The biggest news for Merion Village in the past year may not reach closure until early 2009.

The biggest news for Merion Village in the past year may not reach closure until early 2009.

With the city facing difficult economic times, funding for the Community Crime Patrol, which operates in Merion Village, has had its funding slashed.

Mayor Michael B. Coleman's proposed budget, which will be voted on by city council in early 2009, called for the Department of Public Safety to cut its funding to the Community Crime Patrol.

Ellen Moore, executive director of the Community Crime Patrol, said her organization's funding will be cut by more than half. She said her organization, funded by Columbus and Ohio State University, runs on $650,000 a year, but will see its budget cut to $300,000.

"We're not thinking that 2010 is going to be any different," Moore recently said. "It's time to look at new things."

The cuts could mean a reduction in staff for the Community Crime Patrol, already a small organization. Moore said the staff could drop from 25 people to 15. She said any cuts won't occur until April because the budget runs through March.

"We just had a very successful expansion of CCP starting in the fall of 2007, and now the funding is threatened," Merion Village Association president Bob Leighty said in an e-mail. "We need to help CCP make sure that they have funding to continue the Merion Village-based patrols."

He added, "CCP is a very cost-effective way to extend the patrolling capabilities of the police, and it makes financial sense to support them."

In other news, there were many positive accomplishments that affected the area. Some of the achievements include the sale of the Emmanuel Lutheran houses that were moved to Morrill Avenue in 2006, and a successful Merion Village Garden Tour.

Several years ago, two homes were moved from across from Southwood Elementary School on South Fourth Street to East Morill Avenue. The homes were moved to make room for a parking lot expansion for Emmanuel Lutheran Church.

Leighty said the two homes were sold to YouthBuild, a program that offers low-income young people the opportunity to work toward a GED or high school diploma while learning job skills by building housing for low-income people.

"This project will provide a wonderful and long-planned boost to a great street, Morrill Avenue. This should boost redevelopment in South Merion Village and neighboring Hungarian Village," Leighty said.

The 2008 Merion Village Garden Tour was a success this year, not only because it highlighted the diverse nature of the community but also displayed work the 4H Urban Achievers did on a local pocket park.

In 2001, Merion Village gained the pocket park when a group of neighbors collaborated to turn the vacant and overgrown land into a green space. In 2005, the Urban Achievers took over care for the park, and in the past year held a contest to name the land.

The pocket park was eventually dubbed Walker-Bruck Park in October.

Kerry Riggs, advisor for the Urban Achievers, at the time said the name drew on both the park's history and its location. Loosely translated from German "bruck" means bridge, while the first part of name represents the surname of the land's former owners.

"This park is a very special place and it's great to acknowledge the history of the park and show how it is a bridge between Merion Village and other Columbus neighborhoods," Leighty previously said. "I like the concept, the symbolism of a bridge."

In September, Leighty led the first Landmarks Foundation walking tour of Merion Village. The event had about 40 attendees and visited locations such as St. Leo Church. The tour was tapped for a podcast, which will soon available on Merion Village's Web site.

More good news Merion Village received this year was that it obtained grant money from the Ohio Historical Society, Columbus Foundation and United Way to for a State of Ohio Historical Marker at the Southwood Elementary School.

Currently, the school is being expanded and renovated.

Leighty said the marker is expected and that teachers and staff will start to move back to the school in summer to the reopening in fall 2009.