2015 Year in Review
Another year has come and gone, and 2015 was an incredibly busy one here at Columbus Underground. It can sometime be easy to overlook just how much happened over the past 365 days, so we pause for a moment to reflect upon just how important of a year this was in the city of Columbus. Below, you’ll find a chronological list of some of the most important, significant, buzzworthy or otherwise interesting news from throughout the past year. Enjoy — and Happy New Year!
COTA announced that bus ridership levels had reached their highest numbers since 1986. One of the biggest retail announcements of 2015 came early in that IKEA officially announced their plans to open a Columbus store in 2017. While the wound was still fresh from Stone Brewing skipping over Columbus for a brewery expansion, they did give Columbus an endorsement for BrewDog, which ended up coming to fruition. In other brewery news, Wolf’s Ridge opened their long-awaited tap room in January. In Upper Arlington, Kroger finalized the purchase of the old Macy’s site, which will lead to two major grocery competitors side-by-side at Kingsdale. A bit of an oddball story ended up being wildly popular when we revealed declassified government documents on UFO sightings in Columbus. In Grandview, Sweet Carrot announced their plans to renovate the old Rife’s Market into a new restaurant. We learned in January that marriage equality might be happening in 2015. Glass Axis officially reopened in a relocated Franklinton space, adding more arts to the new arts district. And Lyft called it quits in Columbus, leaving Uber a monopoly on the local rideshare marketplace.
One of the biggest disappointments of 2015 came in 2016, when Columbus lost out on the DNC2016 bid to Philadelphia. COTA announced new airport bus service planned for 2016. Mayor Coleman hosted his final State of the City address. OSU announced major redevelopment plans around 15th and High. The Columbus Foundation celebrated lots of #1 recognitions. Rogue Fitness announced big plans to relocate the company to Milo-Grogan. The North Market announced plans to expand their hours of operation. Columbus Underground hosted its first-ever Best Bites: Sweet Treats event to a sellout crowd at Strongwater. And we took an in depth look at the work that Homeport does to address affordable housing issues in Columbus.
The long-discussed “Food District ” project began searching for a new home. The Main Columbus Library closed its doors for sixteen months of major renovations. The Jefferson Center celebrated its 40th anniversary. CoGo bike share announced expansion plans for new neighborhoods. Crew Stadium officially became Mapfre Stadium. We had a great in depth discussion with foodie and AIDS research advocate Ted Allen (who’s also a Columbus native). Mount Carmel announced plans to relocate from Franklinton to Grove City. And we found out more about our new sister city: Accra, Ghana.
As always, we kicked off this month with a round of April Fools Day jokes, including one about Mayor Coleman changing his mind and announcing a run for a fifth term in office. Crimson Cup Coffee announced an Upper Arlington location. Columbus Underground hosted its 2nd annual Best Bites: Burgers event with 700 people in attendance. Work continued on the Chicago-to-Columbus High Speed Rail proposal. BrewDog mentioned that they were considering a Columbus expansion. The Surly Girl Saloon closed up its doors and hung up its spurs. COTA announced an ambitious plan to shift Downtown workers from cars to buses, while CEO Curtis Stitt spoke with CU about the future of transit. Jeffrey Tumlin also chimed in on the future of transit. During the final months of marriage inequality, activists continued to support their cause. And MadLab Theatre celebrated 20 years.
The Funny Bone comedy club began a major expansion project. The Big Give 24-hour fundraising campaign raised over $15 million for local nonprofits. Columbus Underground hosted its second annual Urban Living Tour with over 600 in attendance. New development concepts for walkable neighborhoods fired up new discussion for the future. State lawmakers began the process of bringing wine to farmers markets. Columbus Landmarks announced their most endangered building list. Bonchon chicken officially expanded to Columbus. Andrew Ginther took the lead in the four-way mayoral primary race. And Mayor Coleman took the stage to talk about body cameras for police officers.
Marriage equality arrived in Ohio with the overturning of 2004’s same-sex marriage ban. The formerly locally-owned Columbus Dispatch was sold to a national parent company. The local political landscape heated up when a Redflex executive admitted to bribing Columbus officials, causing Mayor Coleman and City Council President Ginther to respond. BrewDog confirmed their expansion to Central Ohio with a large brewery in Canal Winchester. Construction began on the new Tanger Outlet Mall. Jeni’s Ice Creams re-opened retail outlets after months of dealing with listeria contamination issues. The ambitious new Art Makes Columbus marketing campaign launched. And we looked *way* ahead to the future — to the year 2044.
In July we learned just how much the cost of apartment living is increasing in Columbus. Cooled off with some local Root Beer floats. Ohio Governor John Kasich announced he was running for President. Jeff Regensburger took a look at some outsider art on Morse Road. We took a couple of road trips around the state, including this cool castle outside Cincinnati. Mayor Coleman officiated a dozen same sex marriages in one day. And local artists returned to the parks with a new tree installation project.
In August we took a long-term look at how commuter traffic has changed in Columbus. Jeni’s officially reopened their production kitchen. The CYP Club celebrated 10 years. Columbus City Schools launched their new health academy program. Columbus Underground hosted its first ever Best Bites: Tacos event with a sold out crowd of 1000 attendees. A well-discussed editorial claimed that local bands should charge more for their shows. Columbus Underground helped round up supplies for a school drive. We closed out the summer with some picnicking. And Jeff Regensburger took a fresh look at graffiti as an art form.
Middle West Spirits began a major facility update in The Short North. A fire broke out at a historic abandoned church, which is planned to be saved. Our readers voted on their top architectural projects of 2015. The Clintonville Co-Op announced that it would be closing up shop. We took a look back five years to check on updates to the 2010 Downtown Development Plan. The Columbus Clippers won the Governors’ Cup. City officials announced an ambitious plan to plant 300,000 new trees. We went deep underground to photograph a tunnel excavation project. And Studio 35 announced plans to add a second screen.
In October, we got an inside look at the Columbus Metro Library renovation project. Researchers discovered a dangerous problem at the bottom of Lake Erie. Demolition of the Carl Brown IGA took place on the Near East Side. The Columbus Museum of Art re-opened with a new expansion. We launched the new Wardrobe Therapy series. Both Mayoral Candidates participated in live video interviews with Columbus Underground. CEOs for Cities announced that they’d be bringing their annual conference to Columbus in 2016. CU Writer Jesse Bethea penned a much-discussed article on what it’s like to be black and outside. And Shadowbox launched their most ambitious new show to date.
Andrew Ginther won election as the next Mayor of Columbus, while marijuana legalization failed to pass. Rockmill Brewing announced plans to open up a bar in German Village. The Scioto Greenways riverfront revitalization project wrapped up construction. Rigsby’s Kitchen announced that it would be permanently closing. We took a look at the idea of replacing the Columbus city flag. A new 12-story condo building was announced in the Arena District. Columbus scored well when it comes to attracting new Millennials. And presidential candidate Donald Trump stopped by for a visit.
In December, the Columbus Crew SC made it all the way to the championship game, but lost to the Portland Timbers. Bernies announced that it would be closing after 40 years in business. Leaders in Milo-Grogan discussed Rogue Fitness and the future of the neighborhood. A controversial new development was proposed just north of OSU. Franklin Township leaders announced the likely demolition of Westland Mall. Wall Street Nightclub announced that it would close at the end of the year. Columbus completed a four-year abandoned home demolition project. And last but not least, Mayor Coleman sat down with Columbus Underground for a final exit interview.