war zone and the worst blight (Mayor Coleman) has seen anywhere"

The complex is called Woodland Meadows. It is almost mandatory to mention that during one of it's earlier incarnations the Columbus Police nicknamed it 'Uzi Alley.'

I've intended to make a series of posts on Woodland Meadows my first big post-election blogging project. I still might, but recent events have caused the Dispatch to start covering the story again.

The basic outline is this: Woodland Meadows is the most recent name of an apartment complex that was primarily providing subsidized low-income housing. It has never been a chic address, and it has changed hands numerous times. The most recent owner is Jorge Newbery, who paid more than double what local real estate pros thought it was worth.

After the ice storm in 2004, many apartments were damaged directly, and others became unlivable due to secondary problems caused by situations as prolonged loss of heat and burst pipes. These problems were publicized, they were not fixed, and the apartments were de-certified for housing subsidies. The complex could not operate without subsidy revenues, and very quickly was shut down.

For me, I was aware of that part of the story, but never having seen the complex in person, I didn't get it. To me, 'apartment complex' means 5, 10, 20, maybe 30 buildings. Woodland Meadows has 122 buildings. They all look pretty similar about now, and this photo from the Dispatch should give you an idea:

But when you see pictures like this, you don't understand the scope, why Michael Coleman uses the language I've quoted in the title, calls it Public Enemy #1. It covers approximately 256 50-70 acres. That's about the size of Summit County's Firestone Metropark. You really need video, and I'll try and get some soon, but for now...

Compare the size of Woodland Meadows (in the upper right, shaded red) to the Campus of Capital University (lower left, shaded blue).

Or try to take the Dispatch Picture, which shows you three buildings, and multiply it by 40:

So that's your introduction to Woodland Meadows. It is a bad situation for Columbus. It is bad for Bexley. It is bad for the people who need subsidized housing. It is bad for the property owners in the area. More to come.


Jorge Newbery said...

Dear Mayor Coleman from Woodland Meadows' Owner at

Anonymous said...

Having grown up in Bexley, as did my parents, whether its called Greenbrier East or Woodland Meadows, there has always been high crime and related problems near this complex for decades.

After seeing your photos, clearly the only solution involves wrecking balls and bulldozers.