Thursday, January 31, 2008


The Dispatch reported today that OSU is considering requiring sophomore students begin living on campus in the coming years. As of right now this is all talk. No buildings have been proposed and no financing lined up- so we are told. Currently there are 6,000 sophomores enrolled at OSU, 2,900 of which live on campus. What surprised me about the article is that there is no discussion of the potential effect this may have on the Columbus housing and apartment rental market especially in the University District. Another threat would be to local merchants who serve the student population. It is true that many second year students live at home and most do not live alone but this decision can have some pretty bad effects. I am definitely interested to see what comes out of the Trustee meeting and if any realty managers or landlords come out in opposition to this plan.

OSU may require sophomores to live on campus
Thursday, January 31, 2008 12:20 PM
By Kathy Lynn Gray
Ohio State University sophomores, about 6,000 strong, would have to live on campus under a proposal the trustees are considering today.

President Gordon Gee is pushing for the change, fueled by studies that show on-campus students graduate quicker, have higher grades and are happier at school, Provost Joseph Alutto said this morning.

“This is all being driven by a concern for academic priorities,” Alutto said. “We have all the resources on campus for students to excel. They take full advantage of those things when they live on campus.”

OSU now requires freshmen to live on campus, although those whose families are in the area can live at home.

OSU houses 9,800 students on campus now. About 5,600 are freshmen and about 2,900 are students living in campus housing for a second year, said Rich Hollingsworth, vice president for student affairs.

Requiring sophomores to live on campus would mean adding enough housing for at least 3,500 students, Hollingsworth said.

How that would be done hasn't been decided, Alutto said. He and other OSU officials will discuss possibilities at a trustee committee meeting today.

Alutto couldn't say how quickly the housing could be added or what it would cost but said “we want to get it done as quickly as possible.”

Gee also wants to speed up $196.9 million in planned renovations to current dormitories, which include adding air conditioning and more private bathrooms as well as eliminating rooms housing more than two students. Those improvements would be completed by the fall of 2012. Under the prior plan, they wouldn't have been completed until 2014 or 2015.

Vanderbilt University in Nashville, where Gee was president before returning to OSU in the fall, required all students to live on campus.

Many Ohio public universities require sophomores to live on campus, Alutto said. At Miami University in Oxford, the requirement goes into effect this fall.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


A small little blurb showed up in the Dispatch this morning about Whole Foods phasing out plastic bags at all of its 220+ stores by Earth Day on April 22, 2008. There is only one WF in Columbus (Dublin-Granville) so while the impact in the region may not be dramatic it is a start. WF is a trend setter and hopefully other supermarket chains will voluntarily phase out plastic bags to keep pace with this juggernaut of a grocery store. However, since plastic bags are typically 3 cents cheaper than paper and the grocery market produces very thin profit margins it is doubtful that they will find goodwill in their hearts on their own. Some states including California have begun to require stores recycle plastic bags and San Francisco has gone one stEp further by banning plastic bags with some exceptions. My home town, San Luis Obispo, CA is also considering a city-wide ban.

Mayor Coleman continually talks up his Get Green initiative but I have seen no mention of a similar program. Once again Columbus is a follower instead of a leader. Maybe his campaign should just be renamed Get Green When Convenient.

Sunday, January 20, 2008


A friend of mine stumbled upon this MORPC program advertised on campus and thought I should pass this along. I think a lot of people do avoid participating in carpooling programs or riding public transportation because they do not want to be stranded if their situation changes. The MORPC program aleviates the stress and financial burdenn associated with these unforseen circumstances eliminating one more excuse for not to carpool or ride the bus.

Guaranteed Ride Home Program (GRH)

RideSolutions' GRH Program takes the worry out of being stranded at work in the case of an emergency or unexpected overtime for commuters who rideshare. This MORPC program is free to anyone who carpools, vanpools or rides public transportation and is registered with our program prior to an emergency. Registration with the GRH Program is free, and entitles commuters to a 90-percent cab fare reimbursement. GRH can be used up to four times a calendar year.

For more information, visit:

Thursday, January 17, 2008


Between the Sunset Lounge and the St. James on N. Fourth Avenue was a suprisingly fun gay bar called Eagle in Exile. Yes, the name is a little scary. Yes, you had to enter on the side. Yes, you had to park on neighboring gravel lot. Yes, the front windows were boarded up. Yes, a manequin in black leather was always in the window on the second floor.

So, not it was not a charming, quaint locale but the two times I went there the drinks were cheap, people were friendly and the sound system rockin'.

Any way, I drove past it this past week and they are actually renovating the 1940's structure and adding what appears to be a side patio. The windows are tinted but no longer covered and it looks like people will once again be invited through the front door. The Franklin County Auditor's website lists the property as being bought last month for a little less than $200K but not a bad deal since the redone retail/commercial/restaurant space should attract a lot of the new IV residents and they are getting apartments above.

I am assuming the Eagle is in a much better place now but this is just guess since the phone number is disconnected. I'll also post an old pic of the manequin- it always made me smile.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008


While I remember loving to feed the ducks at the lake as a kid, I also remember giant geese running after me until I dropped my entire bag of Wonder Bread for them. I tell you those birds can run.

Columbus City Council is about to make feeding wildlife on city property off limits. It may sound like they are killing a charming afternoon activity but there are multiple valid reasons to support its passage including the health of the animals, disease control, overpopulation, etc. Selfishly I just want people to stop feeding birds in parks so I do not have to weave in between flocks of pigeons or hose down a bench to sit on it.

If people are looking to feed something hungry they should look to the multiple homeless shelters and soup kitchens that could use your help. I promise they will let you hand out Wonder Bread treats too. And if you can't stop feeding birds, look into buying a bird feeders that can be filled with tasty seeds or nectar for your backyard.

Columbus Dispatch article below.

Columbus Council proposal
Feeding critters wouldn't fly in city parks

Tuesday, January 15, 2008 6:48 AM
By Robert Vitale

Life has gotten a little too easy for ducks and geese in Columbus -- and a little too treacherous for people walking through city parks.

Legislation proposed to the City Council last night would make feeding wildlife illegal on city property, which officials hope might shorten the animals' stay in local parks as they're forced to search for their supper.

"We've created an environment where they're not living like they were," said Alan McKnight, director of Recreation and Parks. "The biggest challenge has been geese. They've become very aggressive."

And very messy. Along the Downtown riverfront and at Griggs and Hoover reservoirs, the end result of the birds' free meals -- their copious droppings -- has required more frequent cleaning and prompted worries about possible health hazards.

McKnight and Councilwoman Priscilla Tyson, who's sponsoring the legislation, said the proposed ban isn't designed to punish well-intentioned parkgoers. They promise that police won't be patrolling Columbus parks looking for children with bird feed or slices of bread.

It's a health issue for wildlife, too, Tyson said.

The California-based International Bird Rescue Research Center says on its Web site that people who feed bread and other processed foods to ducks and geese "are killing the birds with their kindness."

Bread and crackers offer no nutrition for the animals, the center says. It says human feeding also makes them dependent and less likely to seek their natural sources of food.

Some wildlife advocates, though, say feeding bans have little impact on bird populations and that the idea of health hazards from bird droppings isn't supported by research.

Dublin passed a law in 2003 that bans people from feeding ducks and geese. The Columbus legislation, which extends to all forms of wildlife, likely will go before the City Council next week.

Monday, January 14, 2008


I enjoy advertising in the city landscape. Advertising often offsets administration/operating costs for public amenities such as bus systems and provides passerbys with public service announcements or something interesting to look at and evokes a "city" aesthetic and feel.

However, I have noticed that Columbus has a problem with bench signs. The benches I am talking about are not the ones that are in parks or at bus stops that are routinely used by pedestrians. These benches are those placed along roads with high volumes of vehicular traffic and are placed specifically to advertise products not to create gathering spaces or comfortable waiting areas. These benches are actually just small billboards in disguise allowed to exist because they are in a bench format.

I find that these benches detract from the neighborhoods by their half-hazard placement and allow companies to take advantage of loopholes in existing sign code ordinances. I called the City of Columbus Development Dept because I had some difficulty navigating their Graphics ordinance and am waiting a call. I'll post the result.

I plan on starting a list of locations of where I feel back bench advertisements are inappropriately located.

Speaking of benches, I hope the Columbus Public Arts Commission encourages bench designs similar to these.

Saturday, January 12, 2008


I love Yankee Trader but the building that it is located in has been neglected for a long time and as neighboring buildings are being renovated, the structure's condition becomes more obvious.

Turning the site into a boutique hotel is a great idea. People's lodging preferences have evolved from finding comfort in chain hotels and are looking to complement their visit to another city with a unique overnight accommodation. Currently the Lofts are the only boutique hotel in Columbus but the expanding hotel and airport market suggest there is a greater demand for the niche lodging style. The location alone directly across from the Convention Center and adjacent to the Arena, SN, IV, and VV districts will help make this property conversion a success.

As for the criticism that a boutique hotel would dilute City plans for a large service hotel, I doubt that. Boutique and chain hotels attract different clienteles who are able/willing to pay more for a more customized overnight stay. While some distance between the properties is admittedly more ideal I do not think one would hurt the other especially since the Convention Center is trying to attract larger conventions which would in turn demand more rooms.

On another side note, you can see that the building's asking price -$5.1M reflects the growing popularity of the downtown and neighboring districts.

Boutique hotel suggested
Talk of 155-room inn near convention center riles backers who want a full-service property
Saturday, January 12, 2008 6:48 AM
By Mike Pramik and Marla Matzer Rose
A funky novelty store predating the Greater Columbus Convention Center and today's trendy Short North may play a key part in the future of both.

The owners of Yankee Trader have enlisted a real-estate broker to seek a buyer who will convert their aging brick building at 463 N. High St. into an upscale hotel.

The downside: The potential development could hurt plans for a larger, convention-style hotel being considered a block away on property controlled by the Franklin County Convention Facilities Authority, local officials said this week.

Yankee Trader co-owner Lynette Howard said she's not planning to close the quirky store, known for Halloween costumes, rubber eyeballs and plastic rats. But she says she might move.

"I would never sell the business," she said. "If the price were right, I might sell the building."

Broker CB Richard Ellis said the Yankee Trader building, directly across from the convention center, would be ideal for a "boutique" hotel -- an intimate, upscale property not affiliated with a name brand.

The price being asked for the building is $5.1 million, according to the CB Richard Ellis report. That's quite a change from 1966, when it was assessed at $20,630.

Continued at....

Thursday, January 10, 2008


Broken Camera+Holidays+School Restarting+Sick+Bad Eggroll= No Blog Posts.

Sorry for not posting anything lately but I will be back in the game soon. If you are curious about anything let me know and I will look into it.


Your resident Nancy Drew