Harrison West: Once home to 7,500 people—now about 3,500.

Harrison West: Once home to 7,500 people—now about 3,500.

Neighbors for More Neighbors—Columbus is excited to learn of the addition of new housing units in historic Harrison West, an important downtown neighborhood that has experienced enormous change over the past century. A plan to convert a 1927 building at 875 Michigan Avenue to residential use and build new apartments behind it is moving forward, adding a total of 55 apartment units to the community.

The community used to be home to many more people, however. More than twice as many people, in fact. The peak population of the census tract encompassing most of Harrison West was 1960, when 7,526 people lived in just 0.29 square miles. Twenty years later, in 1980, just 3,870 people lived there. Today, figures show about 3,400 people live in the area—even though much more of the land is residential today. Previously, much of the land was heavy industrial uses, which led to undesirable living conditions for families.

When anti-development neighbors claim their neighborhoods are “full,” let’s remember how patently untrue that is. Our urban neighborhoods were built to house many thousands more people than they currently do. Infrastructure isn’t a problem, but a willingness to accept more neighbors is.

All images from Columbus Metropolitan Library collection.