I wanted to report on progress toward our strategic plan.

I do this month-by-month in our publicly distributed board packets, in case you're curious on a more granular level. You can find them any time on our website.

I am incredibly proud of our progress, and I think in nearly every way the pillars of our plan are visible in your everyday lives. Here's how you'll notice them in the neighborhood:

Preservation

You asked us for a sidewalk plan, and we are delivering. Already we've fixed 16 sidewalks through the "Brick Ninjas" or our incentive grant program.

Want our help to get yours fixed in time for spring walking? The next deadline for consideration is April 28 and it is as easy as filling out the form at germanvillage.com/sidewalks.

You read in these very pages in the past two weeks about our big week of grant wins.

We received $15,000 from Ohio Humanities Council for our interpretive trail project -- this is the idea you might think of as "signage," but as it evolves, we know that it will take many forms, not just physical signs.

Ohio's State Historic Preservation Office notified us that we'll get $20,000 to amend our National Register of Historic Places nomination.

Updating the register does a lot of things for the German Village Society and the commission process -- including clarifying what contributes and what doesn't; adding ephemeral details, such our LGBTQ pioneers and our ability encourage thoughtful future investments in the district.

Advocacy

Within this sphere are all of the things on which we need the city of Columbus to be a partner.

We await word of whether the Third Street design will be included in the April city capital budget.

The German Village Society staff and volunteers have advocated with each council member, many more than once.

We've taken our plan to three of the mayor's deputies. We've received letters of support for the project from Nationwide Children's Hospital, the South Side Area Commission, the Columbus Chamber of Commerce, the downtown special improvement district and several of our own businesses.

After community meetings with a large number of police officers and neighbors attending, a dozen people have signed up to help us develop our safety protocols.

I hope more will come on-board, as many of you have said it is your No. 2 priority. Engage us as we build solutions.

We don't yet have a policy for sandstone curbs in historic districts, but because of our partnership with other neighborhoods through the Council for Historic Neighborhoods and our relationship with the Columbus Department of Public Service, I can tell you that we soon will.

I was at a meeting with Friends of Schiller Park Chairwoman Katharine Moore just days ago, supporting her work to shepherd a final plan for Columbus Recreation and Parks to invest in restoring the pillars at Schiller Park out of city funds.

Quality of life

These are all the things that make life in The Village so much fun.

Love to walk to the newly renovated Winans Chocolates? That's the German Village Business Community and our preservation education elements working together.

Heading to the Schiller 150 art show on April 23 in Fest Hall? Thank your Art Committee (and please do join us). Can't wait for the Village Singers concerts at month's end? Quality of life, baby.

Development

The German Village Society income puzzle has long been dominated by events, and 2017 continues to see an uptick in sponsor dollars coming to the table. Those come first and foremost from our very own businesses, such as Vutch & Ruff signing on again as Haus und Garten presenting sponsors.

But we are also able to attract outside dollars to the neighborhood efforts, such as CoverMyMeds, OhioHealth and Hollywood Casino.

As we talk with more of our members and donors about our successes (and as you witness them yourself), we are enjoying an uptick in your giving, too.

In the past 12 months, we have 121 first-time members. There are 30 members who renewed membership after having ended their gift sometime in the past.

There are 91 donors who raised their level of commitment, essentially voting with their dollars for everything the Society stands for.

For all of these donors, you'll never be able to understand the full scope of my gratitude. Each gift is a little ray of sunshine for the work we do every day.

Governance

Last week, you read in this space about our consistent invitation to engage new leaders.

We'd love to have your energy and ideas on a committee, at the board level or serving at an event or on a project.

If you're considering it, you should know that a recent board self-evaluation showed unanimous enjoyment from our current trustees.

In closing, here's an anonymous quote from the summary:

"While it is a demanding role to serve as a trustee in terms of the needed time, talent and treasure, it is quite enjoyable and satisfying to work collaboratively on important organizational goals and to get results that matter."

German Village Society Executive Director Shiloh Todorov submitted the Village Notebook column.