City: New homes rising in historic black neighborhood [Columbus Alive]

Drive north on Joyce Avenue, past industrial parks and over railroad tracks, and you’ll see the humble entrance to a forgotten neighborhood not far from East Fifth Avenue.

You might pass it except for a small, white sign on your right-hand side.

The area is tiny, and a good deal of the houses sit on large lots with the kind of trees and grasses you might see on an old farm. The narrow, quiet streets lack sidewalks, storm sewers and curbs.

What appears to be a small rural village dropped into the city’s urban core is called American Addition, and it was one of Central Ohio’s first black settlements.

Now, after decades of decline, the neighborhood is seeing new life.

“I want to bring people back to this area,” said Mayor Michael Coleman, who pledged $4 million in infrastructure improvements to the neighborhood during his State of the City address in February. “The money is there, and it’s ready to go.”

Over the next decade, more people will be able to return.

Construction crews recently broke ground on a series of single-family homes. These buildings are kicking off a four-stage development project by nonprofit developer Homeport, also known as the Columbus Housing Partnership.

[continue reading at Columbus Alive]