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  • Writer's pictureJoe Motil

Predictable Homicide at Baron’s/Greyhound Bus Terminal

Updated: Oct 11, 2023

COLUMBUS, OH – In what is now a daily fact of life in Columbus, our beloved city is marred by the heart-wrenching tragedy of another homicide, a grim rhythm that beats in the background of our lives.

Late Sunday evening, a deadly shooting shattered the peace at the Greyhound Bus Terminal on North Wilson Road in the Hilltop neighborhood. This bus terminal has been a focal point for discussion, concern and frustration since early July.

Andy Ginther issued the following statement: “The city filed a lawsuit in late August asking a judge to order the site to cease all operations due to several issues including failure to obtain approval to operate a bus terminal, traffic issues and concerns regarding criminal activity," Ginther stated. "The judge ordered Barons/Greyhound and the city to participate in mediation to try to resolve the issues. The bottom line is Barons/Greyhound has been operating without a Certificate of Occupancy, and last night’s violence is another example that the current site is not appropriate for a bus station.”

As I have passionately argued since the outset of this ordeal in early July, Ginther and his Building Services Department have knowingly and unlawfully allowed Baron’s to operate a bus terminal without an Occupancy Permit since day one. For this bus terminal to open, essential amenities such as running water, restrooms, required seating, and adequate maneuverability for buses were required. Records unmistakably show that Ginther and his Building Services Department officials were well aware of Baron’s unlawful operations back in late June and early July. For three months, they have allowed the terminal to remain open, despite city laws and neighbors’ complaints.

Ginther’s July 17 letter to Baron’s Bus President Thomas Goebel, accusing them of applying for plans, “Under false pretenses” and misrepresenting the “scope and scale of operations” feels like a painful irony. The site plans submitted to the city, stamped for approval on June 8, 2023, explicitly state under the “Project Description” a “change of use for an existing fuel station for a bus depot.” A bus depot by definition is a “bus terminal.” The change of use was clear at all points. Building Services Deputy Director Tony Celebrezze’s stated dishonestly in a Columbus Dispatch story dated August 1, “Everything (Greyhound/Baron officials) portrayed to the building and zoning department said ticket sales, but not bus terminal.”

Ginther has wielded the authority to shutter this bus terminal down from day one due to Baron’s operating without an Occupancy Permit. And just as he has for the last 15 years, he has turned a deaf ear to the pleas and the necessities of the Hilltop community, perpetuating a pattern that endangers lives, threatens neighborhoods, and tarnishes the city’s reputation. Now, tragedy has struck, leaving nearby residents traumatized and engulfed in fear.

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