German Village Gazette

Year in Review

House conversion tops news in 2013

By ThisWeek Community News  • 

Converting a commercial building into a residential home topped the news in German Village in 2013.

Bob Walter, retired founder of Cardinal Health, and his wife, Peggy, spent much of the year seeking approval to build a single-family residence in the 13,250-square-foot building that houses a U.S. Bank branch, among other office uses, at 673 Mohawk St.

The German Village Commission and city of Columbus approved several variances for the house, which will be the second-largest single-family residence in the city of Columbus.

By year's end, a few more variances needed approval.

The Walters are hoping to wrap up construction sometime in 2014.


Parking issues

Parking, or lack of it, remained an issue in The Village.

Paul and Terri Carlson led an unsuccessful petition drive to get permit parking instituted on Kossuth Street between Mohawk and Fifth streets.

The Carlsons said their daughter, a high school student involved in several extracurricular activities, often couldn't find parking near their house at night, creating a safety issue.

But businesses didn't cotton to the idea, saying parking restrictions would create a hardship both for customers and the shops in the area.

Mark Kelsey, retiring Columbus director of public service, followed the recommendation of the Columbus Transportation and Pedestrian Commission, ruled against the plan, which called for two-hour parking restrictions during 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., eliminating 18 spaces.


Village Connections

After many years of planning, Village Connections finally got off of the ground. Katie White was appointed as executive director of the nonprofit organization, which allows seniors to age in place.

A big kickoff event is planned for January.


Stewart school

Southside STAY got some good news from Columbus City Schools in 2013.

District officials consented to the group's request to create a partial neighborhood-enrollment system at Stewart Alternative Elementary School.

Some critical details, such as school boundaries and the ratio of lottery and neighborhood students, were being ironed out late in the year.


Dining scene

It was a good year for dining in the neighborhood.

Local restaurateur Chris Crader, owner of Harvest Pizzeria and Curio, both on Fifth Street, replaced the Sycamore Cafe with the Sycamore, a modern tavern at 262 E. Sycamore St.

Kittie's Cakes, a bakery specializing in cupcakes, opened in spring at 495 S. Third St.

Meanwhile, Kolache Republic, a haven for Czech pastries, opened in July at 730 S. High St. in the nearby Brewery District.

And Red Brick Tap & Grill replaced the Red Brick Inn at 292 E. Gates St. in Merion Village.

After a few delays, the tavern opened in mid-December.

On a related note, a neighborhood icon also began selling food outside of The Village.

Thurman To Go, an offshoot of Thurman Cafe, opened in Reynoldsburg.

It was the first expansion outside of German Village since the Thurman opened in 1942.

Another restaurant, Son of Thurman, is expected to open in 2014 in downtown Delaware.


Society fundraising

The German Village Society kicked fundraising into high gear in 2013.

The GVS surpassed its goal of $100,000 by raising $120,000.

In related news, Jeanne Likins was elected president of the GVS board of trustees.

Likins, who has served on the board since 2005, replaced Bill Case, who's still a member.



The Village was one of several Columbus neighborhoods chosen for CoGo, a bike-rental program in urban Columbus.

There were two sites selected, one in front of St. Mary Catholic Church and the other near Stewart Alternative Elementary School.

A plan to put one in Schiller Park was met with resistance from the community.


Third Street

The beautification of Third Street continued with the installation of the first newspaper-box corral.

The black corrugated metal device shields six periodical displays located at the corner of Third and Sycamore streets in front of the Golden Hobby Shop.

The $4,795 corral could be the first of many, because there are other clusters of periodicals boxes on Third.

Meanwhile, the city of Columbus agreed to spend $500,000 on a preliminary engineering study of Third Street.

The study will look at such things as sidewalks, curbs, streets and lights.


Pocket gardens

More pocket gardens sprouted up in the area over the past year.

Aetna Building Maintenance on Parsons Avenue made available to the public a 20-bed garden, available on a first-come, first-served basis.

The other, located on a 20-by-50-foot private lot on Grant Avenue, is cultivated by the Go Green committee.

Jordanne Renner, chairwoman of the committee, said that although the property has been sold, the new owner will allow the group to use the greenspace for one more year.

The group also will work on a waste-reduction effort at the Meeting Haus and Haus und Garten Tour in the upcoming year.