|This article does not cite any references or sources. (August 2011)|
Harrison West is a historic, urban neighborhood located north and near west of downtown Columbus, Ohio. The neighborhood character is similar to the better-known Victorian Village just to the east. The area is bounded by Harrison Avenue on the east (which runs parallel to Neil Avenue), Goodale on the South, 5th Avenue on the North, and Olentangy River Road to the west (including "Gowdy Field"). In January 2008, the neighborhood expanded to include all of "Thurber Village" to the south east.
Developed from the Neil Farm in the early 20th century, Harrison West is characterized by Victorian and Edwardian-style homes, although the housing stock is generally more modest than the grand homes found in Victorian Village proper. Frame houses are more common than brick.
The Harrison West neighborhood area experienced urban decline throughout much of the late 20th century. Just south of Harrison West, the similar "Flytown" was destroyed during "slum clearance" in the 1960s and replaced by Interstate 670 and the "James Thurber Village" apartment and business area. Redevelopment and gentrification spreading from Victorian Village closer to downtown has transformed the area in the last two decades, accelerating with the demolition of industrial sites along the Olentangy River.
Today some of the homes have been split into rented apartments, while others remain as historical landmarks. Still others have since been purchased and restored to their original style. Numerous original houses of poor quality have been demolished and replaced with new construction in the same urban style. The Battelle Memorial Institute, a major employer, at one time owned numerous rental properties and, concerned about urban blight on its doorstep, became actively involved in area redevelopment in the 1980s.
Conversion of a 16-acre (6.5 ha) former factory site into a complex of single-family homes, flats and lofts is completing the improvement of the neighborhood into a desirable location. Life in the neighborhood centers on commercial properties along 3rd Avenue, which roughly bisects the neighborhood. Included in the development is a clubhouse that serves as the new home for the Carpe Diem String Quartet's performances.
The neighborhood was not originally intended as a separate district, but was constituted from the urban area excluded from the "Victorian Village Architectural Review" in 1974. A neighborhood association founded in 1976, like others in Columbus, advocates for city services and community projects. Current projects include water quality issues in the Olentangy River and maintenance of the Olentangy bike trail and the neighborhood parks, including a new river Park.