The German Village Society will roll out the red carpet and put up the velvet rope in 2020 as it celebrates its 60th anniversary.

The first of several shindigs will be held Jan. 10, when the society plans to celebrate the small group of dedicated, preservation-minded people who -- 60 years ago to the day -- came together to explore the possibility of forming an association to save the German Village neighborhood from decline, said Delilah Lopez, executive director of the society.

The party will include cake, champagne and a birthday-cake contest among neighbors in the Meeting Haus, 588 S. Third St., Lopez said.

"We will continue to celebrate 60 years of preserving and protecting Ohio's oldest historic district throughout the year through various similar grassroots events and engagement efforts, one of which, you'll see through the continuation of last year's Haus und Garten Tour theme of 60 years of storytelling," she said.

"(2019) was the 60th Haus und Garten Tour and 2020 is the German Village Society's 60th anniversary."

Chris Hune, vice president of the society's board of trustees, has a full plate in 2020 by heading up the Haus und Garten Tour, development efforts and the 60th-anniversary celebrations.

"There's a lot to be excited about in 2020," Hune said "Basically, we're reminding the community where we started."

The society will welcome its fourth new staff member to get the team back to a fully staffed level.

After a shakeup at the Meeting Haus this summer, Dustin Speakman was hired as manager of events and engagement and Salvatore Reedus as development coordinator. Andrew Dodson, the society's new manager of historic preservation and outreach, will join the staff Jan. 7.

"For the first few months, we'll be highly focused on getting the team oriented to their individual roles, the neighborhood and the organization as efficiently and deeply as possible," Lopez said.

"The board and staff will also dive right into finalizing our five-year strategic plan and communications-strengthening projects, both which were started in 2019, but paused with board and staff transitions."

The society will continue to be focused on historic preservation and advocacy, she said.

"With continued and increasing threats of encroachment just outside of its borders, the German Village Society has to do a better job of educating its members and neighbors about its mission, from the society's purpose as Caretakers of a Legacy, to helping others understand the importance of the German Village Historic Guidelines and the German Village Commission process," she said.

Other things Lopez said community members should watch for in 2020 include:

* The Haus und Garten Tour, to be held June 27-28, will tell stories of German Village from the past 60 years.

* The society could use help with the 60th anniversary celebrations. Those interested may contact Lopez at the Meeting Haus or call 614-221-8888.

* After a one-year hiatus, the German Village Art Crawl will return in July to Macon Alley.

* Developers of the McGown, a proposed boutique hotel on Livingston Avenue, will bring the project back to the German Village Commission for a vote in the early part of the year.

* A full list of event dates will be released in early January, but those who would like to serve on the planning committee or get on the early list to volunteer at any society events may send an email to german@germanvillage.com.

gseman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekGary