After a period of inactivity, Clintonville Incorporated is back -- and its members are seeking to help boost community pride.
The nonprofit organization is working to replace banners on utility poles on North High Street, spending $3,000 of its own money on the project and embarking on a fundraising effort to bring in the remaining $6,000 needed, said Chris McLaren, the group's acting president.
"We kind of have been inactive for the past year or so, but we decided to use the money we have in the bank to replace some of these banners that CI put up in, I think it was 2007," McLaren said. "Some of them were starting to decay and unravel. They lasted longer than we thought they would."
Treasurer Clare Balombin said the idea for the original banners was conceived in 2005 to create a "unified identity" for Clintonville along the High Street corridor.
Clintonville Incorporated has purchased 48 new banners from the Flag Lady's Flag Store. Their design, similar to the motif found on signs at the neighborhood's borders, was created by graphic artist Ann Luttfring, Balombin said.
A GoFundMe campaign -- gofundme.com/replacement-of-clintonville-flags -- is seeking to raise the money needed to replace all 104 banners, though as of Dec. 4, it had received no donations.
The banners are attached to poles along High Street from Arcadia Avenue to Morse Road, but McLaren said Clintonville Incorporated member D Searcy nudged the group to add one at the COTA bus turnaround north of Graceland Shopping Center. Searcy is a former Clintonville Area Commission representative of District 9, which includes the northernmost section of the neighborhood.
Some Clintonville Incorporated members favored replacing old banners with new ones of the same design, but Balombin said the newer design has become easily identifiable within the neighborhood.
"We're all one community ... and that's the point of having the same banners going from Arcadia up to the bus turnaround because that's the north end of the Clintonville Area Commission territory," Balombin said.
"The flags kind of bring cohesiveness to the neighborhood and the shopping areas," McLaren said. "Clintonville is a very vibrant neighborhood, so it's nice to have something to define it."
"We've been quiet, but it's because our big project was getting the High Street improvements done and we got that done ... and then we took care of the tunnel covers for the kids at Clinton Elementary and then we took care of the sidewalk on Indianola north of Weber, near Studio 35," Balombin said of the return of Clintonville Incorporated. "In a way, it's: 'Hello, we're still here, we still care about the community.' "