Columbus Named Top Memorial Day Weekend Destination

Columbus has been receiving a lot of great national press in recent years, and that continued when CNN called the city the #2 best destination for Memorial Day weekend. The recent opening of the National Veterans Memorial, the first of its kind in the country, seemed to play a prominent role in the decision.

The National Veterans Memorial on the Scioto Peninsula, completed in 2018.

2018 Ohio City Population Estimates

A few days ago, the Census released the latest population estimates for all cities, towns and villages for July 1, 2018. Here were the top 30 cities in Ohio in 2010 and 2018.

2010 Population———————————————–2018 Population
1. Columbus: 787,033—————————————1. Columbus: 892,533
2. Cleveland: 396,815—————————————2. Cleveland: 383,793
3. Cincinnati: 296,943————————————–3. Cincinnati: 302,605
4. Toledo: 287,208——————————————4. Toledo: 274,975
5. Akron: 199,110——————————————–5. Akron: 198,006
6. Dayton: 141,527——————————————6. Dayton: 140,640
7. Parma: 81,601——————————————–7. Parma: 78,751
8. Canton: 73,007——————————————-8. Canton: 70,458
9. Youngstown: 66,982————————————9. Youngstown: 64,958
10. Lorain: 64,097——————————————10. Lorain: 64,028
11. Hamilton: 62,477—————————————11. Hamilton: 62,174
12. Springfield: 60,608————————————12. Springfield: 59,282
13. Kettering: 56,163————————————–13. Kettering: 55,103
14. Elyria: 54,533——————————————14. Elyria: 53,881
15. Lakewood: 52,131————————————–15. Lakewood: 50,100
16. Cuyahoga Falls: 49,652——————————-16. Newark: 50,029
17. Euclid: 48,920—————————————–17. Cuyahoga Falls: 49,272
18. Middletown: 48,694———————————-18. Middletown: 48,861
19. Mansfield: 47,821————————————–19. Dublin: 48,647
20. Newark: 47,573—————————————-20. Beavercreek: 47,391
21. Mentor: 47,159—————————————–21. Mentor: 47,273
22. Cleveland Heights: 46,121—————————-22. Euclid: 46,946
23. Beavercreek: 45,193———————————-23. Mansfield: 46,560
24. Strongsville: 44,750———————————–24. Strongsville: 44,853
25. Fairfield: 42,510——————————25. Cleveland Heights: 44,373
26. Dublin: 41,751——————————————26. Fairfield: 42,613
27. Warren: 41,557—————————————-27. Grove City: 41,625
28. Findlay 41,202—————————————-28. Findlay: 41,324
29. Lancaster: 38,780———————————–29. Lancaster: 40,414
30. Lima: 38,771——————————————30. Westerville: 40,387

And here were the top 25 cities with the highest numeric growth 2010-2018.
1. Columbus: +105,500
2. Hilliard: +7,979
3. Dublin: +6,896
4. Grove City: +6,050
5. Cincinnati: +5,662
6. Delaware: +5,177
7. North Ridgeville: +4,424
8. Westerville: +4,267
9. New Albany: +3,165
10. Pickerington: +2,910
11. Mason: +2,874
12. Newark: +2,456
13. Reynoldsburg: +2,385
14. Gahanna: +2,303
15. Wadsworth: +2,214
16. Beavercreek: +2,198
17. Marysville: +2,173
18. Avon: +2,070
19. Powell: +1,809
20. Grandview Heights: +1,785
21. Upper Arlington: +1,751
22. Harrison: +1,711
23. Lancaster: +1,634
24. Oxford: +1,514
25. Sunbury: +1,485

Columbus’ growth is very impressive in Ohio, but it has also been a top 15 fastest-growing city in the country for the past few years now, and there appears to be little standing in the way of that continuing.

Ohio Has Very Wet 2018

If your yard has been a swampy no man’s land all year, there’s a reason for it. 2018 was one of the wettest years ever across the state. In some cities, almost every month featured above normal precipitation. Let’s take a look across the state to see how places fared in this extraordinarily soggy period.

Here were the final 2018 totals in major Ohio cities and how they rank since their records began.
Cincinnati: 55.90″ 3rd wettest since 1871.
Columbus: 55.18″ 1st wettest since 1878.
Cleveland: 51.47″ 4th wettest since 1871.
Youngstown: 50.97″ 2nd wettest since 1896.
Dayton: 48.99″ 10th wettest since 1893.
Akron: 48.46″ 5th wettest since 1896.
Toledo: 38.01″ 22nd wettest since 1871.

In big cities in Ohio, only Toledo managed to avoid having a top 10 wettest year. Columbus had its wettest on record, beating the previous record of 54.96″ set just a few years ago in 2011.

Locally in the Columbus metro, here were some other totals.
Newark: 56.01″
Marysville: 51.12″
Lancaster: 50.51″
Circleville: 46.66″
OSU Campus: 46.66″

Biggest Individual Precipitation Day and Rank
Cincinnati: 5.02″ on 8/16/2018, 2nd highest since 1871.
Youngstown: 3.50″ on 9/9/2018, 11th highest since 1896.
Dayton: 2.88″ on 4/3/2018, 24th highest since 1893.
Akron: 2.50″ on 9/9/2018, unranked.
Cleveland: 2.12″ on 11/1/2018, unranked.
Columbus: 2.06″ on 4/15/2018, unranked.
Toledo: 1.62″ on 3/1/2018, unranked.

Cincinnati had 2 days in the top 10, but most other cities had just constant rain rather than exceptionally high individual totals.

Total 2018 Measurable Precipitation Days and Rank
Youngstown: 191 1st most since 1896.
Akron: 180 1st most since 1896.
Cleveland: 177 8th most since 1871.
Columbus: 162 6th most since 1878.
Cincinnati: 151 7th most since 1871.
Dayton: 148 10th most since 1893.
Toledo: 142 16th most since 1871.

3 cities saw more than half their days with measurable precipitation. Columbus came in at just under 50%. This also had the unfortunate result of making most of the year feel unusually gloomy. Traditionally sunny months in the summer and fall were much cloudier than normal.

Total 2018 1″+ Precipitation Days and Rank
Columbus: 15 1st most since 1878.
Cleveland: 13 2nd most since 1871.
Cincinnati: 12 7th most since 1871.
Dayton: 11 6th most since 1893.
Akron: 10 5th most since 1896.
Toledo: 7 7th most since 1871.
Youngstown: 5 9th most since 1896.

Columbus had the most 1″ days of any year on record, and even beat every other major Ohio city.

Wettest 2018 Months
Cincinnati: 8.21″ in August
Youngstown: 7.91″ in September
Akron: 7.26″ in September
Dayton: 6.72″ in September
Columbus: 6.71″ in June
Cleveland: 6.68″ in July
Toledo: 5.91″ in May

No cities saw any of their months be even close to the wettest ever. There were not really any events with heavy flooding, either, except in February in Cincinnati, when the Ohio River reached the highest since the 1997 flood. There was also some scattered flooding from some tropical system remnants that passed through, particularly in September, but for the most part, it was just constantly wet from beginning to end in most places.

Flooding in Cincinnati in February, 2018.

One might ask if 2018 was merely a blip or part of a long-term trend in the state. Climate scientists have actually looked at this, and the state has indeed been getting both warmer and wetter over the last century or so, but the pace of both the warming and the increase in precipitation has been much faster since the 1970s. Many of the Ohio’s wettest years on record have occurred since 1990.

August 2018 Missed- and Gained- Opportunities of the Month

Instead of focusing on a single project this month, I wanted to do a rundown of a few projects- this time both good and bad.

First, the bad.

High and Cherry Street Project
In what’s becoming a tradition for Downtown, yet another project there has been inexplicably downsized. Originally approved back in 2016, the project required the demolition of a historic building.

Photo taken in 2015.

This was generally considered okay because the proposed 11-story project was a significant improvement in density that would’ve added more vibrancy to this part of Downtown.

The 11-story rendering in 2016.

Two years later and, beyond the demolition, there had been no movement on the site, which was itself a little concerning because that typically means that something’s gone wrong or there are about to be big changes for the project. So it was no surprise when, toward the end of July, we received the bad news. Not only was the project going to be reduced in size by a full 4 stories, but all aspects of the project were getting worse. Parking spaces doubled, bike parking spaces were reduced by 70% to just 18, the ground floor retail was completely eliminated and overall residential units fell by 50 to just 70 total. Worse still, even the design of the building became just another bland box.

So what happened? Crawford-Hoying, the developer, made some reference to rising material costs that made its plan to include affordable, micro-unit apartments too expensive, hence the reduction in project size. However, this excuse seems suspicious at best. If higher material costs were a detriment to building the affordable component, why not simply lower the number of micro units or change to a market-rate project altogether? Furthermore, what would that have to do with eliminating the retail space or increasing parking? It wouldn’t. In fact, building parking is actually very expensive, and it’s why many cities nationally are reducing or eliminating parking requirements for new projects, as it is often prohibitively expensive to build and can derail quality urban proposals. If finances were tight, the last thing a developer would do with a new project is add MORE parking rather than trying to maximize potential income with residential units or retail space. Meanwhile, in the month since the project reduction was announced, we have seen other new projects announced or previously-announced projects move forward that have seen no reduction. The company also didn’t make any changes to its 10-story Moxy Hotel project at 800 N. High street, which is currently under construction. Overall, this just feels like a bait and switch. The 11-story proposal was approved, which allowed for the demolition, and now it’s coming in smaller and of a lower quality.
Regardless of the real reasons why this project was suburbanized and reduced, it continues the long-standing pattern of Downtown projects being underwhelming. Downtown should be receiving the the statement makers, so to speak. Instead, we continue to see other neighborhoods get them.

Speaking of, let’s look at the good with a couple of proposals that have matched, if not exceeded, their potential.

Upper Arlington’s Arlington Gateway
Proposed back in 2016 as a 7-story mixed-use building, the project has gone through many revisions. Over the course of the last 2 years, the project has only grown in size to its final iteration, an 11-story with more than 200 apartments, office space and retail. The $100 million project is the largest ever proposed for Upper Arlington, which has long been a more traditional suburban-style inner suburb. It has resisted the urban densification movement until recently. Being landlocked, the only way that it can increase population and maintain tax levels is to build up. Its city leadership seems to understand this, and though there was neighborhood opposition to the project, the city approved it almost unanimously.

The project will replace suburban development, including a strip center and Pizza Hut, as seen below.

Quality urbanism, increased walkability… this is a solid addition to Upper Arlington.

Franklinton’s Gravity 2.0
Franklinton is seeing a revival these days, particularly east of 315. Multiple projects have been proposed, and the upcoming Scioto Peninsula redevelopment is on the horizon. Kaufman Development, highlighted in last month’s Missed Opportunity for having to abandon a project in Victorian Village due to NIMBYism, has been on somewhat of a roll lately. It spearheaded a significant renovation of the famed LeVeque Tower, it built both of Downtown’s largest recent projects- 250 High and 80 on the Commons (the latter of which was, of course, downsized)- and it’s heavily investing in the future of Franklinton with a stunning, out-of-the-box development named Gravity.

Gravity 1.0

The Gravity 1.0 site in 2014.

Gravity 1.0 was proposed back in 2016 as a 6-story, mixed-use development at 500 W. Broad Street
Replacing a few single-story, non-historic buildings and some parking lots (as seen above), the project was designed to drastically change the existing streetscape. It began construction in late 2016 and is nearing completion now. Few anticipated a second phase of the project, however, dubbed Gravity 2.0
The latest 12-story proposal for Gravity 2.0.

Another Broad Street component of Gravity 2.0.

Announced last week, Gravity 2.0 would be much more massive in scale than 1.0. Proposed for the entire block directly across the street between W. Broad and W. State, the project would include the following:
– A 12-story mixed-use building at the northeast corner of the site, directly to the west of the railroad tracks. This would contain 258 apartments.
– A 6-story residential building on the State Street with 94 units.
– A 5-story parking garage.
– A 6-story mixed-use addition to the existing Murphy building, which will be renovated.
– A 5-story townhouse building along McDowell Street with 18 units.
– A renovation to the existing Solazzo Building at the southwest corner.
Like Gravity 1.0, the project will include different types of amenities than would be typically found. These include a green roof on the parking garage with a “city view overlook”, as well as an art walk through the lower floor of the garage. Along Broad Street, a retail plaza will be constructed out of shipping containers. Co-living will be included in the southern residential building. A food hall, brewery and restaurants are also potentially in the works. Overall, the architecture will match the funky modernism of Gravity 1.0.

This project is poised to become a serious game-changer for Franklinton. While there was already ongoing redevelopment in this area, a mid-rise development like this pushes the envelope and raises the prospects of future development coming in bigger, and the pace of the redevelopment will likely accelerate. This also increases the likelihood that the Scioto Peninsula to the east will see larger scale development, as well. Originally, the city wanted a couple 30+ story buildings there, with a mix of other mid-rise buildings. That plan was abandoned when an Indianapolis developer was chosen for the site and proposed mostly low-rise. That developer was let go from the project a few months ago, and the Peninsula will now be developed piece by piece. With large development occurring in Franklinton itself, the high-rises may be about to make a return, making the entire eastern section of Franklinton an extension of Downtown.

So there are a few great projects that are definitely NOT missed opportunities. Take note, Downtown developers- a lot of you are getting embarrassed.

Winter 2017-2018

Wind and heavy snow on the evening of January 12, 2018.

The winter of 2017-2018 featured some wild swings, from a very cold late December-early January to one of the warmest Februaries of all time. Let’s take a closer look at this volatile season, specifically December to February.

December 2017
Average High: 38.6 36th Coldest
Average Low: 23.7 33rd Coldest
Mean: 31.2 37th Coldest
Coldest High: 17 on 12/27/17
Coldest Low: 2 on 12/31/17
Warmest High: 60 on 12/4/17
Warmest Low: 47 on 12/22/17
32 or Below Highs: 10 11th Highest
32 or Below Lows: 27 5th Highest
Total Precipitation: 1.76″ 28th Driest
Total Snowfall: 8.1″ 23rd Snowiest
Average Snow Depth: 0.3″ 4th Lowest
Largest Daily Precipitation: 0.72″ on 12/23/17 31st Largest
Largest Daily Snowfall: 2.1″ on 12/30/17 32nd Largest
Highest Snow Depth: 3″ on 12/30-12/31/17 4th Lowest
Precipitation Days: 20 8th Highest
Snowfall Days: 15 8th Highest

December Records
Record High Minimum: 47 on 12/22/17. Tied for #1 Warmest Low for December 22nd. Tied with 2015.

January 2018
Average High: 35.4 39th Coldest
Average Low: 19.3 39th Coldest
Mean: 27.3 39th Coldest
Coldest High: 10 on 1/2/18
Coldest Low: -4 on 1/2/18
Warmest High: 60 on 1/11 and 1/22/18
Warmest Low: 52 on 1/11/18
32 or Below Highs: 14 11th Highest
32 or Below Lows: 26 6th Highest
Total Precipitation: 2.39″ 56th Driest
Total Snowfall: 10.5″ 38th Snowiest
Average Snow Depth: 1.4″ 15th Lowest
Largest Daily Precipitation: 0.66″ on 1/12/18 35th Lowest
Largest Daily Snowfall: 3.5″ on 1/12/18 29th Highest
Highest Snow Depth: 5″ on 1/16-1/17/18 6th Lowest
Precipitation Days: 26 4th Highest
Snowfall Days: 19 6th Highest

January Records
Record Low Maximum: 10 on 1/2/2018. Coldest High for January 2nd, beating the old record of 11, set in 1928.

February 2018
Average High: 47.3 7th Warmest
Average Low: 30.3 10th Warmest
Mean: 38.8 7th Warmest
Coldest High: 22 on 2/2/18
Coldest Low: 10 on 2/5/18
Warmest High: 77 on 2/20/18
Warmest Low: 60 on 2/20/18
32 or Below Highs: 5 6th Lowest
32 or Below Lows: 17 5th Lowest
Total Precipitation: 5.25″ 7th Highest
Total Snowfall: 6.0″ 43rd Highest
Largest Daily Precipitation: 1.23″ on 2/24/18 20th Highest
Largest Daily Snowfall: 4.4″ on 2/7/18. 17th Highest
Highest Snow Depth: 4″ on 2/7/18. 5th Lowest
Precipitation Days: 20 7th Highest
Snowfall Days: 10 13th Highest

February Records
Record Daily Snowfall: 4.4″ on 2/7/2018. Most snowfall for February 7th, beating the old record of 3.6″ set in 1895.
Record High Minimum: 55 on 2/15/2018. Warmest Low for February 15th, beating the old record of 53 set in 1954.
Record High Maximum: 77 on 2/20/2018. Warmest High for February 20th, beating the old record of 68 set in 1891 and 2016.
Record High Minimum: 60 on 2/20/2018. Warmest Low for February 20th, beating the old record of 49 set in 1930.

Winter (DJF only) 2017-2018
Average High: 40.4 28th Warmest
Average Low: 24.4 38th Warmest
Mean: 32.4 33rd Warmest
32 or Below Highs: 29 21st Highest
32 or Below Lows: 70 18th Lowest
Precipitation: 9.40″ 31st Wettest
Snowfall: 24.6″ 36th Snowiest
Average Snow Depth: 0.7″ 17th Highest (since 1948)

So overall, the winter was definitely warmer than normal, but not record-breaking, even with the extremely warm February. It was also wetter and snowier than normal as well.

Before and After April 2017

**Note: Some photos have been updated for 2018.

I haven’t done a Before and After installment for a while. This time around, I chose to not focus on any single neighborhood.

First up is a photo of the construction of the Columbus Interurban Terminal, looking northwest from 3rd. The photo was taken on October 5, 1911, about 3 months before the building opened. The interurban system was relatively short-lived in the city, and the terminal closed after only 26 years in 1938. The building survived as a grocery store through the mid-1960s before the building was demolished in 1967 as part of the construction of the Greyhound Bus Terminal across the street. The actual location of the building was not on the Greyhound site, but was used as an overflow parking lot. It remained a parking lot until the mid-1980s, when it became part of the City Centre Mall site. Today, plans are for the site to become the location for the 12-story, 80 on the Commons mixed-use project.

October, 1911.

Here is the same place in October, 2018.

The second historic photo is of the #57 streetcar on Kelton Avenue just south of the Oak Street intersection. The photo, which looks north, was taken on June 30, 1915 and includes 3 separate visible buildings as well. The house on the left actually survived until 1977, when it and the rest of the east half of the block was demolished. The building visible on the right is the surviving streetcar barn. Today, it is in bad shape, and while many would like to see it renovated and saved, time seems to be running out. The other surviving building, barely visible in the 1915 photo, is the tenement building on the northwest corner of Oak and Kelton.

And in 2015:

Third in this list is a photo of the demolition of the old Franklin County Jail, once located at 36 E. Fulton Street in Downtown. Built in 1889, the structure survived until the fall of 1971, when the building, which by then had become outdated for its intended purpose, was torn down to make way for- what else- a parking garage. The parking garage remains to the present day. Columbus leaders at the time should’ve been flogged for such short-sighted thinking, something that was repeated over and over and over again during that era. Today, such a very cool, unique building would’ve made an excellent candidate for mixed-use conversion.

And in August, 2016:

Finally, this next photo isn’t really historic. It was taken a mere 15 years ago in February, 2002, looking northwest from the corner of N. High Street and 10th Avenue. At the time, this area had been made up of low-rise historic buildings that had long held bars for OSU students. All these buildings in the photo, and many more, were demolished not long after the photo was taken in order to make room for the South Campus Gateway, now more or less just called the Gateway. Similar large-scale demolitions are taking place to the north and south as the entirety of the High Street corridor around Campus is transformed. Whether that is good or bad depends on who you ask. What can be agreed upon, however, is that the corridor will be almost unrecognizable in the end.

And in October, 2016: