Exploring a neighborhood's struggles and possibilities

The Dispatch's yearlong, monthly series about Linden explored the North Side neighborhood's struggles and possibilities.

Through promises and peril, Linden seeks a path to success

A week ago, Linden residents were cleaning up trash and litter along Billiter Boulevard, a known dumping ground in that Columbus neighborhood.

Sundi Corner, a local real-estate agent who is putting together a new grass-roots organization, Linden Direct, led the cleanup effort.

Read Part One

Without a major anchor, should Linden look to many smaller ones?

The area just east of Downtown has Nationwide Children's Hospital. The University District and its Weinland Park neighborhood? Ohio State University. The South Side had the city and business leaders with neighborhood ties and deep pockets to help build the $12.5 million Reeb Avenue Center with its community services and affordable fresh-food market.

But North and South Linden have no such anchor to help spur redevelopment and energy, nor wealthy champions to lead and fund revitalization efforts.

Read Part Two

Linden's change agents: Many counting on Linden churches to work together to improve lives

A drive along Cleveland Avenue in Linden reveals dozens of churches and places of worship.

There are more than 50 faith groups in the North Side neighborhood, but they're not as impactful as they once were, said some residents, city officials and even local faith leaders.

Read Part Three

Safe Streets program helps in Linden, but seasonal effort isn't enough

Tawana Roebuck was driving near her home in South Linden this month when two young men suddenly ran in front of her car, firing guns at each other.

The 34-year-old slammed on the brakes and immediately threw her car in reverse, backing it down the street and away from the gunfire.

"I went the other way," Roebuck said. "It was a close call, a really close call."

Read Part Four

City says efforts to revive long-troubled Linden working; residents skeptical

In one of Columbus’ most challenged neighborhoods, homes are sprouting where abandoned houses once stood. More babies are surviving long enough to dig into their first birthday cake. Fewer people are being robbed at gunpoint.

The data suggest that City Hall’s efforts in Linden are working, but residents and neighborhood leaders say it doesn’t necessarily feel much different yet.

Read Part Five

Math problem: Most Linden kids aren't going to Linden schools

Columbus City Schools and the state made a $38 million investment in Linden-McKinley High School a decade ago, doubling the size of the historic structure and renovating it into what some residents predicted would be a redevelopment engine for the neighborhood.

"Once that school is there, it's going to uplift the entire community," George Walker Jr., chairman of the South Linden Area Commission, said at the time.

Read Part Six

Creating a downtown Linden will enliven Cleveland Avenue, advocates say

Decades ago, Cleveland Avenue was a thriving retail corridor, with bakeries, drugstores, auto dealers, you name it. In 1960, around 54,500 working-class residents lived in North and South Linden.

Today, about 35,900 residents live in the two Lindens, and the retail industry has changed across the country.

Read Part Seven

Affordable housing key to a revitalized Linden, advocates say

Maria Ramirez Rivas moved into her house on Dec. 9, after nine months of remodeling that included a basement finished with a bathroom, bedroom and laundry room. The gray house stands out with its white brick columns and new concrete driveway.

Rivas is excited about the future in North Linden.

Read Part Eight

New rec center among infrastructure improvements planned for Linden

John Lathram says the craters that have opened up in some of Linden’s worst streets are otherworldly.

Hudson Street is a mess, he said. Weber Road is pocked with potholes.

“That’s just like riding on the moon,” said Lathram, chairman of the North Linden Area Commission. “I think it’s worse, actually.”

Read Part Nine

Immigrants help to stabilize, grow Linden into a more vibrant neighborhood

Ismail Mohamed is the newest member of the North Linden Area Commission. He might be Ohio's first lawyer born in Somalia, and he ran for state representative in 2018.

He also is one of more than 1,700 foreign-born residents in North and South Linden, attracted to the area because of its lower housing costs and the desire to be near other immigrants trying to build a new life in the long-struggling neighborhood.

Read Part Ten

Linden struggles to address lack of medical access, treatment, affordability

Daniel Ferguson sat patiently as the staff on the mobile medical clinic bustled around him, tending to his clogged ear.

The doctor that the Linden resident typically sees is in Hilliard, but the Mount Carmel Health System’s mobile coach was parked conveniently outside the Clinton Township building on Cleveland Avenue. Plus, Ferguson, 61, said he can’t afford to pay a doctor right now, and the biweekly clinic is free.

Read Part Eleven

Residents see opportunities, continued struggles and cautious optimism in Linden's future

Eight years ago, Sheldon Jones bought a house on East 24th Avenue at a sheriff's sale for $45,000. The owner was behind on taxes. The house is just down the street from where he lives.

Jones, a 44-year-old truck driver, owns several rental properties. The one he bought on East 24th has been vacant for six years, but he is now spending as much as $35,000 to fix it up to his standards before renting it out. That means new vinyl siding, porch railings, a brand-new kitchen and stripping the plaster walls to the studs and replacing them with drywall.

Read Part Twelve

Listen to the Living in Linden Podcast