German Village

More West Nile virus in Columbus

From 10TV news:

Columbus Public Health officials said Friday that an area encompassing portions of German Village and the Brewery District had a pool of mosquitoes test positive for West Nile Virus.

The 43206 ZIP code joins ZIP codes 43211 and 43207, according to the health department.

It can kill you, but the good part is that most people won’t have any symptoms.

Oktoberfest moving is

German Village’s Oktoberfest is moving again:

Oktoberfest will take place Sept.5-7 at Genoa Park and Amphitheater, between the banks of Scioto River and COSI. It will run from 5 p.m. to midnight on Sept. 5, noon to midnight Sept. 6 and noon to 8 p.m. Sept. 7…

That’s not even in German Village. (Via RetroMetro.)

There’s been a rash of garage break-ins in German Village and surrounding neighborhoods. In broad daylight.

There’s a new German Village resident as of yesterday. Congratulations to Walker Evans and the new mom!

City hires engineering firm for streetcars

RetroMetro has a press release from Mayor Coleman’s office:

Based on the Steering Committee’s recommendation, the City is investing $150,000 to hire national streetcar expert HDR Inc. and Capitol South, who will produce a specific financing plan on how Streetcars can be built and operated using a mix of private sector funding with federal, state, and local investment. The plan expected to be completed in approximately six month. For more information on Downtown Streetcars, visit, www.downtowncolumbus.com and click on Streetcars.

Investment is a nice progressive word for taxes of course. Here’s HDR’s website.

Underducky at columbusING has a big post on streetcars today:

There is a great deal of debate about who should pay for a huge project like a streetcar system (not to mention a huger project like light rail). Shitloads of people who pay their Columbus taxes won’t get a whole hell of a lot from a dinky little streetcar like the one proposed for Columbus – at least according to the numbers. Rob from the ‘suburbs’, another responder to my previous rant about Bill Todd’s dickish behavior and flower hating, is profoundly concerned that the Short North is getting all the good shit from the City, and that the outlying areas are getting the shaft while being expected to foot the bill. Yeah, he’s right, but if no one pays for it, we’re all fucked.

Language. But it’s an interesting topic. Should taxpayers in outlying areas of Columbus shoulder part of the cost of this YP paradise the city wants to put in place, of which streetcars are a part? Property values within 2 blocks of the streetcar are supposed to go up. Should the working class pay taxes for this item and help the rich get richer? Or will the benefits that accrue to those who already own property downtown or in German Village and the Short North trickle down to those who don’t?

Columbus buzz post

From Walkable Neighborhoods, a site that “promotes livable, walkable communities that are vibrant, unique, and economically viable places to live, work, and play” (and also sells homes):

Columbus is my second favorite city in the Midwest, behind the obvious pick of Chicago. Columbus has an incredible energy, and my prediction is that within 10 years, people will be talking about Columbus all over the country. The Short North has a lot to do with the success of Columbus, and that’s where I shot this photo.

The Short North is my favorite arts district in the country. It is right on the edge of Downtown Columbus and the Arena District. Sure, it does not have the big name museums like other large cities, but the indie scene here is quite fun.

Take that, Indianapolis!

70/71 highway caps under consideration

The city has six favored locations along 70 and 71 where caps are being considered:

Spring, Long and Broad streets are favored sites for caps on the eastern leg of the project, and 3rd, High and Front streets on the southern leg.

It would cost an estimated $53 million to $65 million to build the six caps, which essentially are widened overpasses. They could include trees, even buildings. The more grand, the more expensive.

About $22 million is committed to the caps: $10 million from ODOT and $12 million from the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission.

I think these are as important as streetcars when it comes to downtown revitalization. Think of them as stitches for a really nasty laceration.

King Lear at Schiller

From ThisWeek:

Williams Shakespeare’s tragic tale of madness and betrayal takes the Actors’ Theatre stage for four weeks, starting tonight (July 12). Performances of “King Lear” will be held at the Schiller Park amphitheater Thursday through Sunday each week through Aug. 5. Shows begin at 8 p.m.

Unbelievably, I’ve yet to see one of these plays in Schiller Park. It’s been on my to-do list forever. Here’s the Actors’ Theatre website for more info.

Some thoughts on downtown and mass transit

Two posts today on two separate blogs on how mass transit fits into a renewed downtown Columbus. First up is John Kazalia from About.com, comparing Columbus to Portland:

Portland has lots of transit. LOTS OF IT. Light rail from east suburbs through downtown to west suburbs. A north-south streetcar line. Busways and busses everywhere. And most of it goes 24/7. And their ridership numbers show it–Portland transit gets as many riders in two months as COTA gets in a year….

What is there in downtown Columbus to ride a streetcar past at this point? Pretty much a dead mall and state office towers.

Of course, would the streetcars be the catalyst to bring things back to downtown Columbus? I don’t have a definite answer, but having seen downtown Portland I can say that Columbus has miles to go before our downtown is like theirs. Much, much, much more than just building streetcar lines.

Jamie Fellrath of Bike Commuting in Columbus (and into the blogroll with ye) left an interesting comment:

If Columbus could emulate them we would be in so much better shape. But it’s going to take more than just a trolley or some bike lanes - it’s going to take MUCH stricter zoning laws and greater cooperation between Columbus and the suburbs than we have now.

As long as Dublin, Gahanna, Hilliard, Delaware, etc. are pulling businesses outside of city limits, all the trolleys in the world won’t make a lick of difference.

It seems as if Jamie is asking for those satellite cities to cooperate in the destruction of their own business base, which of course is never going to happen. I believe Jamie’s view is based on the old paradigm of the downtown area having all the businesses, be it jobs or destinations like stores and restaurants, and the surrounding areas having all the homes- bedroom communities, as it were. This supports the classic urban mass transit model- all tracks lead downtown. It works best in New York due to that city’s unique geography. But even there, it works best if you work in Manhattan. It’s a real bitch to travel from Brooklyn to Queens, for example. So you can see how mass transit would be easier if businesses were coerced into operating downtown. But it’s a non-starter.

The other post is from Columbusite, whose point #5 on improving downtown is:

COTA, if it is to be useful at all, needs to stop serving sprawling suburbs which were built with total disregard for mass-transit. They aren’t wanted there and they cannot serve these areas well anyway. COTA needs to focus on proving good serve in urban areas, where they improve service like shortening waiting intervals. Streetcars would still be preferred since they don’t have the stigma that buses do, it’s hard to get lost on them, and they attract economic development which buses don’t since those routes could just disappear, negating any investment related to there being mass-transit.

This is the minimalist plan: the streetcars go downtown and to surrounding urban neighborhoods, but don’t really serve the larger metro area- not directly anyway. This is actually Columbus’s current streetcar plan, whose three lines would connect downtown to the Short North, Arena District, and German Village.

Like John, I’m agnostic on whether this would help. It really is a chicken and egg problem for downtown. Can new downtown destinations survive without an extant transit system to deliver customers? Will building a light rail or streetcar system spur downtown development? Columbusite says:

A very general observation but for a city our size to start becoming a 24/7 city we need around 10% of the total urban population downtown, which would be 30,000 people. Streetcars have proven themselves in spurring such development.

If such a plan works, and downtown becomes a much bigger destination, there then might be a call for a metro-area transit plan involving heavier rail. But even so, it’s going against the urban decentralization trend of the last 50 years.

German Village restaurant hunt

Restaurant recommendations are requested for a couple of Boston transplants:

My brother and his girlfriend are moving to Columbus, and I’d like to get a couple of gift certificates to help them explore their new neighborhood, which is called German-something, and is near downtown.

It looks like the commenters have covered all the usual suspects, plus Happy Dragon, which is indispensable ’round here.

Attack of the pussycats!

WANTED!

According to NBC4i, “German Village has a cat problem“:

According to residents, the area is overrun with stray felines, NBC 4’s Marshall McPeek reported.

The cats hide under cars, in garages, in boarded up buildings or anywhere with a little shelter. And they’re multiplying fast.

A group called Save the Wild Side estimates that there are 500 stray cats in German Village, and they have a plan to deal with it.

They call the program T.N.R. which stands for trap, neuter and release.

According to the group, volunteers trap the cats, fix them and then place them back on the streets.

The group claims to have already treated more than 60 cats at their monthly clinics.

More at ThisWeek.

(Photo: remixed Cat Portrait by fensterbme @ Flickr.)

Schiller Park to get info kiosk

Suburban News is reporting:

Any questions on Schiller Park could soon be answered.

An informational kiosk is being erected in the park this week. It’s a development that has been a long time coming, said German Village Society Executive Director Katharine Moore.

“We had talked about this several years ago, that something was missing in Schiller Park — signage, entry (features). There’s also a lack of information once you’re in Schiller Park,” she said. “So the idea of a kiosk came up….”

The kiosk will provide information about programs in Schiller Park and at the Schiller Recreation Center, as well as maps of the park and German Village, Moore said….

The kiosk — located in the southern part of the park near the Crater’s Sandwich stand — will give information on the German Village Society as well.

A ceremony will be held at 11 a.m. Sunday during which the kiosk will be dedicated to the memory of Carmen Phryne Dailey.

No word on whether the kiosk will have internet access.

Haus und Garten Tour on Sunday

German Village bungalows

ThisWeek has an article on “new” German Village homes that will be featured in Sunday’s Haus und Garten Tour:

When people think “German Village” they generally recall small brick cottages or large brick Italianate and Queen Anne style homes, and while this isn’t a bad thing, we’ve certainly got more to offer.

This weekend’s Haus und Garten Tour is unique in that it offers several different architectural styles one doesn’t often associate with German Village (but probably should). In a word, the structures that don’t fit our traditional mold are one thing: new.

Some are newer than others, and bear in mind that in a neighborhood with structures more than 150 years old, the word “new” holds an unusual definition. For instance, a house built in the 1920s is in many ways considered “new” here.

The tour is this Sunday, from 9-6. Tickets are $15 on this German Village Society webpage. $20 day of.

Columbus excelsior

Columbus: your new country-wide vacation hotspot of choice. Who needs Vegas or Orlando? German Village is lots better than the Germany section of EPCOT. And now that the Short North has those damn lights lit, Vegas is superfluous.

More Skybus-related boosterism here and here.

Columbus reviewed again

Here’s another Skybus-inspired review of Columbus, this time out of Kansas City by Allen Holder. The tagline: “A new budget airline could turn the city into a destination. But what can you see in a day?” Here’s a section:

The German Village is one of Columbus’ most historic and interesting neighborhoods.

“People think they’re coming to visit a German cultural neighborhood, which we’re not,” said Susan Sharrock, the German Village Society’s tour and administrative coordinator, from the neighborhood’s Meeting Haus and visitor center.

Instead, it’s a historic preservation area and home to 2,500 to 3,000 people, said Jody Graichen, the society’s historic preservation officer.

By the 1860s, one-third of Columbus was German, Graichen said. “The people who settled here were interested in starting on a clean slate, and this area wasn’t settled yet.”

Today many of the mostly red-brick homes have been painstakingly restored and sit close together behind neatly landscaped, if tiny lawns. On a walk along City Park Avenue, I picked up a flier for one 2,800-square foot home: $685,000. Yikes.

A focal point is the 23-acre Schiller Park, named for the German poet, philosopher and historian Johann Christoph Friedrich von Schiller. A large bronze statue of him looks over broad lawns and flower gardens.

I would have liked to linger, and apparently I had. My stroll had put me 20 minutes behind schedule. No way to win a race.

The German Village? The reporter also makes it to the Short North, the Arena District, and a few other places. There’s also a brief COSI video.

The article is titled “Hello, Columbus”, just like the last one. C’mon people, it’s too obvious!

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