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George Voinovich
From City Hall, Schaefer battled national tides
From City Hall, Schaefer battled national tides

Stanley Zerden remembers a time in the 1970s when Oldtown held promise. Largely burned out by the 1968 riots, the area became a focus for then-Mayor William Donald Schaefer, who closed blocks of Gay Street to cars and created a revolutionary concept for the time — an inner-city pedestrian mall where people could stroll and shop. It almost worked. "It was very successful, and it was Schaefer's baby," the 62-year-old Zerden, a third-generation property owner in Oldtown, said of the now hollowed-out neighborhood east of the city's prison complex. "As bad as the place looks today, it would have been gone a long time ago if not for Schaefer." The...