Seth Golding had had enough. He had been a student at Ohio State University. He had lived in the campus area as an undergraduate.
He had witnessed the parties and the boisterous late-night antics of young Buckeyes.
This was just one of the issues that the University Area Commission discussed on Wednesday October 18.
The Commission, made of up 19 members in all, represents the group that oversees the surrounding off-campus residential area of Ohio State known the University District.
Ian MacConnell, president of the UAC, stated prior to the meeting that a number of the board members were “anti-student,” dating back to the emergence of the South Campus Gateway project. MacConnell also mentioned roughly half of the Commission sees students as “a problem to be dealt with.”
Now Golding, more than 10 years later as a husband, young father and perceivably ornery at the mention of current OSU partiers, took a stand as the current University Area Commission treasurer and designated concerned neighbor within the campus community.
As Columbus police officer Larry Geis took to the wooden podium in the pink-and-lavender-hued room, he began to address issues of neighborhood patrols, but not before Golding could shout his displeasure with the partying OSU students at the bars on North Campus.
Golding cited that yelling and inappropriate acts of vandalism were commonplace near his residence, notably from the guests of Miani’s Bar & Grill and Ledo’s Lounge-two bars whose liquor license renewals drew the objection of the UAC. Inevitably, fellow Columbus police officer Andy Baumann then mentioned that the former of the establishments had police task forces assigned to it to curb underage drinking and other violations.
Golding then apologized to Officer Geis for OSU President Karen Holbrook’s apparent “lack of touch” with the University Area (in particularly the Northwest District of the area), as Geis nodded in agreement with his comments. Geis also mentioned how she made “disparaging remarks” about the Columbus Police Department in regards to Golding’s concern with underage drinking.
While Golding was the most visibly irritated with the conduct pertaining to students visiting the bars and their public intoxication, others were not so upset.
Two candidates vying for the UAC’s vacant District 1 seat, Therese Nolan and Julie Owens, gave more enlightening personal accounts of the heavy student-populated area. Upon fellow UAC member Robert Caldwell’s request, the candidates expressed their views and concerns in the district, lined up in front of the Commission’s half-round table.
Nolan drew a parallel between the Chicago riots of the late 1960s and the 2002 Ohio State riots, but praised the neighborhood atmosphere, on which Owens expounded.
“I appreciate the diversity and conflict, and what has worked and what hasn’t (in the neighborhood),” Owens said. She highlighted how the university’s environment and its diversity brought “energy in the area,” and that she believes in a “peaceful co-existence with everyone.”
Owens also mentioned how she has a dialogue with her neighbors in the University Area-a suggestion that MacConnell also offered as a suggestion to students living in the same area before the meeting.
A third candidate, Joaquin Serantes-who was later elected into the vacant seat-also noted the negative transition of the North Campus housing district from his Buckeye graduation year of 1992 to the present day.
In other business, John Gideon, president of COBAC (Central Ohio Bicycle Advocacy Coalition), presented plans by the city and university to make Columbus and OSU “bicycle-friendly.”
Gideon said that the plans involved talks about the proposed “Complete Streets” policy, which would allow people to “use the streets properly.” Pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorists would all be accommodated by the policy.
Additionally, Steve Sterret, Community Relations Director for Campus Partners-“A civic association for the neighborhoods around The Ohio State University,” according to the Campus Partners Web site-reintroduced a revitalization plan from 1996.
The plan, which would help revitalize the University Area, would also focus on making the surrounding neighborhoods “a model for university-community relationships” and “culturally and socio-economically diverse”, as stated in the final draft of the Neighborhood Revitalization Plan.
Among all other minor remaining issues, the commission also made a point to make future housing complexes within the various districts to be environmentally safe or “green” to promote better health for residents, particularly in the Weinland Park district on the Columbus Coated Fabrics property.
The next UAC meeting is scheduled for October 25, 2006.