General White Leads Victory Coaltion’s Fight to Improve The Image of South Columbus

  When people come to the Columbus area to visit the National Infantry Museum, Major General (Ret.) Jerry White doesn’t want them leaving with a bad impression. That’s why he is working hard for the Victory Coalition.

 

Maj. Gen. (Ret.) Jerry White

Maj. Gen. (Ret.) Jerry White

 

 

  He has been instrumental in forming the group of business leaders in South Columbus who are working to improve the reputation of that part of town. They want to put an end to its reputation as a crime infested haven for drugs and prostitution.

 

  I recounted to him a conversation I had with a young Army wife about why she and her Airborne School husband didn’t live in South Columbus. “Just think of the gas money you could save by living close to the post.”

 

  “Well, we looked it over. When saw the conditions of some of the neighborhoods with things like cars sitting on blocks in the front yards, we decided we didn’t want to live there.”

 

  “It doesn’t have to be that way, Dick,” General White told me. “We have to get the city to enforce the laws on things like that in the same way it does in other parts of town. We have to have a greater police presence in South Columbus in order for people to feel it’s a safe place. It wasn’t always like this.”

 

  I told him that I could remember when it wasn’t like that, when a lot of people from all over Columbus went to South Columbus to go to the nice restaurants like the Coco Super Club. “And,” he added to my list, “the Villa Nova and Black Angus. Black Angus was my favorite,” he said. “A lot of people just don’t understand. They don’t even know why Victory Drive is called Victory Drive, that it’s named that in honor of the great victory that ended World War Two.”

 

  General White is getting some solid backing in his quest to improve the area. His good friend Sam Friedman recently opened the new Suburban Extended Stay Hotel on Victory Drive.  Columbus’ only USO is located there. The United Service Organization came into being during World War Two to help soldiers away from home fight loneliness with things like dances, ping pong, basketball, and movies. Columbus had a big one on 9th Street  for white soldiers and a smaller one for African American soldiers. Jim Crow was alive and well then. They were packed during the war, but Columbus had been without one for years.

 

Suburban Extended Stay Hotel

Suburban Extended Stay Hotel

 

 

  The hotel, which boasts an impressive pool and patio area for outdoor barbeques, has a military theme, including a General’s Suite, and a model of the new National Infantry Museum in the lobby.

 

Suburban Extended Stay Hotel Patio and Pool Area

Suburban Extended Stay Hotel Patio and Pool Area

 

 

  Two more hotels will open soon, a new Holiday Inn Express and a Candlewood, and a fourth hotel is in the works that will locate on the National Infantry Museum site.

 

  “We are talking major change,” General White said. We are going to have 500,000 people coming into this area to visit the Infantry Museum. This is going to mean, in addition to the new hotels, restaurants,  4 to 5 hundred jobs. We are working with an already formed group of business leaders called Columbus South in calling on business people in the area to clean up their places, to become a part of the Victory Coalition and change the reputation of South Columbus.”

 

      

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