Ohio University at Portsmouth


“The Portsmouth Branch of Ohio University started another school year September 18th with 713 students attending classes. This record-breaking enrollment again makes Portsmouth the largest Ohio University Branch, and is a new high for its 18 year history.”

“The Portsmouth Branch held its first night class at Portsmouth High School in 1946. However, the Branch enrollment soon taxed the facilities of the High School, and in September, 1961, classes moved to a renovated Griffin Hall, and a new Day Branch was opened.”

“The popularity of the Portsmouth Branch was demonstrated when $100,000 was privately raised by the citizens to remodel and convert the former Massie School Building into the University Extension Building, Griffin Hall.”

“Today this building is bulging at the seams, and the need for further expansion is evident.”

“In view of the pressing need for additional educational facilities, the City of Portsmouth is proceeding with an Urban Renewal Project to provide an exceptional site for Branch expansion.”

“This Urban Renewal effort is called ‘The University Project.'”

Location of ‘University Project’ Area

(See Yellow Area-Locality Map)

“The ‘University Project’ area extends along the Ohio River for three blocks immediately south of the Portsmouth Central Business District.”

“Griffin Hall is located in the Project area at Second and Chillicothe Streets, and the area proposed for University use adjoins Griffin Hall to the east.”

“The levee and river offer an attractive setting for a campus, and would provide considerable recreation and open space. The downtown site offers excellent access for the commuting population of the University, and the eventual relocation of Route 23 will mean less traffic and noise and a more quiet campus. The site will contribute much to the area without occupying land valuable for commercial development.”

The Project Area planned for institutional use is located south of Second Street, between Chillicothe and Bond Streets. The Project also includes the block north of Second Street and west of Chillicothe Street.”

“Preliminary plans for this latter block call for commercial and parking reuse for the University, the Municipal Building, west of Griffin Hall, and the southern portion of the downtown.”

“The potential of the expanded college area is tremendous. It would have a definite impact on the business district, and the college would benefit from its close downtown location.”

“The area east of Bond Street and south of Second Street also provides room for future expansion of the campus all the way to Offnere Street, a total area of approximately 40 acres.”

Locality Map

Existing Land Use

“The Existing Land Use Map (below) shows the Project Boundary and properties involved. Blocks 3, 4, and 5 area designated for University Use, and Blocks 1 and 2 area for parking and business reuse.”

“There are 105 parcels of land in the total Project Area. 79 parcels are located in the University Area (Blocks 3, 4, & 5), and 26 in the parking and commercial area (Blocks 1 & 2).”

“Residential uses comprise 7.7 acres of land, and non-residential uses 10.7 acres. There are 122 structures of which 96 are in predominantly residential use, and 26 are in commercial or non-residential use. 71, or 74%, of the residences were rated substandard, and 8, or 31%, of the non-residential structures were rated substandard.”

“There are 121 families in the Project Area (including 12 single-person households), and 20 business concerns.”

“Environmental deficiencies include mixed land uses, inadequate lot widths, general deterioration, and age of existing buildings, excessive dwelling unit density, and traffic conditions. There has been a notable lack of new construction or residential reconstruction despite the fact that the area is located almost in the very heart of the City.”

“The land slopes gently from Second Street to the earthen levee which provides protection considered adequate against all future floods. Considerable land outside the flood levee could also be developed for recreation purposes such as tennis courts, etc.”

“One piece of property located on Second Street, east of Chillicothe Street, is shown on the Existing Land map as ‘Not to be acquired.’ This is the James Dickey Post, American Legion. It is now planned to acquire this property to permit complete clearance of the area for University Development.”

“A pumping station located near the section of the flood wall at the rear of the City Garage must be maintained, and will not be acquired.”

“Major commercial buildings in the University Area which must be cleared include the Glockner Chevrolet Company, the City Garage, Warner-Wall Transfer Company, the Boy Scout Building, and the Legion Hall. The rest of the buildings are residences.”

Existing Land Use Map

Acreage in the Project Area

(See Project Acreage Map)

Estimated Acreage in Total Area of Project (Blocks 1, 2, 3, 4, & 5)
Total Built-up: 18.4 acres
Total streets, alleys: 9.4 acres
Total: 27.8 acres

Estimated Acreage in Area Proposed for University Use (Blocks 3, 4, & 5)
Built-up: 10.3 acres
Streets*-alleys: 2.8 acres
Total: 13.1 acres

Estimated Acreage in Area Proposed for Parking, Etc. (Blocks 1 & 2)
Built-up: 2.7 acres
Alleys**: .3 acres
Total**: 3.0 acres

*- Front and Gay Streets east of Chillicothe Street included.
**- No streets involved.
*- Difference in Built-up Totals represents properties such as Griffin Hall, Municipal Building, Fowler Building, Patterson Paper Box Company, and Lewis Furniture Company, not to be acquired for Project.
**- Difference in streets, and alleys totals represents Chilliothe, Second, Third, and Washington Streets sections not to be vacated.

Block 1– Built-up: 2.4 acres. Streets, Alleys: 0.3 acres.
Block 2– Built-up: 0.3 acres. Streets, Alleys: 0.0 acres.
Total- Built-up: 2.7 acres. Streets, Alleys: 0.3 acres.

Block 3- Built-up: 3.0 acres. Streets, Alleys: 0.6 acres.
Block 4- Built-up: 3.0 acres. Streets, Alleys: 0.2 acres.
Block 5 (west)– Built-up: 2.0 acres. Streets, Alleys: 1.05 acres.
Block 5 (east)– Built-up: 2.3 acres. Streets, Alleys: 0.95 acres.

Acreage By Blocks or Combinations of Blocks
Block #3 plus Block #5 (west) including alleys and the section of Front Street seperating them (but excluding Gay Street) Total: 6.35 acres.

Block #4 plus Block #5 (east) including alleys and the section of Front Street seperating them (but excluding Gay & Bond Streets) Total: 6.45 acres.

Block #5 (east and west) including alleys (but excluding any streets) Total: 4.6 acres.

Block #3 plus Block #4 including alleys and Gay Street (but excluding Bond & Front Streets) Total 6.8 acres.

Blocks #3, #4, #5 (east and west) including Front and Gay Streets, and all alleys, (but excluding Second, Chillicothe, and Bond Streets, and Pump Station) Land and Alleys, 11.1 acres, streets 2 acres. Total 13.1 acres.

University Acreage Map

Next Steps

“The City of Portsmouth and its Planning Consultants are now completing various studies and surveys in the Project area; determining costs and preparing an Urban Renewal Plan, and other documentation required for the Project. These procedures, carefully spelled out in the Housing Act of 1949, as amended, are designed to safeguard the rights of owners and tenants within the Project area.”

“Prior to final approval by the City and Federal authorities, public hearings will be required along with formal commitments and agreements on the part of the City, and others with respect to the financing of the local share of the Project costs.”

“The formal execution of the Project starts when the City enters into a Loan and Capital Grant Contract with the Housing and Home Finance Agency to carry out the Project. Negotiations are entered into with property owners based on two independent appraisals. (One such appraisal is now in progress.) Upon purchase of properties, families and businesses are relocated and buildings demolished. When the area has been cleared, and necessary improvements to streets, water, and utility systems have been made, the land will be sold for redevelopment.”

“The process of disposition is the final stage in the program. The Project land in Blocks 1 and 2 probably will be sold to private investors for new construction in accordance with the controls set forth in the Urban Renewal Plan. The Project land in Blocks 3, 4, and 5 probably will be sold to a non-profit corporation, and turned over to Ohio University for a site for constructing new buildings.”


“The City of Portsmouth recognizes that its most important renewal job is to provide decent, safe, and sanitary housing at rents and prices that Project area families can afford.”

To accomplish this, a Relocation Plan is being developed to assure the relocation of families with minimum distruption or hardship.”

“Individual rehousing needs will be determined by personal interviews with all project residents, and a Relocation expert will be available to assist residents and businesses in solving their relocation problems.”

“Lists of available rental and sale housing will be compiled and families referred to dwellings that meet their needs and are within the price range they can afford.”

“Project area families that meet the requirements for admission to low rent public housing will be given top priority for apartments in these projects as vacancies occur. Families will be be required to move until adequate housing is found for them.”

“Displaced families will be paid up to $200 for actual moving expenses, and a displaced business will be reimbursed for actual moving expenses.”

“A family interested in purchasing its own home may take advantage of the liberal ‘221’ mortgage assistance program of the Federal Housing Administration. Financial advantages include a low initial down payment and closing charge, a reasonable rate of interest, and an amortization period of up to 40 years.”

March 1963: Revised Estimated Schedule of Progress for University Project

March 27, 1963
To: City Council, Department Heads, Workable Program Committee, Press
From: Franklin T Gerlach, City Manager
Subject: Revised Estimated Schedule of Progress on Portsmouth’s First Urban Renewal Project, known as ‘University Project.

“The City of Portsmouth’s consultant on Urban Renewal, Candeub, Fleissig & Associates of Newark, New Jersey, has prepared a revised approximate time schedule for the various steps in the planning and execution of the City’s first urban renewal project. The schedule is listed below and relates to the many steps that require Federal Urban Renewal action as well as to those requiring local action. The schedule should be considered as a guideline and will probably require re-examination periodically as the work proceeds.”

October 1962– Submission of Survey and Planning Application
April 1963– Approval of Survey and Planning Application*
May 1963– Start on detailed planning, property appraisals, cost estimates, etc.
September 1963– Submission of Part I of Loan and Grant Application (including plans, cost estimates, relocation program, etc.)
February 1964– Approval of Part I of Loan and Grant Application (which includes Urban Renewal Agency comments on Application)*
March 1964– Public hearings on proposed program (as required by law)
April 1964– Submission of Part II of Loan and Grant Application (evidence of public hearing and reply to Urban Renewal Agency comments.)**
May 1964– Approval of Part II of Loan and Grant Application (authorization to execute project.)*
June 1964– Commencement of land purchases.
July 1964– Commencement of relocation activities.
August 1964– Commencement of site clearance.
August 1964– Preliminary initiation of disposition activities.
May 1965– Completion of land acquisition.
June 1965– Completion of relocation activities.
July 1965– Commencement of site improvements.
August 1965– Completion of site clearance.
June 1966– Completion of site improvements and land disposition.

*- The review by Urban Renewal Agency will, of course, depend upon its work-load, as each submission is received. These figures are rough estimates based upon past experience.”

**- At this point all costs are relatively firm and decisions must be reached on the definite provisions of grants-in-aid, etc.