German Village Gazette

German Village Society courts young professional crowd

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The German Village Society made a serious pitch last week to bring young professionals into the fold.

The society held an open house July 31 at the Athletic Club of Columbus, where about 30 curious attendants supped on craft beer, mingled and ultimately were encouraged to get involved in neighborhood activities.

The plan is to get those 35 and younger to join the society for $35, although any fresh talent is welcome, officials said.

Shiloh Todorov, executive director of the GVS, told the crowd what the society was -- and what it wasn't.

"We are not the property-owners group," she said. "We are not the condo association."

The society's core mission is historic preservation and education, she said.

"I like to say we're charged with protecting the bricks and the neighborhood that sprung up on them," she said.

Todorov said the GVS is far from stuffy, holding several parties a year, including the upcoming TEA 43206 and Monster Bash, the latter described as "trick or treating for adults."

But the society has a serious side, too, such as helping guide Third Street reconstruction, implementing a comprehensive sign project, and planting and cleaning up various parks.

The GVS needs volunteers who offer a fresh perspective, new energy and creative forces to help mold the community for the next generation, Todorov said.

Jordanne Renner, chairwoman of the Go Green Committee, is part of the younger generation that joined the ranks of the GVS. She said she wanted to contribute to her neighborhood but also saw the society as a social outlet.

"I like to walk down the street," she said. "I like to say hello."

Renner said she needs help with recycling initiatives and work in neighborhood pocket parks, which her group maintains and harvests.

"I think everyone should be involved," she said. "Just give back to your community."

Matt Eshelbrenner, chairman of the long-range planning committee, urged the crowd to immediately sign up for some focus groups regarding specific community issues.

Audience member Bijak Patel, a business and IT consultant, said she's lived in German Village for nine months and is keeping an open mind on future contributions to the society.

"I'm trying to get more involved with the Columbus community," said Patel, 26. "I thought this would be a great, great start."

Matt and Kristen Bowersox, both 26, have lived in German Village for seven months and have been involved in Village Lights, Party on the Platz and the Haus und Garten Tour.

"We're anxious to see what else there is," said Mr. Bowersox, an accountant.

"And connect with other people in the Village," added Mrs. Bowersox, a nurse practitioner.

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