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Opinion: Do Columbus Officials Want Amazon’s HQ2 in Franklinton?

Craig Wise Craig Wise Opinion: Do Columbus Officials Want Amazon’s HQ2 in Franklinton?Photo via defense.gov.
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If based on the political abuse and avoidance history of Franklinton over the last 207 years, no they do not.

It is almost like local politicians are scared of any company that could bring 50,000 new jobs to town because that company could suddenly have enough political and business clout to take economic control of Columbus.

Just for starters, 50,000 people could decide local elections, change ancient entrenched agendas, and empower outsider candidates. Additionally, city leaders may assume the excuse that Columbus (at least the parts they frequent) already has more employment and congestion than they want.

However, because Franklinton’s economy has been bullied by city and state officials, and big business leaders, for about 196 of the last 207 years, its hidden potential actually makes it the finest location in the Midwest, likely the country, for Amazon’s second HQ.

Since so much of Franklinton is already abandoned and crumbling, if I were the mayor or a city councilman, I would be constantly asking the public to post every entertaining video they can make to YouTube and Instagram, with their reasons why Amazon needs to come here, on top of everything else I could get the city and state to incentivize. #Columbuslovesamazon

Bringing these 50,000 middle-class jobs to the westside would finally replace the 50,000 jobs that this area has lost since the mid-70s recession. This should be the #1 priority of Columbus and even Ohio’s elected officials, as well as city business leaders until the day that Amazon announces their decision.

But no, it is not mentioned.

Too much loss of control and power at risk?

Do you doubt this?

As of August 3rd, I could not find one word about bringing Amazon to Columbus at either columbus.gov or at the Columbus Chamber of Commerce’s website, columbus.org. Doesn’t almost every politician promise to bring in more jobs while campaigning?

Maybe they just mean “bring in a few more jobs”. It appears they quiet way down when the motherlode of jobs is at their fingertips.

50,000 new jobs plus the several thousand Amazon already has (or is bringing) to the area, would give them about twice as many employees as the Ohio State University, which has been Central Ohio’s largest employer, and arguably controller, for many decades.

Do you think OSU’s Board of Directors wants to suddenly fall to a distant second place, after dominating this city for the last lifetime?

Do you think any of these huge money individuals are also sitting on Amazon’s Board?

Do you think they want Amazon’s HQ coming here?

Wouldn’t Amazon’s Board of Directors be automatically motivated to want almost everyone everywhere prospering even more?

I did not spend all day searching for these two “Columbus” websites, but if they really wanted Amazon’s new HQ to come to Franklinton, these sites would look like Amazon shrines touting endless reasons for them to come, and or to also make them feel so welcomed they would think they were dealing with Cleveland. But instead, nothing.

Amazon’s presence might triple Franklinton’s commercial property values and double the home values on the Hilltop, simply because the properties are under extreme distress after the last 60 years of economic avoidance by elected and business leaders.

Just the massive increase in property and income tax revenues that Columbus would receive from its entire westside should be lighting up Columbus.gov like a flashing Amazon Christmas tree. This massive long-term windfall would end up benefiting all of the citizens of Columbus, and surrounding areas, but nothing is even posted about it.

With the Mt. Carmel West Complex shutdown, the area has the room to redevelop thousands of new homes, condos, and apartments, so the extra road traffic could be greatly reduced. Furthermore this area also already has the lightest road traffic inside I-270 with wonderful rapid access to five freeways, railroads, two large airports, and today’s downtown is just a 10-minute walk east.

It is time for city and state leaders to do the right thing, like only Governor James A. Rhodes did, for the economy of this side of town. He offered GM and Westinghouse enough to convince them to build two large factories here when he was this city’s mayor in 1945.

The latest news rumor is that Amazon is going to choose the city that provides them the most incentives, and I see nothing that indicates this town’s leadership is even trying to make them feel welcomed.

These incentives are far more than just bribing Amazon, in this case they would be like compensation to all of residents and businesses west of Downtown that have had to struggle since city leadership (in the mid 50s), decided not to call most of the large still underdeveloped sites, only on this side of town (within 10 miles of city hall) “Columbus”.

Because this political avoidance has kept the west Columbus area from having the big incentives city leaders offered to large upscale developers over the last 60 years, as this area’s largest employers died off or left, their replacements went to the other sides of town, leaving only this one side in economic shambles.

Without economic leadership from the area we now call Upper Columbus (West-SW Columbus area excluding suburban cities), screaming at city and state officials, who may only come to this side of town to gamble or get a fine new tattoo, to fix this economic nightmare that their predecessors caused, it is a safe bet that Amazon’s HQ will not be coming this way either.

The Upper Columbus project is about uniting and promoting around two dozen West-SW Columbus and “No City” communities that Columbus already surrounds, so their economies cannot be ignored for another 200 years.

Our first challenge is to create the Upper Columbus Chamber of Commerce, so at least one group of local leaders will be only promoting this entire Upper Columbus area. Too bad it does not exist yet.

But the next best thing is for everyone in Ohio to start screaming at politicians to roll out the world’s largest welcome mat, filled with enough incentive to close this deal, since they already have the best location in the Midwest, just wasting away.

– Craig Wise

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