German Village Gazette

Urban Infrastructure Recovery Funds

Society says brick replacement a top priority

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The German Village Society has identified brick replacement as its top priority in the current request for Urban Infrastructure Recovery Funds from the city of Columbus.

The Society's Civic Relations Committee, which met March 20, wants a brick-for-brick replacement on a portion of seven streets and one alley. The request also includes replacement of sandstone curbs.

The deadline for applications was Friday, March 21.

There seems to be some confusion about how much the city is willing to fund.

Society officials said they believe they are in the running for up to $500,000 for each of the 15 projects. The city says that half-million dollar figure is what is available for each community.

Sarah Marsom, the Society's historic preservation advocate, said the neighborhood is defined by its brick streets.

They're aesthetically pleasing, promote a pedestrian-friendly environment and they're functional because they help slow down traffic.

Unfortunately, in many parts of the village, bricks are broken or missing, Marsom said.

She said she split the community into 12 zones and a group of volunteers assessed the areas in most need.

The streets on the list include Mohawk, Beck, Sycamore, Kossuth, Frankfort, Sixth, Macon Alley and Jaeger, which would require repair of asphalt.

Also on the wish list is Pearl Street, from Sycamore Street to East Livingston Avenue. However, only half of Pearl is in German Village, the other half is in the Brewery District. So, Society officials said they are willing to work with the Brewery District on that endeavor.

Susan DeLay, capital improvements manager for the city, said 12 neighborhoods are vying for $6 million in Urban Infrastructure Recovery Funds. The difference is, communities are asked to submit projects they'd like to see funded over the next three to five years.

"It's like a mini capital improvement plan for their neighborhood they're putting together," DeLay said. "They're sending all of their project suggestions."

She said neighborhood leaders will know in the fall which projects have been accepted for completion in 2015. However, she stresses, this is just the first step in the process.

"They can revise it to make it acceptable or they could come back with something else altogether," DeLay said.

On a related topic, the city is doing a preliminary engineering study -- paid for by recovery funds money -- of South Third Street between Livingston and Reinhard avenues.

The $500,000 study, which recently started, will look at everything along the streetscape: sidewalks, curbs, gutters, trees, lighting and possibly cleaning up overhead utility lines.

Cost estimates for construction will be included in the final report, to be released toward the end of 2015, DeLay said.

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