Geographical Community Research Paper

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Community Analysis: Columbus, Ohio - Hilltop Area/Franklinton

Identification and History

The Franklinton/Hilltop area of Columbus, Ohio is located on the west side of the greater metropolitan area. Franklinton is in a river valley next to the Scioto River and the Hilltop area is just west of that on a rise. The Hilltop area is defined as the area between I-70 on the north, the B & O. railway to the east and south, and the I-270 outerbelt to the south and west (Greater Hilltop Area Commission, 2011). Its main street is West Broadstreet, otherwise known as U.S. route 40. There are welcome signs to the area near Mound Street and Hague Avenue. Franklinton is bordered by the Scioto River on the north and east, Hague Avenue on the east, Stimmel Road and Greenlawn Avenue on the South, and I-70 on the West. The main street in this area is also West Broadstreet. Although the areas are technically separated, there are still considered to be a single community by many locals because they share this same main street and are culturally similar. Both communities share resources and the residents do not consider themselves to be separate.

The history of Franklinton began in 1797 and was played out by Lucas Sullivant, a Virginia land surveyor. Franklinton 10 is the oldest community in Central Ohio (Franklinton Development Association, 2011). Franklinton began as a farming community, taking advantage of the rich fertile bottom lands of the river. It was originally separate from Columbus, but eventually became surrounded and enveloped by the city. It is located on a flood plain that is now protected from the Scioto River by a flood wall (Franklinton Development Association, 2011). Frequent floods in the area made it a poor choice for business development and it remains an impoverished and depressed area of the city.

Hilltop was originally known as Sullivant's Hill, and was slowly sold off in sections by the original Sullivant family. Lucas Sullivant was given the land for his service to the Federal government at the end of the 18th century (Greater Hilltop Area Commission, 2011). Franklinton and Hilltop were originally interconnected and it is their geography that allows them to remain culturally and socially interconnected today. Sullivant Avenue is a major secondary street in Hilltop.

The population of Franklinton is 11,529, with approximately 3,517 people per square mile (, 2011a). The Greater Hilltop Area is slightly larger than Franklinton, with a total population the 58,628 and a population density of 3605 people per square mile (, 2011b). These compare to Columbus that has a population density of 3,384 people per square mile (, 2011b). Franklinton and Hilltop share a common history of low income, impoverished citizens. Floods are the geography of the area has discouraged major corporate development in the area since their early beginnings.

Both areas are highly ethnic with a diverse number of ethnic backgrounds. The close proximity of these neighborhoods to major highways and the bus system with easy access to downtown allows seduces to work outside of the community. Major businesses are few in these neighborhoods and most opportunities for employment are outside the community. Both of these communities have been slated for redevelopment and are currently in the process of changes. For the purposes of this study the areas of Franklinton and Greater Hilltop will be referred to as "Franklinton/Hilltop."

Section II: Community Characteristics

Stanhope & Knollmueller (2001), outlined a technique for characterizing the health needs of the community. They divide the assessment into an assessment of the community which includes the place, the people, and the function of the community. The community health assessment includes the status of the health of the community, the structure that is available and the processes in place within the community to keep its citizens healthy.

Windshield Survey

The windshield survey of the Franklinton/Hilltop area begins with a trip down the main street through both areas. Driving down West Broadstreet tells the tale of an area that has been depressed for quite some time. Buildings in the Franklinton area are largely one story storefronts circa 1900. The Hilltop area has few businesses on Broadstreet and is mainly residential. The businesses along Franklinton's main street are in a significant state of dilapidation, with many of them boarded up in graffiti in plain sight. It was noted that older black men were seen standing on the street smoking or sitting by building reading newspapers. Franklinton is literally in the shadow of downtown Columbus.

If continuing down Broadstreet to the Hilltop area is a gradual progression into a more residential area. Hilltop appears to be built largely between the 1950s and 1960s, with numerous double housing units available. Many of them are small, one story or two story. It appears to be a family neighborhood with lots of kids riding bikes along the streets. It appears to be a mixed community with a high percentage of African-American. It appears to be a working class neighborhood. Driving down side streets tells the story of a mixed neighborhood. One house will be very nice and well kept, while the one right beside it will be in a state of disrepair with trash in the yard. In the Franklinton area, the side streets revealed a largely depressed community in a continued state of dilapidation. Housing units consisted of single family, doubles, and small six to a unit apartment buildings. Teens were hanging out on street corners smoking.

There did not appear to be significant community resources in the area of either Franklinton or the Hilltop. Both of these areas were within a short distance from main bus routes and residents have access to every part of the city from there. The most significant structure in the area was Mount Carmel Hospital and it's huge, sprawling campus. It is easily accessible from all areas of the communities by walking, taxi, or the bus system. This facility appears to be the leader in providing health care services to these communities.

Aside from Mount Carmel Health, there do not appear to be a significant number of private doctor or dentist offices in the area. Most services seem to operate in and around the big medical campus. It was noted that several free food pantries and service is relocated within the community with conspicuous advertising.

Both areas appear to have many needs in terms of providing access to community health. In terms of general appearances, Mount Carmel Health appears to be located in an area that has been renovated, but not too far away the remainder the community appears to be in a state of dilapidation. The community appears to have numerous resources available, but they also appear to have a great need for them. It does not appear that all of the citizens have access to the services that they need and there were many homeless in the area, more so in the Franklinton area, than in the Hilltop area.

If the community's greatest weakness appears to be that there needs if for services exceed their ability to provide them. They do not appear to be save sufficient employment in the area in many businesses have apparently been closed for many years. If it appears to be an area where there is no opportunity in the immediate area. The standard of living in the Hilltop area leads one to believe that the residents must be traveling elsewhere to work and then coming back to their homes. There are few places to work in the immediate area, yet the standard of living is better than that of the Franklinton area. The greatest weakness of these communities is a lack of resources available to meet the needs of the citizens.

The area does have several key strengths, but they are not apparent by conduct of the windshield survey. The first is that it has a major health facility located within easy access of the entire area. Although these two areas where the last to be funded in the Columbus area for community development projects, they have been slated for renovation and a facelift to lift them up.

Until recently, the frequency of flooding in the Franklinton area prevented it from being a target for revitalization. Many restrictions were in place due to flooding in the area. Now that the flood wall has been completed, the plan is in place to renovate and restore community pride and to attract businesses to the area (City of Columbus, 2003). The current plan includes an expansion of manufacturing and single family residential homes. This is an attempt to bring business and jobs to the area. This plan also includes a planned to construct a bike trail along the old abandoned railway and to provide more recreational opportunities and activities in the area (City of Columbus, 2003). The Greater Hilltop plan includes a major facelift in the parents of the area, particularly in the residential areas (City of Columbus, 2010). The current development plans and funding are the greatest assets in…[continue]

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