Editor, The Messenger:

I am a member of the Athens High School Class of 1959 and a Graduate of Ohio University from 1963. My dad was a college professor in the College of Arts and Sciences and we moved to Athens in 1945.

The following comments arise from my three-day visit to the old hometown July 26-28, 2019.

So many things remain the same in the community ... Richland Avenue, Court Street, Columbus Road and East State Street; the Fairgrounds, White’s Mill, the old Athens High Building, City Hall, Stimson Street and East Side/West Side school, along with the Methodist, Presbyterian and Catholic churches...

However, so many things have changed ... the Hocking River was redirected, the State Hospital has been decommissioned, Ohio University has grown by about 25,000 students and the pristine homes of 1945 have deteriorated through the past 75 years.

Athens was a prideful community that hosted Ohio University by the Hocking River, but it has succumbed to the power of the outsized educational behemoth of that university. A list of balancing business investment in the area is non-existent.

Something appears rotten in Athens. The huge bureaucracy of state/county/city/university rules have not been kind to the sights along Court Street and in the nearby residential community. Where 80 percent of the 25,000 students should be under legal drinking age, the plethora of alcohol imbibing institutions reigns supreme. Quality remodeled and newly constructed student housing does not do justice to the demand for today’s students. Bureaucracy could serve to build the core values of this quietly lovely hill community on the edge of Appalachia.

My family has loved this community. We enjoy returning for the remembrance of a previous time and a hope for a greater future. Hopefully, people take this note as a positive of what this community could be.

Thanks to the Athens community in its role of assisting AHS Class of 1959 in growing up. We returned to celebrate our growth with stories of our hometown. May the children of today have the same opportunity to return in the future and celebrate in the same fashion.

Art Wallace

Lakewood, Colorado

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