Year in Review

'Civil war' over turn lane came to an end in 2013

By ThisWeek Community News  • 

Things took a turn for the better -- or worse, for some -- in Clintonville during the year drawing to a close.

Yes, that turn.

In October, following decades of lawsuits, reversed decisions, wrangling and debate -- much of it emotional and sometimes heated -- a turn lane that permits traffic moving west on East North Broadway to go south onto North High Street opened.

Kristopher Keller, the Clintonville Area Commission's District 8 representative, described the decade-long process as a "civil war."

"The day after the left-turn lane opened, the sun rose, birds sang and civilization did not end," Keller said.

District 6 representative Randy Ketcham agreed the turn lane likely was the top story of the year in 2013.

"Probably the biggest highlight was the long-anticipated -- or dreaded, depending on one's viewpoint -- completion of the left-turn lane from westbound East North Broadway to south on High Street," Ketcham said. "It was done relatively quickly, with minimal environment impact, and it appears to have dramatically enhanced traffic flow through the intersection.

"Even many of the previous opponents of the project seem to feel it has been a success," he said.

This year will mark the year in which the commission can "close the chapter of its history" regarding the turn lane," CAC Chairman Daniel B. Miller said.

The resolution passed by the commission renewed the neighborhood's commitment to conserving East North Broadway as a residential street, Miller said, with no widening except what was necessary to complete the turn lane.

"Construction of the project was completed in a timely manner and the end result has been warmly received by the community," he said. "I'm pleased by how the intersection construction has improved the lives of Clintonville residents with little, if any, negative impact.

"I'm even more pleased by how the community in 2013 was able to discuss the issue with civility such that relationships within the commission and the community overall were fostered instead of hampered."


Shooting scare

While a peaceful conclusion to an issue that had pitted neighbor against neighbor was big news for Clintonville, the single biggest news event in the neighborhood was what Historical Society President Mary Rodgers viewed as unprecedented here: the May 15 police shootout with suspects driving a car on North High Street.

"I can't really say that I've ever known of that happening before, fortunately," Rodgers said.

"I glanced through my notes after it happened and couldn't find anything similar."

The early-morning peace of the neighborhood was shattered shortly before 5 a.m. May 15 by the sound of screeching tires, blaring sirens, the crack of gunfire and the clatter of police and news helicopters overhead. Police officers had attempted to stop a vehicle being driven by 24-year-old Emmanuel Gatewood of Brentnell Avenue near the Worthington border. His girlfriend, 21-year-old Northland-area resident Kourtney Hahn, was in the SUV with him, according to reports.

Gatewood was wanted for questioning in connection with the April 5 shooting death of Lance Glenn, 29, outside an East Hudson Street after-hours bar.

The incident ended with both dying from gunshot wounds; officers said they had been fired upon from the vehicle after it was stopped near North Broadway.


Oh, rats

This year will be remembered as the year of the rat in Clintonville, according to Keller.

Numerous daytime sightings of rats on roads and in backyards prompted a request to the city for help in assessing the scope of the problem and in eradication and public education, he said.

The city responded with a survey of the neighborhood and the resumption of a rat-eradication program in the Department of Health budget, Keller said.

Miller said 2013 was a great year for the CAC, due in part to the "new culture of civility."

"I'm extremely pleased by how the culture of the commission has changed in the past 12 months," he said. "The commission has become a group in which each member is respected, knows in advance the issues that will be discussed at meetings, speaks without hesitation and communicates thoughtfully and courteously.

"These changes in how the commission conducts itself are vitally important, because they are part of the foundation upon which we rely for getting business done effectively and cooperatively."

Ketcham said he also was pleased commission members are working effectively and harmoniously together after a rough 2012.

"There isn't always unanimous agreement, and in such a setting, there probably shouldn't be, but everyone's opinion is respected and decorum has been maintained under the skillful leadership of Dan Miller," he said.


New and improved

At the end of 2012, Miller predicted a development boom in Clintonville for 2013. His prediction was accurate.

"The commission worked with developers to clear the way for new businesses in Clintonville such as Lucky's Market, Mozart's Bakery and Piano Cafe, the Crest Gastropub, as well as three new businesses that will occupy the new building at California and High," he said. "Clintonville is an even more enjoyable place to live with these new additions."

Ketcham agreed, with a caveat. "Another highlight (of 2013) has been the opening, renovation and/or expansion of restaurants in Clintonville, offering residents a diverse variety of dining options," he wrote in his review. "Unfortunately, in some cases, this has caused parking issues in adjoining neighborhoods. Hopefully, these can be resolved by ongoing communications between the owners and residents."