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Gladden Community House

Franklinton is changing. You can’t stand on Town Street east of 315 and throw a rock without hitting a microbrewery, art gallery, or a food truck. However, there is a side of Franklinton, west of 315, that many people don’t see. No hip, new eateries grace the corners. Instead, poverty and crime run rampant and [...]
Aaron Wetli

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Franklinton is changing. You can’t stand on Town Street east of 315 and throw a rock without hitting a microbrewery, art gallery, or a food truck. However, there is a side of Franklinton, west of 315, that many people don’t see. No hip, new eateries grace the corners. Instead, poverty and crime run rampant and children go to bed hungry—all against the backdrop of rising rents that are driving multigenerational families out of their homes. This is where the Gladden Community House, a resource center that has been serving Franklinton since Teddy Roosevelt was president, steps in and makes a difference.

The Gladden Community House was opened in 1905 by Dr. Washington Gladden, and has been a steadfast and consistent resource hub for the residents of Franklinton ever since. During the Great Depression, GCH was a district office for New Deal Programs and during World War II, GCH offered day care for children of battlefield soldiers and factory mothers.

In the years since, GCH has become a beacon of light that has been serving central Ohio’s oldest community with pride.
A preschool program takes care of 60 children between the ages of 3 and 5, and a food pantry serves over 1,000 families each month. Afterschool programs provide meals, snacks and educational services. GCH also offers a senior outreach program and a team sports program that provides structure and purpose to 500 youths that help to meet the needs of both young and old.

“We are doing our best to serve and revitalize the community as opposed to gentrifying the community,” explained Joy Chivers, the CEO of Gladden House. “We use our programs as well as trying to work with area landlords to help prevent homelessness. Preventing homelessness is our number one priority.”

“We are doing our best to serve and revitalize the community as opposed to gentrifying the community,”

And that seems to be the rub—revitalization, the rebuilding of a community, as opposed to gentrification, a type of development in which property values become inflated through investing in low-cost properties. In fact, rents on the Columbus’s west side were stable for many years, but have increased as much as 50% in the past five years. The wages that people in West Franklinton— and all around the country—typically earn haven’t come close to keeping up with that rate, so long term residents have no other alternative than to leave the community that they have known their whole lives.

Kevin Ballard, GCH Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, says, “Our families are deeply rooted here. They have lived and worked in this community for generations. We want to help keep them here and as the neighborhood changes, help them find employment opportunities.”

As West Franklinton struggles to keep long-term families together, the neighborhood struggles with the same issues that other urban Appalachian communities struggle with: opioid addiction, crime, prostitution, and gun violence.

These factors make the GCH After School Program more important than ever. According to Lori Barton, who teaches at Avondale Elementary (the elementary school directly across the street from GCH) during the day and tutors at GCH in the evening, “Gladden is a place for students to go after school, get a hot meal and help with homework as well as much needed one-on-one attention from positive adult role models who care deeply about them.”

For many students across the city, positive adult role models are the norm, but for the students at GCH, positive role models can be the exception to the rule. Joseph Belmonte, who owns and operates his own home improvement and remodeling business and who also moonlights as a local celebrity auctioneer, grew up in Franklinton and was often at, as he affectionately and colloquially calls it, “Gladdens.”
Belmonte reports, “Growing up, I would go to Gladdens to play basketball and baseball and during the summer took advantage of the boxed lunch program. For myself and my family Gladdens was a way to keep up with community issues and to get to know your neighbors. I wouldn’t be where I am today without Gladdens.”

So, what can you do to help GCH keep representing and serving Franklinton? For starters, according to Chivers, you can donate your “time, talents, or treasures.” GCH is always looking for volunteers to help with serving food and cleaning up after meals. Funds are needed to purchase materials for tutoring and sports programs. Your experience not only has a positive impact on the Franklinton community, but
gets you “out of your bubble” as well. And who couldn’t use that once in a while?

“Come here to meet the people and see more than just the bad parts. We have a great community and great people,” said Chivers.

To donate your time, talents, or treasure, visit gladdenhouse.org.

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Community

Clintonville shop earns “America’s Best” award

614now Staff

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Clintonville's Johnny Velo Bikes has been named one of the top bike shops in the nation according to an industry source.

Johnny Velo Bikes has received an America’s Best Bike Shop award from the National Bike Dealers Association (NBDA). The shop is among only six in Ohio to earn the distinction.

“It's an honor to be recognized as one of the best bike shops out of more 4,000 shops in the country," owner John Robinson said in a statement. "We've only been in business for two years, but we've worked very hard to create a professional and friendly atmosphere for our customers."

The NBDA's America's Best Bike Shops program identifies and rewards bicycle stores in North America against the highest performance standards in the industry. The awards are issued based on an application and secret shopper process, with shops scored on layout and design, staff and management, training, marketing, and community involvement.

Contact John Robinson at 614-333-0012 or [email protected] for all your bike-related needs. For details on the shop, visit www.johnyyvelobikes.com.

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Arts & Culture

Maker’s Space: Kato Mitchell

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Following an initial disastrous experience with attempting to refurbish a personal pair of sneakers with acrylic paint years ago, a friend noticed Mitchell’s persistence, aiding him to perfect his craft. Though he began with primarily focusing on restoring his friends’ worn-down sneakers, Mitchell’s business, Work The Custom, has expanded to designing apparel in any range.

Just months after being highlighted as cleat designer for Braxton Miller’s Charg1ng summer football camp in Dayton, Mitchell’s clientele has accrued some big names in the sports world, and he has no intention of stopping. (614) caught up with Mitchell to learn more about Work The Custom, and his hope for reconstructing apparel in Columbus and beyond.

(614): When did you decide to transition from football to design?
KM: I’ve always had a passion for drawing and art, [but] I just lost my vision when I took actual art classes and didn’t like what we were doing. After college, I didn’t get any NFL calls, [and] I was trying to figure out what else I would love to do every day, and fell back in love with art.

What was your leap from “this thing I do” to the thing to do? How do you promote your work? After I realized how many people wanted to show who they really are with art, and I was someone who could help do that, that was my ironing point. I promote my work through Instagram and Facebook for the most part, but I do go to sneaker events from time-to-time to pass out business cards.

Is this your primary gig, side gig or hobby? How did it come to be?
It’s my side gig for the moment, but trying to grow and learn to make it my full-time career. I had a pair of shoes that were beat up and didn’t want to buy more so I painted them, but one of my friends taught me the game and how to prosper from it.

What life changes do you feel have propelled your work? How have your customizations evolved? Playing football for a place like Ohio State and doing work for Buckeyes in the NFL and for the OSU football team has helped grow my work faster and further. My customs have evolved just by me growing up and seeing different things, learning different things, practicing everyday, and being able to adapt.

Do you have a specific audience that you want to appeal to?
I want my work to be for everyone. My work can range from baby shoes to youth high school players of all sports, to walls of homeowners and businesses, to shoes for pro athletes.

What ingredients come together to make Columbus a fertile ground for makers, designers and creatives? Columbus is a growing market and very friendly. It has new businesses starting every week and everyone is trying to help everyone else.

What’s your six-word creative story?

Work The Custom is coming fast!

To get in contact with Mitchell, or to see more designs, follow him on Instagram at @katowork19.

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Sports

Twitter Reacts: Bucks score #1 spot in first official playoff rankings

Mike Thomas

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The first official rankings for the 2019 College Football Playoff were announced yesterday, and the Buckeyes have landed at the top of the pile. The ranking marks the first time the Buckeyes have held the #1 spot since the inception of the playoff system.

Needless to say, social media is abuzz with reactions to this historic moment for Ryan Day's squad. Enjoy this roundup of reactions to the announcement from around Twitterverse, and Go Bucks!

https://twitter.com/11W/status/1191906549750489088
https://twitter.com/BarstoolOSU/status/1191906673960652800
https://twitter.com/lawschoollex/status/1191909159815524353
https://twitter.com/CaliBuckeyeGuy/status/1191906878181105664
https://twitter.com/ESPNCFB/status/1191906381999353856
https://twitter.com/ArrogantBuckeye/status/1191907918691622913
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