Ann B. Walker public plaza serves as the centerpiece to Adelphi Quarter project
In a continued effort to cement the new buildings of the Adelphi Quarter into the fabric of the community, the development team of Kingsley & Co. and Borror will recognize a historic community leader by dedicating the public plaza at Adelphi Quarter as the Ann B. Walker Plaza.
The team worked alongside the District One Commissioners of the Near East Side Area Commission to identify leaders in the community. Last week the development team officially dedicated the plaza on Walker’s 96th birthday. Walker’s name will be made permanent in brick above the plaza on the building that defines it.
“We had set out, alongside the community, to make sure these buildings are forever buildings that match the fabric of the neighborhood,” says Matt Canterbury, Senior Vice President of Development for Borror. “The dedication of this plaza to Ms. Walker’s name and legacy represents a connection of the history with the new structures of the Adelphi Quarter. This is important for the King Lincoln/Bronzeville community as well as to us as developers.”
Walker, a second-generation native of Columbus, is a graduate of Champion Junior High School, East High School and George Williams College. She began a career in journalism as an editorial writer for the Ohio Sentinel in 1949. In 1962, she moved to broadcasting as an on-air women’s director and Assistant News Director at WVKO Radio before joining the staff at WLWC-TV4, where she worked as the first Columbus woman in broadcast management.
As Community Services Director for Channel 4, Walker produced documentaries, anchored early-morning news and talk shows, and developed an internship program to help black students learn about careers in broadcasting (one of those students was Angela Pace!).
In 1980, Walker took a leave from Channel 4 to accept a White House appointment under President Carter to serve as Media Director for the Community Services Agency. She retired after the White House appointment and with her husband developed a travel business focused on Africa and community service and co-founded the Columbus International Program.
Walker has a long history of serving civic and community organizations on the near east side. Along with being elected as 55th Ward Committeeman, Walker served on boards including the Columbus Area Leadership Laboratory, Columbus Planned Parenthood, Columbus Zoo, Columbus Metropolitan Club and the Leukemia Society. At present, she is active with the Franklin Park Civic Association, Bronzeville Neighborhood Association, Near East Side Faith Leadership and more.
“I have always worked closely with the Near East Side community as a way to share my talents, due to obligations stemming from family and church encouragement and support,” Walker says. “I see myself as one among many who have made substantial contributions to the wellbeing of Bronzeville, and the Adelphi Quarter represents a continuation of this continuum.”
Willis Brown, president of the Bronzeville Neighborhood Association and a commissioner with the Near East Area Commission, says the dedication follows in a long neighborhood history of naming buildings after women. In its prime, the one-square-mile district recognized as Bronzeville was home to the Bernadine, “the Miranova of its time,” named after Bernadine Jones, wife of a prominent doctor. The Theresa building honored Theresa Jackson, wife of a local entrepreneur, while a neighborhood realtor named The Edna after his daughter.
“Ms. Walker is really the keystone from the past to the present. She was a young lady when Bronzeville was in its heyday, from the 1930s to the early 1960s. She remembers when they had a cabinet and their own mayor,” Brown says. “Ms. Walker represents longevity. She represents to those who are not here yet, there is a past in Bronzeville.”
The Ann B. Walker Plaza will serve as a centerpiece to the Adelphi Quarter, an urban mixed-use development located at the northeast corner of East Long Street and North Garfield Avenue. Alongside the Ann B. Walker Plaza, the development team plans to incorporate the historic façade of the Adelphi Savings and Loan Bank in recognition of the historic precedence of the neighborhood’s past vibrancy.
“We are thrilled to honor such a prominent member of the Near East Side community,” says Kingsley & Co. President Chinendum Nkukwe. “Ms. Walker’s legacy as an individual of high integrity, philanthropy and vision symbolizes the purpose and intent of the soul of the Adelphi Quarter.”
The Adelphi Quarter will feature 9,000 square feet of retail space, including a restaurant and leasing office, and 130 apartments, including studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom units. Eighty percent of the units will be moderately priced workforce housing, made possible through a partnership between co-developers Borror and Kingsley & Co., Columbus Next Generation and the City of Columbus.
The project continues to work through its various approval processes, and while there is no hard date set for construction, the developer sees it coming soon. Canterbury explains, “We anticipate starting in the upcoming months. We continue to work towards making sure all the pieces and parts are aligned to insure the most successful project possible. This is going to be a project that is a catalyst for responsible growth for the area.”