German Village Gazette

Decorative corrals shield periodical boxes from view

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The first of what could be several newspaper and periodicals box corrals has been installed on South Third Street.

The corral has been placed in front of six periodical displays on the sidewalk outside of the Golden Hobby Shop, at the northeast corner of Third and Sycamore streets.

The 4-foot tall, perforated black metal corral shields the boxes from the street and bookends them on each side.

Information about the village will be placed on the side panels facing oncoming pedestrians, said Tim Bibler, a member of the German Village Society board of trustees and former chair of its streetscape committee.

There was some initial discussion about placing paid advertising on those panels, but it was not supported by the German Village Commission, the local architectural review board.

Also, when the society applied for the grant, that language was not part of the application process, Bibler said.

The corral, built by Fortin Ironworks on West Fifth Avenue, cost $4,795.

It was funded by a $10,000 grant through the Joseph A. Jeffrey Endowment Fund, via the Columbus Foundation.

"The intention was not to hide the news boxes by building a big box around them," Bibler said.

"The goal was to build a structure that gives a cleaner appearance and to blend better with the streetscape."

The remaining balance will be returned to the foundation, he said.

The corral is a victory of sorts for a community trying to clean up its most visible retail corridor.

Still, more newspaper-box clusters remain along Third at Frankfort Street, Beck and Livingston Avenue.

Bibler said the German Village Society will wait to hear feedback on the initial corral before installing them in other areas.

Also, the other locations might not meet certain city requirements, such as maintaining an adequate width of the sidewalk, he said.

When streetscape committee members first began discussing the effort, they found several of the boxes empty and in disrepair.

Several attempts to contact owners of the boxes, however, were fruitless.

Yet, according to the City Attorney's Office, the Society might have run into problems removing them because of freedom of speech laws, Bibler said.

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