One member of the Clintonville Area Commission took issue last week with criticism leveled at the panel regarding the rain gardens being installed across the neighborhood.
At the commission's Oct. 5 meeting, Mary Rauschenberg of East North Broadway accused CAC members of failing to adequately represent the community and of poor communication when it came to the scope of Blueprint Columbus. The city's "green" method of reducing pollution that reaches the Olentangy River from stormwater runoff includes the rain gardens, being built in public rights of way around Clintonville.
Judy Minister, the CAC's District 4 representative, said she was particularly troubled by Rauschenberg's assertion that the entire project had "ballooned" from what she claimed city officials described during a 2015 presentation as a mere two-street experiment to something encompassing large sections of the neighborhood.
Minister said that July 2015 meeting was her first as a member of the commission. She said she clearly recalls Blueprint Columbus being described in greater detail and scope than Rauschenberg stated.
"It was always a big, big plan," Minister said. "It was always a billion-dollar plan.
"This was never a two-block plan."
Through friend and fellow East North Broadway resident Mary Rodgers, Rauschenberg declined to speak with ThisWeek Booster.
Meanwhile, another group of Clintonville residents has emerged as vehemently opposed to rain gardens, even as they were being installed last week in the right of way near their homes in the Indian Springs area.
Longtime Lawnview Drive resident Marlan Howarth said she fears for the health of century-old trees on her property after consulting with an arborist who said exposing their roots during installation of a rain garden in front of her home could be harmful.
"This is like living history, with the age of the trees," Howarth said. "I love them."
"There are so many reasons why so many of use do not want them, and they are all valid reasons," said Karen Kennedy, who also lives on Lawnview Drive. "We will do anything to stop this.
"Over my dead body are they going to put this thing here."
Increasingly, Kennedy added, young families with children are moving into the Indian Springs area, raising for her the possibility that some fast-moving toddler will stumble into a rain garden and "could be hurt or worse, God forbid."
Al Jablonski, 81, a 46-year resident of nearby Fairoaks Drive, also said he is troubled by what Blueprint Columbus is doing to his part of the neighborhood.
"That's a real problem, that this is an experiment," he said. "If they want to do an experiment, do it somewhere else -- not on these homes. I am seriously considering moving."
"David and Goliath, this is what this is," Kennedy said. "They are forcing this on us, and they say it's not on our property. I put so much time into my garden and my home.
"I don't like big government telling me what to do."
"If you were to list the pros and the cons for these things, the cons list would be 10 times as long as the one for the pros," Jablonski said.
Minister, a real-estate agent, in attempting to refute some of Rauschenberg's claims, also sought to reassure residents on two points that come up frequently when Blueprint Columbus is the topic -- namely, that people will get stuck with maintenance of the rain gardens near their homes, and that the installations will lower property values.
"I think if a rain garden is properly installed and aesthetically beautiful, it won't hurt their property values," Minister said.
She added city officials made it clear during the lengthy Aug. 3 commission meeting -- at which Blueprint Columbus was the primary topic -- that maintenance of rain gardens will never be the duty of homeowners.
"It's going to be very expensive for the city to maintain those gardens, and this is a 30-year project, but they do have a big budget," Minister said. "It is not the homeowners' responsibility."