The German Village Society is tightening up its proposal to secure funds for South Third Street improvements.

The German Village Society is tightening up its proposal to secure funds for South Third Street improvements.

The GVS is working to be included in the 2012 capital-improvements budget now being considered by Columbus City Council.

Society officials are hammering out details that, they say, will give them a better chance at getting an engineering study - and later money - for functional and aesthetic improvements to the village's main corridor.

"The goal is to go in with an attractive piece to the city," said Nelson Genshaft, chairman of the civic-relations committee, which met Feb. 21.

Part of that effort will be to convince the city that German Village is worth it. Members of the committee believe the historic district is one of the city's major tourist destinations. The neighborhood bolsters the city's coffers with tax money, something they hope Columbus officials recognize.

So the committee will look to strengthen its position by turning to area businesses to see if they can quantify how many people visit the village in a year.

Shiloh Todorov, director of the GVS, said 5,200 people went through the visitors' center at the Meeting Haus last year. Still, identifying the number of out-of-towners might be difficult, she said.

One thing in German Village's favor, committee members said, is that a plan was prepared by a professional firm, which provided a set of options for Third Street.

The society is looking to improve such features as sidewalks, curbs and signage along Third Street, from East Livingston Avenue to Reinhard Avenue, just north of Schiller Park.

One issue of debate in recent months has been the proposed removal of asphalt on Third Street and restoration of the brick beneath it.

That was met by opposition from the bicycling community, which had hoped the asphalt would remain to promote more cycling activity. Brick streets, they contended, create an uncomfortable ride.

Committee members signaled general support for the brick streets and pointed to other areas in town where they recently were constructed, including the Arena District and downtown near the Lazarus building.

"Our goal is to preserve the historic neighborhood and brick streets are part of our historic neighborhood," said Tim Bibler, chair of the streetscape committee and a member of the civic-relations committee.