After more than three decades of public service to the Clintonville community, Paul Bingle has retired from the Clintonville Area Commission, an organization he has served in various capacities.
Bingle officially ended his tenure with his resignation at the Clintonville zoning and variance committee meeting June 24. His public service career also featured stints as the District 7 representative, secretary-treasurer and chairman of the CAC, among other positions since the early 1990s.
Citing the time he's dedicated as a Franklin County polling official over the years, Bingle said he'll greatly miss the people of the Clintonville community.
Bingle is vice president of financial services at Earthshare Ohio. He and his wife, Linda, plan to move to temporary housing in Worthington while they await the completion of a new home in Delaware County.
"That's why I'm going to miss the community, because I'm going to be standing at a poll site for the elections this November and I won't know the first soul," Bingle said. "At Whetstone, it's a 15- to 16-hour day, but I'm greeting and hugging people all day long, shaking hands and whatnot – of course, I wouldn't be able to do that this year.
"Generally speaking, I lived for that day because I knew I could put a smile on people's faces," he said. "I knew whose spouse may have passed away during the year or something like that, and I knew I could help make this moment – them voting – a happy one because I could say something to them. It just felt wonderful. I'm going to miss all of that."
Throughout his time in Clintonville, where he's resided since 1979, Bingle's public service to the area was fueled by a desire to solve problems. He said he found it particularly motivating when he was told that something couldn't be done.
In 1984, while attending an open house for the Whetstone branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library – which was under construction at the time – Bingle noticed an outdoor space on the grounds that he thought was underused.
"I was looking out a window, and I said, 'What a waste of space here,' because it was just there was nothing outside the window," Bingle said. "And I just said, 'You know what? This is just begging for something to happen.' And somebody turned to me at that point and just said, 'Why don't you do something about it instead of complaining about it?' "
Bingle was then a member of the North Area Real Estate Association. He helped organize the first Clintonville Homes Tour, an event that continues today, which takes guests on tours through various noteworthy homes and property throughout the neighborhood. The proceeds from the tour went toward building the Whetstone library's Reading Garden, which filled the space Bingle thought was lacking.
Bingle's first appointment to the CAC came as the District 7 representative was to fill the seat previously held by Helen Gross. He held the position until the late 1990s.
Bingle then served as the CAC secretary-treasurer and was eventually elected chairman of the commission before serving with the CAC zoning and variance committee.
Bingle was involved with multiple projects during his CAC tenure. He had a hand in the Columbus' Project 2020 street lighting program, helped facilitate community park improvements with a focus on Whetstone and the expansion of the Whetstone Recreation Center, co-founded the Clintonville July 4th Celebration Inc. and co-founded Stewards of Metro Parks, which is now known as Friends of Metro Parks.
His voluntary dedication to his community over the years is something District 9 representative B.J. White said the CAC will miss, because finding people with the passion and enthusiasm for their community Bingle exhibited is difficult. Throughout his CAC tenure, White said, Bingle "really did practice a high level of care with these matters."
"This voluntary role is so labor-intensive and so time-consuming that it is very difficult to find committed people from within the community who care enough to invest that kind of time," White said. "One must be intrinsically motivated because there's no benefit to be had by anyone other than just the self-satisfaction knowing you contributed to helping to shape and mold the community of Clintonville. ... It's very difficult to step up into that role and actually be part of the solution.
"I think someone like Paul Bingle epitomizes that, because he served in many capacities to the community. Looking back, there were some very positive moments and there were some very adversarial moments. But the fact that he kept serving throughout it all and did so ... with absolute diplomacy -- we need more people like him who have that willingness."