RAPID 5 envisions a transformation of Central Ohio’s quality of life by leveraging our local waterways and vibrant green spaces. One of the chief goals is to redefine regional connectivity, aligning it with the natural geography defined by our local waterways. The goal is to connect all Franklin County residents to the region’s natural, cultural, and economic resources, fostering opportunities for recreation, commuting, commerce, education, and relaxation.

This vision resonated with me specifically because it appears to stand in contrast with the destruction caused by the Interstate Highway Act of the 1950s. Over the next decade federal and state highway builders purposefully targeted black and brown communities to make way for the modern highways we see today. In some instances, they took homes by eminent domain, and claimed that these communities were not worth saving, when in most cases they were vibrant and even thriving.

This specifically impacted the Hanford Village community in Columbus, this suburb was developed in 1946 and became a haven for soldiers returning from World War II. It was explicitly marketed by the developer as “Homes for Negro families,” and the community attracted Tuskegee Airmen which were made up of the 332nd fighter group. The I-70 decimated the community, dividing it, and driving out home owners and business’ alike. Hanford Village was recognized recently by the National Register of Historic Places and a historic marker states, in part: "Although the highway divides us, our memories are never lost.".

The RAPID 5 bravely envisions the process of untangling the damage of the highway system and stitching back together the fragmented and devastated neighborhood. To be clear this is all just a vision, an idea without a comprehensive plan, and very little funding. But hope is a powerful thing, sometimes the only thing.

A highway splittinga suburban neighbourhood

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