Do you want to help us take a fresh look at brick streets, sandstone curbs and sidewalks around the Village in need of some TLC?
We need volunteers this fall to simply walk designated routes, each taking approximately 15-20 minutes, and assessing the condition of each element according to easy-to-follow visual guidelines that we will provide. We have a rating system that is easy to understand and complete.
What will we do with all that data? In general, we'll drive forward projects in the German Village Society's strategic plan.
But more specifically, we will have a fresh map of all the infrastructure in German Village. Then we put the map to work in a couple of ways.
The first way is to support our sidewalk investment project. If you've heard me say it once, you've heard me say it 1,000 times: sidewalk repairs were the No. 1 thing neighbors wanted GVS' leadership on in the 2015 strategic plan. For a year now, we've been giving grants to property owners who invest in their sidewalks.
But not everyone knows about the program, and not everyone understands that sidewalk care is the responsibility of the property owner.
In Year 2 of the sidewalk grants, we need to add some "stick" to the Year 1 "carrot" of offering money. Once we have assessed all the sidewalks in the neighborhood, we can target property owners who need to fix their sidewalks.
First, we will offer them the grant application to apply for money. If we still don't see movement, we will begin to work with code enforcement to levy fines on those violating city code.
The second way we will use the data related to the streets and curbs portion. Streets and curbs can be paid for out of city dollars -- specifically the Urban Infrastructure Renewal Fund monies that many Villagers think of as "the brick street fund."
A decision-maker in Mayor Andrew Ginther's office has told me we will not move Third Street forward in 2018 or 2019. A meeting to discuss where that project will finally appear in Ginther's priority list is expected this month.
In the meantime, the board is putting our remaining UIRF dollars to use. You might recall we had a little more than $400,000 left in our UIRF fund earmarked for the Third Street design phase.
Because the current pool of UIRF dollars are meant to be spent by the conclusion of 2019, we need a new map of road and curbs we can direct that money toward.
Want to help us divvy it up? You are invited to a meeting at 6 p.m. tonight, Thursday, Sept. 21, in the German Village Meeting Haus, 588 S. Third St. where we will be discussing conducting a sidewalk/brick street/curb survey of the entire Village.
We will decide this evening if we want to do this as a one-time event, meeting up at the end at one of our local watering holes; or if everyone would like to do it on their own time, turning in their results by a pre-determined deadline.
Call Nancy Kotting or send email to her for more details. Her number is 614-221-8888 and her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
German Village Society Executive Director Shiloh Todorov submitted the Village Notebook column.