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After Years Of Segregation, American Addition Has City's Attention—And Investment

A neighborhood just east of the Ohio State Fairgrounds has long been associated with outhouses and wood-burning stoves. But it's becoming increasingly known for a community garden and new homes.

About two miles east of the fairgrounds, on Joyce Avenue, you'll come across a small enclave known as American Addition. It's a sparsely-populated neighborhood with green spaces and a rural feel. It was settled by African Americans fleeing the South in the early 1900s, but it didn't get city water or sewer service for another half-century.

Life-long resident Marie Moreland-Short, 66, remembers those harder times.

"It was just a forgotten neighborhood," Moreland-Short said. "The homes were just really deplorable. A lot of people just coming into the neighborhood just to survive."

But times have changed. A once-barren corner on Joyce Avenue now holds an award-winning community garden. The non-profit organization Homeporthas built more than a dozen new homes in American Addition and plans to build more.

Moreland-Short was one of the driving forces in pushing former Mayor Michael Coleman to invest $11 million in beautifying the neighborhood. City council this week voted to spend another $4 million on streets, alleys and sidewalks.

"That history is always going to be there," Moreland-Short said. "That's the important part of all of this, to see the transition from old to new."

Hear Moreland-Short's full conversation with WOSU's Steve Brown.