German Village Gazette

Village notebook

Volunteers and plans help shape German Village

By JEANNE M. LIKINS
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German Village is what it is today as a direct result of the thousands of people who have loved and believed in German Village.

For decades, individuals have worked tirelessly to help ensure German Village's future.

Fortunately, there are comparably dedicated people continuing this important work enabling German Village to be its best tomorrow and, for years to come.

Long range, strategic or master plans have directed these largely volunteer efforts.

Those who remember Schiller Park before the late 1980s or before know what a massive change a master plan, devoted volunteers and serious fund raising did to re-create this jewel.

Historic preservation. Functional urban streetscape. Quality of life.

These are the core values documented in the German Village Society's long-range planning endeavors over the last several decades.

The most recent effort, the GVS Enhancement Plan, began in 2000 with the creation of a "think tank."

After several years of re-aligning its priorities, operations, finances and staff, the Society is now re-connecting with this plan.

More than 100 topics or concerns were identified and fine-tuned into 16 major issues meriting the Society's attention and resources.

These include historic preservation, streetscape, land use, signage, city services, traffic, visitorism, safety, financial resources, German Village businesses, etc.

Examples of outcomes from this plan range from developing a streetscape plan (the Third Street Master Plan), creating the Long-Range Planning Committee to "keep the edge sharp," re-aligning staff responsibilities with the mission and strengthening the role of committees by having a board member act as chairman of the committee or serve as a liaison between the committee and the board, setting annual goals and objectives tied to the Society's goals, providing written monthly reports to the board, etc.

The plan includes policies and statements of relationship or position.

For example, there are policies about brick streets and alleys, sandstone curbs, signs, visitorism, procedures for recommending candidates for appointment to the German Village Commission, transportation and parking and more.

There are statements about our relationships with the city of Columbus, with the City Recreation and Parks Department, with adjacent community organizations as well as a position statement on historic preservation.

The purpose of all this?

To focus the work of the German Village Society's committees and the Society's Board of Trustees.

These are also helpful with grant applications and in our work with potential donors.

In early 2013 Society committees will review these to ensure their relevance.

This plan demonstrates the German Village Society's on-going commitment to enhancing German Village in all the ways so many of us value and, frequently take for granted or, simply think just "happens."

Of course, nothing really just happens.

As important as a plan, however, are the thousands of volunteers, past and present, who dedicate themselves to ensuring German Village's continued success.

If you are a volunteer, thank you.

If you can add your talents to help us continue to thrive, let us know who you are.

German Village Society Board of Trustees Secretary Jeanne M. Likins submitted the Village Notebook column.

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