Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Ohio State Is Now A Hacky Theme Park

Those of you who are regular readers, all 4 of you, know that I have only recently moved back to Columbus after being gone from Ohio since 1997. Truth be told, most of my time from 1993-1997 was spent in Oxford Ohio while in school, but I retuned almost every summer.

In 1997 I joined the Navy and rarely had the chance to return to the Capital City. My recent homecoming has been a rediscovery of sorts since so much has changed in this area. Almost all of it is for the better: NHL, Arena District, the Short North, businesses, the great housing, the amazing restaurants, etc. However, I discovered today one area that has, in my opinion become a caricature of itself: The Ohio State University Campus area.

When I was younger I used to enjoy all of the stores, bars and shops along High Street. So much of that area was what college is about in that it was free flowing, a little crazy and independent. It was what made OSU the amazing university it was. Now I understand that it was getting “out of hand” down there, but as I drove down High Street for the first time in over a decade I was saddened by what I saw.

Building after building replace with national chains, stores for Alumni and Eddie George’s restaurant. What dawned on me is that the OSU area has nothing to do with the students who actually attend Ohio State. The entire area is for Alumni to relive the days in an area which ironically they watched being replaced and for fans of OSU. No student could afford to eat on a Friday at Edie George’s restaurant. Gone are the cheap pizza joints, dollar beer nights and cheap coffee houses NOT originating in Seattle. The entire area reminded me of Universal Studios Florida. It is not a real studio... it is a just an amusement park with that theme. Campus has become just that... Ohio State World.

College areas should be about the students who actually attend, not for others to visit the pre-packaged, theme park area with over priced restaurants, stores and Scarlet and Gray photo ops for “What I did on my summer vacation” scrap books. Shame on the developers of High Street who are now wealthy but at the cost of taking away campus from those who pay to attend OSU.

No wonder OSU students drive away and take shuttles to leave campus when not in class. Sad.


LargeBill said...


Welcome back to Ohio.

You'll find there are a few ex-squids here in Ohio. I moved back in 2004 after 25 years Navy.

Good luck in civilian world.

The Squeaky Wheel said...

Thanks. Good to see some felow Squids around. Still in the reserves so I get to don the uniform occasionally!

Thanks for reading

Walker Evans said...

This is a pretty common sentiment I see about the whole "South Campus Gateway" project. I was at OSU about 10 years ago and remember the dive bars too. But the thing is.... if they were still there, I'd never go to them.

I have a 19-year-old sister-in-law who's at OSU now and she has no idea what was there 10 years ago, and she loves the Gateway. While the chains like Panera and Potbelly are cheap enough for students, there's also local clothing shops and local restaurants there as well. Not to mention the locally-founded Drexel theater there, which is a big draw for me to see movies in the area.

And I have tried out some of the bars (there's like 3 or 4 of them in there) and they're packed to the gills with osu students on weekends. Not my scene, but the students are being served none the less.

I suggest you get out of your car and check it out. Passing judgement on the area while passing it in the car isn't really the best way to get first-hand experience.

Go check out the rest of the city to see how it's improved in the last 10 years! Forget about campus! Leave that to the college kids! ;)

Go hit the Arena District and walk around there. None of that existed 10 years ago. Stroll through the Short North during gallery hop. It's changed a lot in 10 years.