Columbus Mayor Ginther highlights goals for Hilltop, Linden areas in inaugural State of the City address

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — The neighborhoods of Hilltop and Linden may be across the city from one another, but they share some common problems.

Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther spent some time discussing how to help these two neighborhoods during his inaugural State of the City address on Wednesday night.

image1From blighted houses to drugs and violence, some neighbors in Linden and Hilltop said there are problems in their communities with which the city could help.

“There’s a lot of people being killed for no reason and then people on drugs and it’s just a mess,” Charleace Barnes said.

Barnes moved to Columbus a year ago from Florida. She doesn’t live far from Linden and said the area could be rough at night.

“By 8 o’clock, I’m usually in the house,” Barnes said.

Community leaders in Linden and Hilltop told NBC4 fixing problems will take a comprehensive approach.

“If we address them piecemeal, it’s almost like putting a Bandaid on a bigger cut,” said donna Hicho, executive director of the Greater Linden Development Corporation. “But if you address it correctly, it can heal and it can be better than it was before.”

Rosa Freeman, a grandmother to 11 boys, said her daughter and son both live in the Linden area and that help from the city could be big.

“It needs some improvement,” Freeman said. “A little bit always helps.”

image2Among the problems she mentioned were blighted and abandoned housing and a lack of opportunities for young people.

“They’re trying to keep [their sons] from the streets, basically,” Freeman said of her children. “That’s basically what it is, you know. Just trying to maintain. Everybody’s trying to maintain.”

Over in Hilltop, Gregory Carpenter told NBC4 he thought the city could help with employment resources.

“People need jobs,” Carpenter said. “You got Burger King and White Castle and everything else, you know what I mean. Put some more warehouse jobs around, so where people [don’t have] to travel so far.”

Carpenter moved back to Ohio from Arizona six months ago to be near his family. He told NBC4 he had been working in Worthington but is now out of work.

“Sometimes it can be stressful, but I keep a level head on my shoulders,” Carpenter said. “All I can do is take it one day at a time.”

Despite the problems in these neighborhoods, community leaders said Linden and Hilltop have a lot to offer.

“We have a richness here,” Hicho said. “And if we combine that richness with some resources from the outside, we can make this neighborhood what it used to be and better.” provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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