To the editor:
The Oread neighborhood was once defined by homes bordering the campus and a few small neighborhood sandwich or pizza shops with a scattering of student beer joints between Oread Avenue and down the hill toward downtown.
One year ago, the new Oread Hotel displaced a small cluster of wood frame buildings and a historic home on Indiana. Ten years ago, a tug of war began as the university expanded with donor-funded scholarship halls into the neighborhood, leveling historic homes on Ohio. Between 20 and 30 years ago, many large homes were razed along Louisiana and near the top of the hill.
College towns often have residential districts which wrap around the campus and traditionally include small commercial properties which provide for small business and may form an area or small community where kindred spirits communicate in a network of social activities.
In our case the interaction of a few small businesses, the ECM building and student housing in nearby homes and apartments had over decades formed a small group of similar buildings making a place, now replaced.
The new hotel appeared like a giant sand castle. Who could not forget the urge to build so permanently of stone; now we have a giant cell tower signal fortress visually in contradiction to the nature of hospitality and hoteliery.
The complaint widely heard is that the hotel’s “auto-court” main entrance has caused the former sidewalk gathering place that facilitated student interaction at that intersection to vanish.