The Recovery of Downtown vs Cleveland and Cincinnati Part #1- Update




**Updated and reposted from last year.

Columbus’ downtown has seen many many changes, especially over the last decade. Developments like the Arena District, Columbus Commons, the Scioto Mile and more have brought new life to the area. Dozens of new restaurants and shops have opened in recent years, with more on the way. Larger developments coming up include the redevelopment of the Scioto Peninsula, Confluence Village- complete with a new Crew Stadium- and at least 3 new mixed-use towers. All of this has led to rising population, with estimates population by the city near 9,000. So the question I was wondering is how has population been changing not only in Columbus’ downtown, but in comparison to Cleveland and Cincinnati. Both of those cities have also seen major projects in their downtown cores and are seeing an uptick in their downtown populations.

First, I examined the 1950 city limits for all three cities. This was the last census year before sprawl really took hold and changed the city dynamics and growth patterns. 1950 is also when most cities in Ohio reached their peak urban population, so I thought it would be interesting to see how those old boundaries had changed over the years. I went to the US census website and began to look up all the census tracts that existed in each city in 1950. Those would represent my base area that I would use to see the changes in the city core. All of the 3-Cs have grown beyond those 1950 boundaries, especially Columbus, but these areas were the hardest hit when the urban decline came the last 50-60 years as the suburbs grew. Looking at how these areas changed is both sobering and perhaps hopeful as well.

All 3-Cs saw population decline between 1950 and 2010. Columbus’ decline which much less severe than the other 2, but it followed the same general trends. Since 2010, both Cincinnati and Columbus have seen growth within the 1950 boundary.

1950 Boundary Population Change 1950-2017
Cincinnati: -223,097
Cleveland: -539,907
Columbus: -134,562

1950 Boundary Population Change 2010-2017
Cincinnati: +2,392
Cleveland: -6,000
Columbus: +6,566

1950 Boundary Population % Change 1950-2017
Cincinnati: -44.3%
Cleveland: -59.0%
Columbus: -35.8%

1950 Boundary Population % Change 2010-2017
Cincinnati: +0.9%
Cleveland: -1.6%
Columbus: +2.8%

In Cleveland, the rate of loss had gradually been slowing down since the 1970s, but suddenly skyrocketed again in the 2000s. I’m not sure what exactly caused this. The double recessions made it more difficult for people to move, so if anything, the losses should’ve not accelerated. Cleveland lost over 90,000 people in its urban core from 2000-2010, the highest lost by % and total of any Ohio city, and one of the highest in the country.
In Cincinnati, population loss had peaked in the 1970s and the rate of loss fell substantially the following decade. However, the past 2 decades have actually seen a gradual acceleration of losses. The 2000-2010 period saw the second biggest total loss for the urban core, but there has been a significant turnaround (if estimates are correct) and the city is seeing growth now.
For Columbus, it’s been the opposite picture. Like the other 2-Cs, losses peaked in the 1970s. Since then, the urban core losses have been in gradual decline. The 2000-2010 period had the smallest rate and total loss of any decade the past 65+ years, and since 2010, there has been net growth.

So interesting results, but these numbers don’t show any trends of what’s going on inside the 1950 boundaries, especially not the relatively small part that would be the downtowns. So let’s break the numbers down a little more to the tract level.

# of Tracts in 1950*
Cincinnat: 107
Cleveland: 201
Columbus: 48

*The number of tracts changed from 1950 on as some were split or consolidated. This made it more complicated, but luckily the Census gives lists on how tracts changed over time, so one can figure out what tract became what and reasonably keep up with the same boundaries that existed in 1950.


So with this breakdown, we can see more of the trends within the 1950 boundaries. In Cincinnati, a long decline was followed by a recovery in 1990, only to have the next 20 years show an increasing decline. The 2010 census showed the fewest number of tracts growing on record. This is the worst performance of the 3-Cs. Cleveland also had a steep decline followed by a recovery, but it too declined more at the last census, but not nearly to the low point it reached in the 1970s and 1980s.

Meanwhile, Columbus also faced an initial steep decline and barely had any tracts growing during the 1970s. Since then, the trend has been up. The 16 growing tracts in 2010 were the highest since the 1940s. This is the best performance of the 3-Cs, and Columbus had the highest % of growing tracts in its core. Still, those 16 represent less than 1/3rd of the total tracts within the 1950 boundaries. However, in the case of all 3 cities, the 2010-2017 has greatly increased the number of growing tracts. This suggest that the urban core of every city has been improving this decade. The more than 68% of all 1950 area tracts growing in 2017 is by far the highest of the 3 cities.
In Part 2, we will look only at the specific downtown areas.




Columbus’ Christmas Day Climatology




*Find more December records in the December Weather page.

Normals 1981-2010
High: 38
Low: 25
Mean: 31.5
Precipitation: 0.10″
Snowfall: 0.2″

1878-2017 Averages
High: 36
Low: 24
Mean: 30
Precipitation: 0.11″
Snowfall: 0.1″

Top 10 Coldest Highs
1. 1983: 1
2. 1878: 10
3. 1924: 11
4. 1980: 15
5. 1902: 16
6. 1985: 17
7. 1884, 2000: 19
8. 1899, 1906, 1914:20
9. 1950, 1968: 22
10. 1935, 1969, 2001: 23

Top 10 Coldest Lows
1. 1983: -12
2. 1980: -5
3. 1935: -4
4. 1924: -3
5. 1878: -2
6. 2004: -1
7. 1985: 1
8. 2000: 2
9. 1884: 4
10. 1914, 1999: 7

Top 10 Warmest Highs
1. 1893: 64
2. 1982: 63
3. 1932, 1940: 62
4. 1889: 60
5. 1964: 58
6. 1895, 1955: 57
7. 1891: 55
8. 1936, 2015: 53
9. 1888, 1915, 1987: 52
10. 1965, 1973: 51

Top 10 Warmest Lows
1. 1889, 1982: 55
2. 1895: 52
3. 1893: 49
4. 1891: 45
5. 2015: 43
6. 1932, 1940: 40
7. 1888, 1964, 1973: 39
8. 1987: 38
9. 1922, 1941, 2009, 2016: 37
10. 1936, 1972: 36

Number of Days with the High Temperature
Less than 10: 1
10-19: 7
20-29: 25
30-39: 54
40-49: 36
50-59: 12
60 or Higher: 5

Number of Days with the Low Temperature
Less than 0: 6
0-9: 7
10-19: 36
20-29: 46
30-39: 37
40-49: 5
50 or Higher: 3

Top 10 Wettest
1. 2009: 0.79″
2. 1944: 0.77″
3. 1926: 0.69″
4. 1951: 0.58″
5. 2006: 0.57″
6. 1945: 0.54″
7. 1957: 0.52″
8. 1987, 2005: 0.51″
9. 1915: 0.48″
10. 1909: 0.47″

Number of Days with Precipitation
0.00″: 44
Trace: 27
0.01″-0.24″: 54
0.25″-0.49″: 6
0.50″-0.74″: 7
0.75″-0.99″: 2
1.00″ or More: 0

Top 10 Snowiest
1. 1890: 7.0″
2. 1909: 5.7″
3. 1950: 3.0″
4. 1917: 2.5″
5. 1969: 2.3″
6. 1884: 2.2″
7. 1976: 1.9″
8. 1880: 1.8″
9. 1935: 1.3″
10. 1944: 1.2″

Top 5 with the Most Snow on the Ground (Since 1947)
1. 1960: 9″
2. 1961, 1963, 1989, 1995: 4″
3. 1969, 1980, 2004: 3″
4. 1950, 2000: 2″
5. 1951, 1956, 1962, 1990, 1992, 1993, 2010, 2017: 1″

Number of Days with Snowfall
0.0″: 73
Trace: 23
0.1″-0.4″: 19
0.5″-0.9″: 9
1″-2.9″: 7
3″ or More: 3

For more general Columbus weather records, go here: Columbus All-Time Weather




Week in Review #4




Okay, so these aren’t really every week. Let’s call them the occasional Week in Review. In any case, a lot has happened the past week, so let’s do a rundown.

First up, the proposed new Hilton Hotel at the Convention Center continues to get taller, and now stands currently proposed for 28 stories. Construction is not set to begin until possibly next fall, so we have a while to see if any further changes occur.

The latest rendering of the new Hilton.

Crew fans got huge news a few months back that a new ownership group was looking to buy the team and keep them in Columbus. This week, it was announced as to what would happen to both Mapfre Stadium, as well as the first renderings and location of a brand new Downtown stadium in the Arena District. The new stadium would be built along with a new mixed-use neighborhood called Confluence Village. It would include offices, restaurant/retail space, 885 apartments and a riverfront park.

The Brewery District will get its first big development in a few years with a $70 million mixed-use proposal on Front Street.

Franklinton continues to move up in the world with the new renderings of the CoverMyMeds campus. The $240 million project would be one of the largest investment in the neighborhood in perhaps… ever.

The latest CoverMyMeds HQ rendering.

Other news…
Google may build a $600 million data center in New Albany.

And “Planet Oasis”, the proposed $2 billion entertainment complex in Delaware county, still looks unlikely to happen as the feud between its former development partners continues.

The oldest buildings on Capital Square finally received some funding for the proposal to renovate them into office space. The buildings date to 1869 and 1901.

The former Graham Ford dealership in Franklinton was purchased by Pizzuti Companies. The 7-acre site is to the west of 315, away from where recent development has been concentrated, so the site may remain undeveloped for a while yet. But it indicates where the future of Franklinton overall is headed.

Worst Winters of All Time?




Historically, winter in Central Ohio has been a mixed bag. Some years it seems that winter never really arrives, while others never seem to end. The 2010s have been a perfect example, with some years being some of the coldest and snowiest on record, while others were some of the warmest and least snowiest.
The last few winters haven’t been particularly harsh, but where do they rank historically? To find out, I came up with a ranking system for meteorological winter only- December 1st through February 28th. Here was the criteria:

Temperature: 1 point added for each occurrence-
– # of 32 or Below Highs
– # of 32 or Below Lows
– # of 0 or Below Highs
– # of 0 or Below Lows
And 1 point removed for each occurrence-
– # of 60 or Above Highs
– # of 50 or Above Lows

Precipitation: 1 point added for each occurrence-
– # of Days with Measurable Snowfall
– # of 1″+ Snow Days
– # of 2.5″+ Snow Days
– # of 5″+ Snow Days
– # of 10″+ Snow Days
– # of Measurable Precipitation Days overall

I then added the temperature and precipitation points together to come up with a ranking for how miserable each winter really was.

Here are the 30 worst winters of all time and their total points.

1. 1976-1977: 240
2. 1977-1978: 238
3. 1969-1970: 230
4. 2002-2003: 228
5. 1978-1979: 226
6. 1880-1881: 225
7. 1917-1918: 223
8. 1935-1936: 220
9. 2013-2014: 219
10. 1892-1893, 1962-1963: 218
11. 1909-1910: 217
12. 1995-1996, 2009-2010: 208
13. 2010-2011: 207
14. 1903-1904: 204
15. 1981-1982: 202
16. 1911-1912, 1963-1964: 197
17. 1886-1887, 1919-1920: 196
18. 1904-1905: 195
19. 1984-1985: 194
20. 1916-1917: 193
21. 1894-1895: 191
22. 1883-1884: 189
23. 2000-2001: 188
24. 1947-1948, 1961-1962: 187
25. 1993-1994: 186
26. 1884-1885, 1939-1940: 185
27. 1983-1984, 1987-1988: 183
28. 1902-1903, 2014-2015: 182
29. 1954-1955: 180
30. 1878-1879, 1882-1883, 1960-1961, 1985-1986, 2003-2004, 2008-2009: 179

Do any of these surprise you? Both 2013-2014 and 2014-2015 are in the top 30 worst, but only 2013-2014 is in the top 10. In fact, other recent winters like 2000-2001, 2002-2003, 2009-2010 and 2010-2011 are all ranked worse than that. There have been a surprising number of recent winters in the top 30, however. There have been 8 total since 2000. No other similar time frame has produced as many.

And here are the 30 best winters (if you like warm, snowless, dry winters, that is).

1. 1931-1932: 74
2. 1889-1890: 75
3. 1879-1880: 86
4. 1997-1998: 102
5. 2016-2017: 107
6. 1881-1882, 1943-1944: 111
7. 2001-2002: 112
8. 1996-1997: 115
9. 1948-1949, 1953-1954: 118
10. 1941-1942, 1982-1983: 120
11. 1918-1919: 122
12. 1936-1937: 123
13. 1932-1933, 1991-1992: 124
14. 1930-1931, 2015-2016: 125
15. 1905-1906, 1972-1973: 126
16. 1949-1950: 128
17. 1897-1898, 1986-1987: 129
18. 2011-2012: 130
19. 1938-1939: 131
20. 1937-1938: 134
21. 1908-1909, 1920-1921, 2005-2006: 135
22. 1924-1925: 137
23. 1896-1897: 138
24. 1927-1928, 1929-1930, 1940-1941, 1990-1991: 139
25. 1952-1953: 140
26. 1921-1922, 1945-1946, 1998-1999: 141
27. 1988-1989: 143
28. 1891-1892: 144
29. 1946-1947, 1971-1972: 145
30. 1912-1913, 1934-1935: 147

Look how many of the warmest/least snowy occurred between 1920 and 1945. Historically, this period had the fewest number of cold and/or snowy winters on record of any such 25-year period.

And what about winter 2018-2019? Well, that remains to be seen. However, the developing weak El Nino, combined with other Pacific and global indices suggests that it will be both cold and snowy. It’s already getting off to an early start with November 2018 potentially ending up as a top 10 or 15 coldest on record. We’ll have to see if this continues into December and beyond, but such early cold is often associated with harsher winters, though there are certainly exceptions to that.

To see lots of other winter statistics, check out the All-Time Weather page.

Today in History: The End of WWI in Columbus





100 years ago today, World War 1 came to an end. Known as the Armistice, the agreement was officially complete on November 11, 1918. In Columbus, as in the rest of the nation, the mood was, to say the least, happy.
In what was then said to be the “Greatest Demonstration in History”, Columbus citizens were up before dawn on that Monday morning, consumed in riotous celebration. At least 200,000 people marched through the streets of Downtown.  An article on the celebration described the scene in poetic detail:

The lid that throttled pentup enthusiasm during the last few fateful days was blown off with a bang. Bellowing whistles, screeching sirens and jubilant shouts of early risers ushered in the greatest Monday in the world’s history. With each passing minute the pandemonium became greater.
An expanding, bulging, distending, heaving, heightening, thrilling crowd that by mid-morning numbered itself in the thousands, swirled, swayed and twisted itself in one long line of humanity through the ins and outs of High Street.
From every nook and cranny of the city’s far-lying borders came added increments of men, women and children, mad with joy, delirious with triumph, exalted as never before.

Celebration on High Street, November 11, 1918.

WWI had lasted from July 28, 1914 to November 11, 1918 and had taken about 20 million lives.