Why is the Hilltop's economy still collapsing from the 1980s recession?
It is easy to blame the Hilltop's always struggling economy on crime and poverty. But these are just results; let's start with the original causes; the modern reasons are below:
From 1848 to 1920, Columbus was the center of America's only rapid transportation system, the railroad. From this city, most of the nation could be reached faster than from anywhere else. This attracted so much warehousing and manufacturing that from about 1850-1885, Columbus was the country's fastest-growing city.
The location that made Columbus ideal for national warehousing, and distribution, also made it ideal for Washington to develop, hide and deploy secret government programs, weapons, and agents.
Washington had a problem with Columbus. Running its top-secret projects would need complete privacy on a vast scale. This was not something the nation's fastest-growing city had.
However, for the first two miles heading west from the city's border (the Scioto River) was the Franklinton Floodplain that often became a like after heavy storms. So Columbus’s rapid expansion grew in every direction, besides the west.
On the far side of the Franklinton Floodplain, the ground steeply rose 110 feet up Sullivant's Hill. Other than Camp Chase (a well-known Civil War prison camp) and several farm families, that floodplain kept Sullivant’s Hill unpopulated through the first two decades of Columbus's extreme growth.
Because a railroad had been installed over this (then forested) hill in 1848, Washington found its ideal secluded location for developing, hiding, and delivering America’s secrets.
Because trains were their only method of rapid transportation, Washington realized they needed to keep private developments and residents away from Sullivant’s Hill indefinitely. Washington had no clue that aircraft would change everything about choosing top-secret locations a half-century later. So instead of running secret programs at scattered locations, they needed this one central location to remain remote.
Due to Ohio's lack of money, that $375,000 statehouse took nearly 25 years to complete, just a couple years earlier. Washington had no choice but to quietly reimbursed the state for building by far the most expensive (and scariest) project in its 67-year history.
Ohio's new lunatic asylum cost nearly $2,000,000, which the state did not have. This asylum was something that few Ohioans wanted or state politicians even discussed.
It was also about 13 times larger than the state legislature had determined Ohio needed to replace the one that was torched in 1868. In fact, the state had already started building that replacement on Columbus's east side just several months earlier.
That comparably tiny asylum was abruptly canceled, and ironically its eastside property was redeveloped for mansion homes. We could not find where the state even debated building the Mount Everest of asylums, yet it cost immensely more than Ohio had.
This was one of the last "lunatic asylums" ever built. The authorities were well aware that no one wanted to come near these frightening structures unless they worked in them or were dragged to them in a straight jacket.
With its vampire bat-inspired architecture, this monstrosity, plus the nation's largest imbecile asylum Ohio simultaneously build, taking up the rest of the 650-acre ridge overlooking the city, worked as intended. They scared every unrelated development away from the Hilltop for a half-century, giving West Columbus a frightening reputation.
If you must keep the uninvited away from your big perfectly located unpopulated hill, just place the largest lunatic asylum ever built looking down the road coming up.
As the asylums kept everything away from the Hilltop, Columbus authorities herded the area's poorest people to Franklinton, with housing costing just a fraction of their side of the river. They did not want poor people mixed into their parts of town.
By the mid-1920s, aircraft allowed Washington to fly its top-secret programs to most remote wastelands, or the new "army airports."
With few federal secrets remaining, Hilltop became an extension of Franklinton's poverty. It did have several attractive neighborhoods where dozens of asylum doctors and administrators lived.
However, the remaining areas were filled with lower-cost housing, keeping almost all of the city's elected officials away.
During WWW 2, the underground facility(s) were being abandoned. Circumstances strongly support the legend, claiming the underground complex from the Civil War was stuffed with the nation's obsolete secret things, then sealed up.
In 1944 President Roosevelt persuaded General Motors to build a massive 34-acre factory above it to ensure that it would never be dug up. He also talked Westinghouse into placing an even bigger factory about 3000 feet farther north.
We have no physical proof of that base under the Westinghouse factory like we have for the one under the GM plant. However, many Hilltop residents claim it is still there.
These factories provided West Columbus with its first and only robust economy, which had almost nothing to do with local politicians. The westside's economy remained strong until the recession of the 1980s ended up closing the factories, which plunged its economy back into its officially horrid state.
It took several decades for local politicians to replace the nearly 40,000 jobs that West Columbus lost. However, since they did not live on the westside, those replaced jobs came to their parts of town.
Today West Columbus still has virtually no elected city officials who live locally. West Columbus is still like an unwanted stepchild.
They still keep it in mind for the crap they don't want around their parts of town, like junkyards, dumps, recycling centers, jails, and casinos.
Oh, but they also pulled off a sick spin on gerrymandering to make sure thousands of Hilltop residents are not even allowed to vote for Columbus Officials or programs:
West Columbus is still represented by "local" elected officials who aren't "Local."
Some come to the Westgate bean dinner to kiss a few babies or show up for some fun at the casino (they sued to force to Hilltop instead, where its owners wanted on the other side of the river).
Being controlled by Columbus's "local" elected officials, who rarely visit, is akin to Israel's leaders making the critical decisions for Palestine.
West Columbus is surrounded by Grove City, Hilliard, Upper Arlington, and Grandview. All of these towns have fewer residents than just the Hilltop alone. Yet, each of those towns has elected representatives who also live in them, offering programs and incentives to attract upscale developments and large employers.
West Columbus is not even in the conversation for upscale developments because Columbus politicians are not seriously presenting it.
Not even competing for upscale developments is just one huge reason why this hill's economy lives in continuous failure, nearly a century after Washington flew its secret programs away.
Even worse, after Washington left, Columbus leaders manipulated their local laws and boundaries to ensure that West Columbus' economy and voters remain unfairly ignored.
How did they do that?
Check out the 'white-colored lands' on this modern map:
About 25% of SW Columbus (inside the outer belt) is not actually part of Columbus, or any city, even though Columbus surrounds. This only happened within seven miles of city hall, in SW Columbus.
Have you ever heard a Columbus mayor mention that these large sections of the westside "are not in my city?"
We have not; they avoid saying this or lie about it. Proof?
They speak as if Cooper Stadium and Westland Mall are part of Columbus, yet they have never been. Only acting like they are is most of why those two eyesores have sat in ruins for decades.
Even worse, the 10,000 or so voters that live in these white areas, surrounded by Columbus, do not have a say (vote) on City officials, plans, or programs. This hinders the area's voters from forcing improvements at the ballot box or holding the attention of Columbus's politicians. Again this only happens within 7 miles of city hall, in SW Columbus.
The last four Columbus mayors pushed for the one thing that West Columbus already has in abundance: low-cost housing.
In today's case, "Affordable Housing" means building cheap homes with taxpayer assistance for people who otherwise could not qualify or afford them, which anchors poverty. Have you ever heard a Columbus mayor pushing for affordable homes near their neighborhoods?
How would you feel if your mayor pushed for cheap, subsidized housing in your community?
Central Ohio City politicians did work hard to replace the 40,000 good jobs that West Columbus has lost since 1980, but they replaced them near their homes instead of the westside.
Every other large district in Central Ohio has dramatically increased employment since 1980, as the westside continues losing more than it gains. This results from local officials, who do not even want to spend ten seconds in this part of town. Israel's leaders do not want to spend any time in Palestine either, yet they still call its shots.
The westside just lost another 2000+ jobs when Mount Carmel moved their Westside Hospital complex to Grove City, sighting "high crime levels" as their excuse. Their evacuation also closed dozens of Franklinton businesses that depended on them.
In 2016, the City of Columbus provided Big Lots with $26 million in tax incentive to move their headquarters from the Hilltop, to likely the most desirable corporate location in the entire state, at the main entrance to Ohio's wealthiest town New Albany. The residents of New Albany have more money than the citizens of Columbus, or Cleveland, Dayton, or Cincinnati.
Big Lots CEO and some of its upper management already lived in New Albany. It appears they would have either taken that fantastic site without the incentives or remained on the Hilltop, saving it from losing another 800 jobs.
Oh, there is far more:
The City of Columbus (and the surrounding towns) offer upscale developers and large-scale employers huge incentives and tax breaks to move in. However, likely the biggest economic killer of West Columbus is that no city offers incentives for those white lands, so they are not even in the discussion.
According to Columbus's books, the westside appears mostly developed because those massively underdeveloped white areas are not included. The Westland Mall and Cooper stadium sites are just the most visible examples.
In Central Ohio, this economy strangling crap only happens in West/Southwest Columbus. Its horrible economy continues perpetually because its problems are blamed on high crime and poverty, instead of 150 years of its local leaders not being local, like Israel's government running Palestine.
Fortunately, this hill has the coolest untold history in the country. By using its top-secret history to base as many forms of fun, action-packed, and musical entertainment as possible, its economy will explode with opportunities, with or without politicians.