German Village Gazette

Society to ramp up historic preservation mission in '14

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In the year ahead, the German Village Society will continue its mission of historic preservation in three distinct ways, says Jeanne Likins, president of the Society Board of Trustees.

First off, the society recently hired Sarah Marsom as both its historic preservation advocate and assistant for visitorism.

The society initially was seeking to fill each part-time position separately, but Marsom expressed an interest in both, so a single, full-time job was created.

Marsom, who recently graduated with a master's degree from Eastern Michigan University, starts her job Jan. 13.

"What's significant about the historic preservation advocate is it's a position that we've wanted and needed and the community said was really important," Likins said.

Next on the list, the Society will embark on a strategic-planning initiative this month.

Likins said it is the first time in more than a decade the society has decided to tackle the process, which will give a three- to five-year forecast "as to where the society needs to be headed in terms of advocacy."

Since 2000, it has been done more on a year-to-year basis, she said.

"Our hope at this time is that group will work intensely and have the report ready for mid to late summer," she said, adding it will shape the budget for the following year.

Also important to the mission of historic preservation, the society will host a regional American Planning Association gathering in October at the Westin Columbus Hotel.

The conference is expected to draw a diversity of people from historic neighborhoods, professional urban planners, architects, professors of city and regional planning and government officials.

Likins said it creates partnership and idea-sharing opportunities for the German Village Society.

"We haven't done anything like this in several decades," she said.

The society has budgeted $73,000 for the conference, but hopes to make a net profit of $27,000 from the event.

In other highly anticipated events of 2014, Columbus will launch a preliminary engineering study of the Third Street corridor beginning in February.

The study will look at sidewalks, streets, curbs and lights, and identify ways to maintain and improve those amenities.

It is expected to take about 18 months to complete and could precede a more comprehensive look at the road between East Livingston and Reinhard avenues.

This month, members of the parking committee and graduate students from Ohio State University will take a comprehensive look at parking in the neighborhood.

The study will look at areas with and without parking restrictions and parking lots not utilized during evening business hours. The review should be completed by spring.

Society board members once again were asked to step up fundraising efforts in the new year. Last year, the board exceeded its goal of $100,000 by $20,000. Similar financial objectives were put in place but a specific target was not released.

The Go Green committee, which was revived in 2013, will remain active in the upcoming year.

The committee will continue to attend to a pocket garden in an alley off Grant Avenue while seeking additional green spaces to plant produce.

Committee Chairwoman Jordanne Renner said the group has found another spot in the village, but declined to disclose its location because an agreement has not been formalized.

Following its official launch Jan. 19, Village Connections will begin taking memberships and providing services for seniors who want to age in their homes.

In its inaugural year, the program will collaborate with the German Village Society and other community organizations to become a source for information and support services related to aging, said Katie White, the recently installed executive director.

Another goal of the organization is to build neighborhood connections through social events and member-exclusive opportunities in and around Columbus, White said.

The group plans to extend services to surrounding neighborhoods as well as provide guidance to other communities interested in starting senior villages, she said.

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