The Meeting Haus, the central gathering spot for German Village residents as well as visitors, will undergo a major renovation project in 2018.

An architect soon will start designing plans for the construction, which is expected to include upgrades to the visitors center, boardroom, lobby and platz, said Shiloh Todorov, executive director of the German Village Society.

Some parts of the Meeting Haus haven't seen an improvement since 1991, when the facility relocated to 588 S. Third St.

Todorov said it isn't clear how much will be spent on the revamp, but 69 individual donors contributed $32,000 toward the effort through this year's Big Give, a fundraising drive sponsored by the Columbus Foundation.

"It is the community center, for sure," Todorov said. "So, how do we leverage this asset for the community?"

During the next 12 months, a newly formed vision task force will cast a fresh eye on the village.

"They're tasked with helping us imagine German Village in 30 years," Todorov said, adding 600,000 people are expected to move to central Ohio during that time.

Interpretive Trail

The society will begin to implement the first piece of the Interpretive Trail program in May, just in time for Historic Preservation Month.

Todorov said permanent metal panels, which will have supporting text, will be placed on structures throughout the village, telling stories of the neighborhood.

"We had done the house plaques before, but this is a different piece of the signage puzzle," she said.

Art Crawl to expand

Art Crawl, held each July, will expand this year.

Todorov said the Art Crawl, a popular attraction that includes live demonstrations, exhibits, entertainment, food and beverages, will remain on Macon Alley, but could expand to side streets.

The format also could be tweaked, Todorov said.

Sidewalks project

The society will continue to help people improve their brick sidewalks, Todorov said.

A partnership has been forged with Columbia Gas of Ohio, which has agreed to donate money and expertise for the ongoing mission.

Columbia Gas also plans to continue its gas-line replacement project -- which includes the relocation of interior meters -- in the new year in German Village.

Business outlook

Greg Gamier, co-chairman of the German Village Business Community, said he looks forward to seeing what will fill the space that was formerly the Max & Erma's restaurant, which closed in August after 45 years of business on South Third Street.

"I just want to see a future use," Gamier said.

"It's the same old story: I don't want to see an empty storefront. It's just not good for the neighborhood."

gseman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekGary