A group charged with beautifying South Third Street said one of the first orders of business is to clean up the unsightly periodical boxes.

A group charged with beautifying South Third Street said one of the first orders of business is to clean up the unsightly periodical boxes.

The German Village Society's streetscape committee laid out a few different scenarios in physically shielding the boxes from the roadway.

At a meeting Aug. 21, committee members said there are three clusters of the boxes along the commercial strip that are visually unappealing.

They're different colors and sizes, some are worn and others are empty.

Grass and weeds are growing around the receptacles, which are set so close to the road they can block some passengers from exiting automobiles.

So, the committee presented some ideas for decorative barriers that would their being viewed from passersby.

Suggestions included decorative wrought-iron fencing, colored panels or a trellis design that allows ivy to weave through the metal.

There was some discussion about using boxes similar to those that have been installed downtown but that scenario needed additional study, said Tim Bibler, who is chairman of the streetscape committee.

Bibler said he had called some of the periodicals vendors, but has little success contacting people in charge.

In some places, it appeared companies had installed newer containers but didn't remove the old ones, he said.

He said the committee isn't against the boxes, but wanted to display them "in a more presentable way like they did downtown."

To help defray the cost of the screens, the committee will apply for a slice of the Joseph A. Jeffrey Endowment Fund, administered by the Columbus Foundation, which goes toward beautification projects and other programs throughout central Ohio.

Improving the aesthetics and functionality of Third Street has been on the society's agenda for a number of years, as community officials have tried to narrow down the scope of the work.

In July, the GVS applied for $400,000 in Urban Infrastructure Recovery Funds to pay for a preliminary engineering study of the corridor.

Shiloh Todorov, who's been director of the society for about a year, said the periodicals boxes have been the subject of plenty of complaints.

"I have been hearing through my tenure about what an eyesore these newspaper containers are," Todorov said.

"So the streetscape committee taking this on as a first project answers a lot of that outcry."