Fight Continues Over Future Of Historic Eastside Landmark


UPDATED: Friday March 15, 2013 11:45 AM

A historically significant but now empty landmark is facing demolition on the eastside of Columbus.

Residents are asking Mayor Michael Coleman to step in and save Poindexter Village.

Poindexter Village is a vacant, boarded up complex of buildings of 27 acres, with 35 buildings, on Columbus's near-east side.

It’s slated for the wrecking ball, but a small, committed group is trying to stop the plan.

“For many years, Poindexter Village represented the heart and soul of black Columbus,” said Reita Smith of The Council of Elders.

On Thursday night, the Council of Elders, a group of African-American leaders, shared a letter urging Coleman to intervene.

“Once these properties are demolished, they are gone, and the physical record of an important period in Columbus history is erased,” said Smith.

In attempt to lessen the historical blow, the Columbus Metropolitan Housing Authority set aside 10 buildings to consider saving.

Along with the concern over the loss of history, they worry about the future of the land.

On Thursday, the Near East Area Commission considered a plan to approve demolition of two blocks to make way for a proposed senior living facility.

“This is our history! And I don't understand it -- so how can I sit down and say, ‘OK, yes, just tear it down for more development?’” said Willis Brown of the Bronzeville Neighborhood Association.

The commission denied the housing authority its demolition request.

Residents say they're happy with the vote, but know their fight doesn't end there.

“Our concerns are being ignored. Our concerns are being disrespected. The vote tonight was encouraging, however, it continues,” said Pam Betsill of Bronzeville Neighborhood Association.

CMHA said they are proceeding with plans to secure demolition permits for 25 Poindexter Village buildings.

The vote is not binding, and CMHA says the only approval it needs is from the Columbus Building Department.

Coleman’s office has not commented on whether the mayor will intervene in the issue.

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Previous Stories:
April 19, 2013 - Columbus Poindexter Village Future
June 8, 2010 - Poindexter Village Housing Project Could Be Torn Down

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