Saturday, December 22, 2007


Anyone notice that this signage at 5th Avenue and 4th Street changed to "New Retail Space Coming Soon"? Sounds promising. This is a prime location since all the new residential projects are a few blocks south on 4th and 5th is a major traffic corridor and a gateway into the City.

Of course, the little corner bbq place would need to relocate. I hear the ribs are good but the blue tarp on the leaky roof makes me a little nervous.


Back in DC I hoed my little heart out in a community garden plot for almost four years. The experience was great with the exception of when my plot neighbor cut down my sunflowers one day because she felt they shaded her squash too much. I digress. Not only was I able to grow my own fresh vegetables and flowers but gardening was a great stress outlet for me and allowed me meet my fellow neighbors. From spring till fall, we would hold monthly on site bbq's, volunteer projects, etc. so it was a very close knit group.

After moving here a year ago I wanted to replicate the experience but had a hard time finding a location or person to contact so after a while I gave up. However, I just recently moved to the Italian Village and stumbled upon what appears to be a rundown community garden on Punta Street between Hamlet and Fourth Avenue. Obviously the winter season is party responsible for the garden's condition but I have feeling it is not as well loved as ones back in DC where most people do not have backyards. Anyone know about this site? I thought I would reach out to the online community before I contact the Growing to Green organization.

On a related note, as of 2006 the Franklin Park Conservatory became home of the American Community Garden Association. This is a pretty big deal and I wish Columbus would do more to publicize this organization and how it chose to relocate here.

Thursday, December 13, 2007


I fell in love with diagonal crosswalks in Pasadena earlier this year and think that they would work well in areas in Columbus with heavier pedestrian traffic such as Lane and High and in downtown. For those of you who are unfamiliar with them, at a certain time in the lighting cycle all four directions of traffic gets a red light allowing pedestrians to cross the intersection in any direction. It allows pedestrians to save time by reducing the wait time for crossing multiple approaches and provides benefits to drivers to because drivers turning right or left are not hindered by pedestrian traffic.

Monday, December 10, 2007


Last month the Columbus Dispatch did a nice feature on the Old Franklinton Cemetary and its adoptive caretaker Gary Royer. I have always found historic cemetaries with their weathered markers enchanting and fun to walk around. Not only are may of the markers beautifully crafted but they represent a community's past. Unfortunately these old burial grounds become neglected as family members of the buried move or pass away and maintance funds are redirected elsewhere.

Victorian era cemetaries were designed to be pleasure grounds where families regularly gathered and enjoyed the landscaped grounds. As public parks and private backyards became commonplace cemetaries became just where Aunt Mildred went after she expired. How people began to perceive cemetaries became unnesarily completely different. While I doubt that I'll propose a game of touch football at Old Franklinton any time soon, I believe cemetaries can be better integrated into the still-living community.

One of the biggest gripes urban Columbusites talk about it is the lack of dog parks in the city so how about dog walking community adopt the Old Franklinton Cemetary as a designated site? I imagine several people just made horrified faces at this suggestion. Before you judge hear me out.

The Congressional Cemetary in DC,the final resting place of J. Edgar Hoover and John Philip Sousa, was until the 1990's a neglected, vandalized cemetary despite its historical significance. Dog walkers saved the park from going to hell. Residents formed a neighborhood association and began using the cemetary for their dogs to exercise. The increased number of people in the park discouraged illegal activity and allowed the community to meet one another. The focus of the group then turned to restoring the cemetary and funded its activities through a dog walking membership program. People pay $200 a year and $50 for each dog to use the grounds.

Check out their dog walking site at
and the cemetary at

Hollywood looked to its past to save its historic cemetary. Every summer beginning in May the Hollywood Forever Cemetary hosts a movie series that features many of the stars buried on the grounds. Old movies are shown outdoors on the side of a masoleum and movie goers can bring refreshments. For one evening a week the cemetary comes alive and becomes a fun gathering space for the community.

The website is at

I think people's mindsets need to be changed about cemetaries. Sure, cemetaries need to be respected but they do not need to become off limit areas. Deceased people are not disrespected by people enjoying the cemetary grounds with their pets and loved ones. The deceased are disrespected when we forget about them completely.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007


This is really great news since the current headquarters is really awful from both the outside and inside. I need to drive by the new location but I wish it was more centrally located in downtown. I believe this location overlooks 70/71.

Redfern states the need for the new accommodations very well- a new building will reflect the growing resurgence of the Democratic party in Ohio. I hope that the new headquarters will be open to having progressive groups use the new space for meetings and gatherings (if party rules allow).

Democrats buy new, bigger HQ Downtown
Wednesday, December 5, 2007 2:16 PM
By Joe Hallett

Buoyed by a rebirth after the 2006 statewide election, the Ohio Democratic Party has purchased a new Downtown home, nearly tripling the size of its current headquarters at 271 E. State St.

State party Chairman Chris Redfern said today that the party will move its staff of 38 to the 29,000-square-foot building formerly occupied by the Salvation Army at the corner of Fulton and Grant streets on Dec. 14.

Redfern said the building was listed for sale at $2.2 million and the party paid $1.6 million. The party will use money from its state building fund, which can accept corporate contributions, to pay the mortgage. A single corporation cannot contribute more than 10 percent of the total cost of the building under Ohio law.

“We believe we’re now the most successful state party organization in the nation, and if you are, you need to have a building appropriate for that,” Redfern said.

Through much of the 1990s and early 2000s, the Democrats were on life support as Republicans controlled all branches of government. But the party made a comeback in 2006 by winning four of five state executive offices and picking up seats in the General Assembly and Congress.

Redfern said the party will sell its current headquarters after the November 2008 election. Meanwhile, it will make the building available for rent to Democratic presidential candidates during the primary election campaign and to the party’s eventual nominee through the rest of the 2008. The party bought the building from the Ohio AFL-CIO for $825,000 in 1998 and still owes just under $600,000, Redfern said.

The new headquarters, wheelchair accessible unlike the old one, contains a commercial kitchen and will be used for a variety of party functions, including state central and executive committee meetings and fund-raisers. The party has had to rent buildings for such functions until now. The new facility also has twice as many parking places as the old.

Sunday, December 2, 2007



City's public art, such as it is, gets some oversight
Sunday, December 2, 2007 3:28 AM
By Robert Vitale

One of Columbus' public sculptures, The City, sits rusting, wrapped in snow fencing at Bicentennial Park and bearing a sign admonishing visitors to avoid climbing it.
Who better to pass judgment on the merits of art than the men and women who pave Columbus streets?

Nearly 50 years after creating a Columbus Art Commission to oversee sculptures, murals, fountains and other works in public places, the city finally has convened the group, whose roster of artists and art experts will take over duties previously assigned to transportation engineers.

The commission's seven members have met three times since October. They will make decisions about maintaining city-owned art, buying or accepting new pieces, and allowing private owners to place artwork on city property.


A great eight part series about the state of Ohio's major cities launched today. Check it out.

On the brink
Can Ohio's big cities be saved?

Sunday, December 2, 2007 3:47 AM
By Mark Niquette, Alan Johnson and Joe Hallett

The pictures are old, faded, black and white.

But the vibrancy of Ohio's once-thriving big cities remains crystal clear. You see it in faces in the crush of people outside W.T. Grant's in downtown Youngstown in 1952, the frenetic shift change at B.F. Goodrich Co. in Akron in the 1940s, a bustling street market in Dayton in 1910.

Most of the stores, factories and people in those photos are long gone, reminders of an era when Ohio's large cities were powerhouses. Their workers helped build America with the steel, cars and tires they made. Their entrepreneurs gave the world powered flight, the automobile self-starter and other inventions.

Today, however, most of Ohio's seven largest cities are teetering.

With the exception of Columbus, they have shed more than one-third of their population and watched as income, home values and other economic indicators dropped below national averages while poverty, job losses, crime and foreclosures skyrocketed.

For the rest visit....

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


Here is a great opportunity for people to suggest what should happen on the Far East Side. This appeal comes from the City of Columbus planners. Read on.

We are in contract to buy the old streetcar facility at Oak &
Kelton. The facility was built in the 1880s, and covers about 3.2
acres in about 5 buildings in various stages of falling down. Our
goal would be to rehab and preserve the existing buildings -- I
repeat -- we have no plans for demolition!! !

We are exploring a couple different concepts for the site. The one
that has resonated the most with the people I have talked with is a
concept for a community market -- a gathering place where you can
come and spend a few hours on a weekend, browsing, looking, and
ultimately BUYING unique, one-of-a-kind items made by local
craftspersons or antiques.

This concept would involve leasing small spaces to craftspersons
(jewelery, pottery, woodwork, stained glass, artists, etc.) for
around $100-$150 per month, but running the market like a department
store with centralized management/cashier. Ideally, there would be
+/- 50-75 different small vendors, selling any number of mix of
items (ideally self-made), which could include:

- The aforementioned craftspersons
- Antique dealers (probably focusing more on furniture and home
goods more than knicknacks)
- Speciality food items (a hot sauce store, like in New Orleans!!??)
- Local/speciality beers and wines
- Health/wellness items, vitamins, nutritional supplements
- Candles, incense, aromatherapy, soaps/bath products
- Bakery
- Flowers/Greeting cards/Books
- Coffee shop/small restaurant or grill/gathering place

There is also room on the site for a small amphitheater that could
host things like clowns, jugglers, acoustic music, etc. In my mind,
if we went down this path, the goal would be to create a funky,
eclectic kind of place unlike any other in the city -- a place kind
of like my favorite book store, the Book Loft, that you want to show
other people because it is so unique.

Obviously, there would be zoning questions that would have to be
satisfied to do this type of thing, so what we could consider is
something that would ideally have the buy-in and rabid support of
surrounding residents. (And before that, there are project funding
questions -- can you create a solid enough plan to convince lenders
to finance something like this?)

The questions I have for the group are:

1) the site is off the beaten path -- do you think a concept like
that could survive (and then thrive) in this "tucked away"
2) what types of things could be offered there that the neighborhood
needs and that would draw steady business from within the
3) what would need to happen to make this a funky, cool, quirky kind
of place where you would want to hang out with your friends for a
couple hours on a sunny Saturday (or is that even the right goal)?
4) what other concepts or ideas should we consider for the site?

Thanks much for your ideas and insights. Please respond robustly
(whatever that means) ...

-- Jon Beard
Columbus Compact Corp.
251-0926 ext. 101

Friday, November 23, 2007


This is the site on N. High where I play human frogger every other day. Sometimes its exciting, sometimes it is just scary. My goal is not to become that tragic scene in many a Lifetime Channel movie where a woman crossing the street at the last minute sees a speeding car's headlights. All the viewer sees is the woman's panic stricken, wide-eyed face and then one shoe flying in the air. It never ends well.

After coming from a very pedestrian-friendly city, it can be alarming to be in Columbus where pedestrian traffic is an afterthought and drivers can be openly confrontational with pedestrians. I would love to see High Street, Cleveland Avenue and other streets add some pedestrian traffic safeguards to make people more comfortable with walking.

Some good options include adding in-pavement lighting and landscaped median islands. In-pavement lighting is essentially lights embedded in the roadway at crosswalks that are visible to oncoming traffic. Lights can flash continously or be triggered by a push button or sensed by automotic detection features. Median islands where pedestrians can safely stop midway during crossing a street. The islands not only provided a buffer from oncoming traffic but they improve the aesthetics of the street.

Or I guess I could wear neon green jumpsuits when walking.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007


While not in Columbus, Holiday Lights is a cute, hometown event in downtown Gahanna that kicks off the Christmas season. Pop into Seeker's Coffee Shop in the new Creekside Development and get yourself a peppermint latte to stay warm.

Join in the festivities at one of the most unique holiday parades and festivals in the Midwest! The Holiday Lights! Parade & Festival, held the Saturday after Thanksgiving, is most known for Central Ohio’s Original All-lighted Nighttime Parade, a spectacle that draws over 50,000 attendees to the streets of Gahanna to watch a stream of 100 entries including horse-drawn carriages, marching bands, floats, antique fire engines, and more!

Head down before the sun sets to enjoy festival activities for the whole family. Children and adults alike will enjoy crafts, games, entertainment, food and more! Be sure to come early to brave the crowds and get a good spot on the parade route!

Don’t miss this exciting kickoff to the season of magic, at the 2007 Ninth Annual Gahanna Holiday Lights! Parade & Festival, Saturday, November 24!

Friday, November 16, 2007


City to raze old Schottenstein store
Friday, November 16, 2007 2:32 PM

The city plans to demolish the old Schottenstein store at Parsons and Reeb avenues, along with a nearby grocery.

The city plans to spend $325,000 to tear down the landmark department store and the IGA supermarket just to the west on Reeb. Some South Siders had said the city should redevelop the grocery site into a new community health center.

The Columbus City Council is set to vote on approving the money on Monday.

The city bought the building last year, saying the site would be a major component of the area's redevelopment. Plans call for some sort of commercial or retail use there, said Mark Froehlich, president and chief executive of Columbus Urban Growth Corp.,

Some residents and business owners have expressed frustration with the lack of progress on redeveloping the corridor, which thrived in the days when jobs at factories and plants were plentiful on the industrial South Side.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007


While everyone loves a cannon, will people travel in from the suburbs just to hear it fire? I am going out on a limb here and say no. And what is with the Civil War re-enactors? Since when is the spirit of the holidays best represented by referencing state secession?

This annual event has the potential to be so much more than it is. I think this would be great if the Lighting of the Christmas Tree coincided with a free outdoor holiday concert that brought together local performing arts groups such as the Columbus Symphony and the Columbus Children's Choir. An outdoor holiday crafts fair, complimentary apple cider, and seasonal food vendors would really compliment this event and make it appealing to a diverse population. I also have issue with the timing. While this event may be able to attract downtown workers who are just punching out for the day there is little time for them to collect their family members and return to the Capitol.

I am hopeful that this event will evolve and perhaps when NBC relocates their broadcasting studio downtown across from the Capital they can help sponsor an overhauled and much improved Columbus Holiday Celebration.

And no mention of a menorah or Kwanza? Really?? I guess it really is an accurately told Civil War Christmas in Columbus.

Statehouse Holiday Tree Lighting and Festival
Get ready to celebrate the holidays Downtown. On Wednesday, Nov. 14, Governor and First Lady Strickland will kick off the holiday season by lighting the 92nd annual Statehouse holiday tree. The ceremony will begin at 5:30 pm on the West steps of the Ohio Statehouse. Immediately following the tree lighting, the Governor will command the firing of a Civil War era cannon, which will signal the simultaneous lighting of the buildings on Capitol Square.

The ceremony will be followed by a free festival in the Statehouse Rotunda, with refreshments, performances, a model train display, a Santa Claus photo station, a finger printing I.D. activity station, Civil War re-enactors, a theatrical reading of A Christmas Carol, and the opportunity to visit with Clara and the Nutcracker from BalletMet's The Nutcracker and Stinger from the Blue Jackets.

Friday, November 9, 2007


Shake-up at Pearl Alley farmers' market
Friday, November 9, 2007 5:38 AM
By Monique Curet

Capital Crossroads will replace the Pearl Alley Growers' Association with its own farmers.
The group that pioneered the annual Pearl Alley farmers' market Downtown won't be part of it next year.

A long-simmering dispute over the location of produce and merchandise booths came to a head last week when Capital Crossroads Special Improvement District said it will replace the Pearl Alley Growers' Association with its own group of farmers.

Capital Crossroads, which represents High Street business owners, holds the permit for the summertime market.

Those who are part of the growers' group are welcome to join the new one, Capital Crossroads director Cleve Ricksecker said in a letter to the farmers.

Ricksecker introduced another element to the dispute in a separate letter to the farmers' market managers: too few vendors. The main reason for ending the relationship with the Pearl Alley growers group was its "inability … to attract and retain farmers in the market," he wrote to Marcy Musson, who manages the group with her husband.

"As farmers' markets flourish in central Ohio, the Pearl Alley Farmers' Market gets smaller each year. The presence and health of a farmers' market in downtown is too important to allow this trend to continue."

The heart of the dispute is vendor location. Traditionally, the farmers occupied the mouth of Pearl Alley near Broad Street and allowed general-merchandise vendors in that area at their discretion.

Capital Crossroads wanted to close the gaps between vendors on days when few farmers set up shop, to appear fuller and attract customers. The farmers were concerned about maintaining their identity.

"We wouldn't have done this if we weren't hearing from most of the farmers out there who are very unhappy with the way the market is being run," Ricksecker said in an interview.

Musson declined to comment.

Ricksecker told Pearl Alley growers that fees for participation would be reduced, although he didn't know how much. Farmers pay $350 to have a booth for the whole season, or they can pay by the day, $25 each day.

"I'm just hoping that the market continues in whatever capacity," said Mike Anderson, owner of Sundog Specialty Crops and a member of the Pearl Alley Growers' Association. He raises certified-organic fruits, vegetables and flowers at his Sunbury farm.

Anderson said he'd be willing to work with Capital Crossroads to keep selling at the market.

"It's important to our farm to have those marketing outlets."

Thursday, November 8, 2007


Just like sex being safer (not safe) when a condom is used, parking lots can be eco-friendlier (not friendly as stated below) when fly ash is used.

Would love to see this incorporated into Coleman's Get Green initiative if the observation period at OSU shows promising results. A logical first location would be the to-be-redeveloped Weinland Park Kroger.

Hold up fly ash, hold up.

Rachel Lichtenfeld
The Lantern Nov. 8, 2007

A motorcycle on the new parking surface in front of the Journalism Building.While many riders use the new motorcycle parking lot outside Caldwell Laboratory, which was installed in August, few realize the significance of the lot: It is made of eco-friendly pervious concrete and is the first project of its kind at Ohio State.

Pervious concrete leaks water like a sieve, allowing water to return to the ground and eliminates the need for a drainage system. It is created by leaving most of the sand out of a concrete mixture and replacing some of the cement with fly ash, a coal by-product. The removal of most of the sand from the concrete mixture creates small holes that allow rainwater and snow to filter directly into the ground.

Tarunjit Butalia, a research scientist in civil and environmental engineering and coordinator of the Ohio Coal Combustion Product Center, said replacing cement with fly ash has environmental benefits.

"For every ton of cement in concrete that you replace with fly ash, you avoid 0.8 tons of CO2 emissions," he said. "And with pervious concrete, you're also recharging the groundwater instead of having standing water, which can be a health hazard."

For full Lantern article....

Monday, November 5, 2007


Remember to vote tomorrow, Tues. Nov. 6.

If you have any questions regarding where you are scheduled to vote, what form of identification to bring with you, etc. check online at the Ohio Secretary of State home page. Jen Brunner's got your back.

Yours truly will single handidly preventing voting irregularities as a precinct poll worker from the ungodly hour of 5:30 a.m. until 7:30 p.m. I think I just heard a choir of angels begining to sing my praise.

Friday, November 2, 2007


I've often found that the smallest details make the biggest impact. Take for example this choose-your-own-adventure sidewalk story that has been created by a street artist in San Francisco's Mission District. The artist using spray paint stencils on the sidewalk tells a love story between a man and a woman. Four different endings are possible based on which direction the reader chooses to follow the story.

In case you can't read the picture text here it is in a little larger font. "A sudden guest of wind blows the plastic daisy from his bike and across the street". If you want the character to retrieve it, you must turn left. If you want him to continue without it, you move forward. Based on what you want the character to do, you shape the story and the ultimate outcome.

This is just a beautiful, flirty idea and ideal for a downtown such as Columbus where sidewalks are large and not overly crowded so the story can be noticed and people won't be upset if you stop and read it. These stories can be written by local authors, tell a story about the neighborhood they appear in, be temporary or permanent, etc. Several different stories can appear along the same stretch and not be confused if the text border and paint color distinguish the stories.

I especially like this idea because I think it appeals to residents and tourists alike and is a surprising, fun and potentially heart warming experience to stumble upon. Sidewalks are blank pallets and it is up to us to make art.


Permanent installation
With gift, conservatory's Palm House to glow
Friday, November 2, 2007 3:35 AM
By Tim Feran
The Columbus Dispatch

A James Turrell project in various shades: the Gas Company in Leipzig, Germany
An internationally known artist will transform the Palm House at the Franklin Park Conservatory into a million-dollar art show, conservatory officials announced yesterday.
Using a gift from the Limited Brands Foundation, James Turrell will create a permanent installation to illuminate the Victorian-era glass building from dusk till dawn -- but not in a traditional way.
As with other Turrell works, the lights will mix colors within the space, essentially allowing the building "to perform," said Bruce Harkey, executive director of the conservatory.
The light will be controlled by a computer program
designed by Ben Pearcy,
under Turrell's direction, and delivered through low-voltage light-emitting diode technology.
The Palm House will remain open during the installment.
Harkey expects the project -- to premiere next fall -- to gain a worldwide profile, attracting visitors from around the globe to the conservatory, 1777 E. Broad St.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007


Flowers on Orchard Lane is preparing to open its new digs at 139 E. Main St. on Nov. 9. Among the plans: a drive-up window on Lazelle for call-ahead orders.

We’re making it so easy for people,” says owner Janet Reese. “They don’t even have to get out of their car.”

After ten years in a small shop in Clintonville, Reese is moving her shop to a much larger space Downtown.

“Our whole family is urban-oriented,” she says. “We really like Downtown.”

With more space will come more offerings. Flowers on Orchard Lane will feature a full-blown flower boutique with a line of bridal accessories and chocolates from Pure Imagination, plus one-of-a-kind home accessories and gifts. And you can watch the flower people work their flower magic thanks to an open workspace.

The name, however, will stay the same. Reese says Knot magazine, the wedding industry bible, recently named Flowers on Orchard Lane one of the best in the Midwest, so a switch now would not be good.

“I’d love to be Flowers on Main,” she says. “But we’ll stick with the name people know.”

Flowers on Orchard Lane - on Main - will host an open house Nov. 9 and 10. Call 800-599-2994 for more info.

Monday, October 29, 2007


This has been done a million times elsewhere but I am still game.

OSU to place 6-foot-tall 'Brutus on Parade' statues around city
Monday, October 29, 2007 12:21 PM
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Cincinnati had painted pigs around town several years ago, and Cleveland had giant, specially-decorated guitars.

Next year, Columbus will host one of these public art projects, which Ohio State University is calling “Brutus on Parade.”

The school is looking for sponsors to help put 6-foot-2 fiberglass statues of the Buckeyes mascot around the city, to benefit the renovation planned for the campus library. The Web site for the project shows examples of possible designs for the statues, including Brutus painted to look like Elvis or Buckeyes' legendary football coach Woody Hayes.

The designs will be chosen by the sponsors.

Four statues will be unveiled at a kickoff event this Wednesday.

Sunday, October 28, 2007


Looks like Kroger bulldozed the two houses that sat on Courtland Street adjacent to their current store. I haven't seen any proposed/approved design or a timeline associated with their new store but it appears that they are gearing up. I cannot wait for what the neighborhood calls "kro-ghetto" to close. The store is poorly constructed on the site i.e. parking lot along the street, large box facade, etc. and just plain dirty on the inside.


I am really proud of the Franklinton Neighborhood Assoc for standing their ground on the style and quality of housing they want for the area. Too often developers come into struggling neighborhoods and build inferior houses or those that do not fit in with the existing community but expect to be heralded as a hero because they built something while others have not. City leadership frequently allows this development to occur because they can say that they have spearheaded change in a needed part of town. Infill development is tricky and must interact positively with its surroundings. What Gazarra is proposing is just another development that will do nothing for Franklinton.

Porches are especially important for this community because they are natural gathering spaces for residents and the more people outside means there are more eyes on the street. An increased street presence typically results in reduced criminal activity because people know they are being watched.

Homes not right fit for neighborhood, leaders say
Sunday, October 28, 2007 4:07 AM

Vince Gazzara wants to build four houses in Franklinton, the poor Columbus neighborhood of century-old houses just west of Downtown that is struggling to reverse its fortunes.

But he doesn't want to build basements, garages or porches. So neighborhood leaders -- as much as they want new construction -- don't want his houses.

The houses Gazzara wants to build aren't fancy. They're two-story, vinyl-sided homes on slabs that would sell for $75,000.

Carol Stewart, who leads the Franklinton Area Commission, said she wants better.

"We would rather see a green space than to put up something that doesn't match the neighboring houses," she said.

Gazzara said neighborhood leaders' requirements that he build houses with garages, basements and porches would make his homes unaffordable.

Saturday, October 27, 2007


Not my favorite name ever but apparently the Emperor's Newest Clothes has a loyal following at its current location in Grandview. Not sure if they are expanding to two shops or limiting their operations to just Columbus. Location is 636 N. High Street next door to East Village.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


New face at N. High and W. 5th.

I am intrigued.


JetBlue to quit Columbus
Tuesday, October 23, 2007 8:54 AM
JetBlue announced today it will discontinue operations in Columbus and Nashville on Jan. 6.

"We are taking the difficult but necessary step to discontinue operations in these two markets," Dave Barger, JetBlue's chief executive, said in a statement. "After more than 12 months of service and a detailed review of traffic and revenue trends in these two cities, we have decided to redeploy our assets."

The annoucement came as the company reported third quarter earnings. Net income for the quarter was $23 million, or 12 cents per diluted share, compared with a third quarter 2006 net loss of $500,000.

The New York-based company began its service from Port Columbus with four daily nonstop flights to New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport on Oct. 3, 2006.

Monday, October 22, 2007


I am happy to see roundabouts finally coming into vogue in Central Ohio. The article is a nice introduction for many people to roundabouts but I thought I would add a couple of tidbits.

Roundabouts and traffic circles can be extremely beneficial to not only suburban communities and heavily trafficked roads but also to major urban centers. NYC and DC have been embracing roundabouts and traffic circles for years in their inner city. Many of these circles have become hugely popular parks and public spaces where city dwellers gather- some are even dog walking parks.

Roundabouts are also great opportunities for communities to place large public art pieces. Dublin has installed a faux ruin in one of their roundabouts and while I find it really cheesy I do applaud them for their attempt.

No getting around roundabout craze
Monday, October 22, 2007 3:42 AM
By Martin Rozenman
Hilliard plans to build five more roundabouts like this one at Britton Parkway and Riggins Road. Statistics show the traffic circles reduce crashes and injuries when compared with traditional intersections. They save money and fuel, too."
Hilliard plans to build five more roundabouts like this one at Britton Parkway and Riggins Road. Statistics show the traffic circles reduce crashes and injuries when compared with traditional intersections. They save money and fuel, too.
Central Ohioans are turning to the right more often these days. That's because of the growing popularity of roundabouts, not conservative politics.
Long popular in Europe and Australia, the circular intersections where everyone turns right are becoming trendy here, too.
An unofficial count by the engineering and architectural design firm Burgess & Niple showed eight roundabouts moving traffic in central Ohio with four under construction and 19 more planned.

For more...


Skybus to make Greensboro, N.C., second hub
Monday, October 22, 2007 12:23 PM
By Marla Matzer Rose
Skybus Airlines will name Greensboro, N.C., as its first “focus city” outside Columbus today at that city’s Piedmont Triad International Airport. Flights to cities other than Columbus will begin in January, and will include current Skybus destinations in Florida and elsewhere.
State and local officials in the Greensboro area joined the airport in courting Skybus with millions of dollars worth of incentives. Greensboro’s main competition was Richmond, Va., which still hopes to add more service from Skybus as early as mid-2008.

Saturday, October 20, 2007


City has eyes on Cooper Stadium
Columbus seeks to annex 47 acres from township
Saturday, October 20, 2007 3:29 AM
As the Columbus Clippers prepare to move out of Cooper Stadium, their old home might move into Columbus.

The City Council will take up legislation Monday to annex the 47 acres of ballpark, work buildings and parking lots, which have been part of Franklin Township since before the stadium opened in 1932. Annexation also needs approval from Franklin County, which owns the land.

County commissioners put the stadium site up for sale last month, hoping it gets snatched up by private developers with big plans. A proposal backed by Franklinton business leaders, to turn the site into a Harley-Davidson dealership and tourist attraction, fell through this year.

The Clippers will play their last season in Cooper Stadium next year and then move to Huntington Park, which is being built in the Arena District.

In a statement yesterday, Mayor Michael B. Coleman said city government already is involved in projects around the old stadium on W. Mound Street, including the West Edge Business Park and improvements to housing in Franklinton.

"We want to see Cooper Stadium reborn as an asset to the entire community, whether as a site for recreation and tourism or jobs and business development," Coleman said.

Spokesman Mike Brown said annexation will give Columbus a say in the site's future. The city has more experience in urban redevelopment, he said, and will be able to offer tax breaks and other incentives to shape its future.

Cooper Stadium is valued between $3.25 million and $3.7 million. Its tax exemption under county ownership means no taxes for Franklin Township or South-Western City Schools.

Annexation to the city would shut out both -- and benefit Columbus and Columbus City Schools -- just as the property moves into private hands.

"We definitely oppose it," Franklin Township Trustee Tim Guyton said. "We have the same services we need to maintain as everyone else."

Guyton said there's nothing the township can do to stop annexation, though. He said county officials have promised him they will try to broker a tax-sharing agreement with Columbus.

South-Western schools officials weren't available for comment.

Friday, October 19, 2007


I am really disappointed to read that the Franklin County Court House design may change from the bottom image to the top image. Pizutti has really made a sincere effort to come up with a unique design that embraces environmentally friendly practices and interacts well with the site and the surrounding buildings. Downtown which has lost its architectural history through demolition cannot afford to put up another bland appearing building. While I recognize that their are financial limitations to consider I strongly believe that we are once again missing a unique opportunity to create a new image for our downtown by not creating an architecturally significant civic building. Full story below.

Courthouse price tag soars by $11 million
Friday, October 19, 2007 3:53 AM
By Barbara Carmen
Franklin County commissioners were reeling from sticker shock yesterday, after learning their dazzling, $105 million glass courthouse could run 10 percent over budget unless they make hard choices.
"It looks like $11 million in compromises," Commissioner Paula Brooks said after meeting with architects.
Designers described the proposed ways to stay on budget as "value engineering options."
Commissioners had an immediate reaction to the redesigned exteriors. They didn't like them.
"It looks kind of like an old post office," Brooks said. "Where have these issues been before? This is a pretty big design change."
Architects allowed that the projector they were using wasn't the best, but they didn't argue that they liked the original -- and pricier -- designs better.
Mike Bird of Pizzuti Solutions, which is overseeing the project for commissioners, said they're not over budget, and choices made in coming weeks by commissioners will keep it that way.
General conceptual designs were unveiled in June. Actual engineering recently provided a clearer price tag.
"This is how these projects go. You have to fine-tune. Rarely do they come in under budget," Bird said. "We're saying to commissioners: Here are some options. Here are some opportunities."
Some proposed cuts were better received than others. For example, commissioners indicated it makes sense to eliminate 4-foot-deep ledges on the north side of the building. That will save $2.2 million in construction materials. And the windows will be cheaper to clean because crews won't need to stretch.
"Four feet -- that's as big as me!" quipped Commissioner Marilyn Brown, who is not quite that petite.
The redesign might also please the Downtown Commission, whose members compared the deeply recessed facade to a parking garage.
That commission has the ability to kill a project it doesn't like, but Chairman Harrison Smith said he'll wait to pass judgment until he sees the choices commissioners make.
"It's a question of whether these trade-offs are made in sensible ways," Smith said. "I think we have to recognize budget constraints. The place I don't like to see them come, I guess, is at a time this late in the process."
One proposal already raising eyebrows is the use of pre-cast concrete on the west side of the building. The original design has walls of windows facing the river. This glass would be discarded in 2030 if the courthouse is expanded.
Commissioner Mary Jo Kilroy appeared skeptical: "So it would look like that for 20 years? That's a significant change in the look and feel of the building.
"I've asked all along, 'Could we build this building with this budget?' The building seems not quite the same building we were getting before."
David A. Brehm of the DesignGroup, lead architect on the project, told commissioners they are keenly aware that they're producing an "important building … But, we're driven to meet budget."
The public likely won't notice many of the change options outlined yesterday: For example, designers suggested using cheaper floor coverings in support-staff areas and shaving a few inches off each courtroom.
Cumulative savings, however, would be huge.
Brehm told commissioners he wanted to "get a feel for your acceptance" before proceeding with more detailed design drawings and showing changes to those who will use the new Common Pleas courthouse.
Watching closely is Judge Richard A. Frye, who said commissioners must weigh short-term costs with a long-term investment.
"They've never really had any hard designs to put a budget against," Frye said. "This building will really be a landmark. We can't roll over and make this thing a mess."


Update from the below post...Here is a pic of the cleared site.

My camera died on me this morning so I couldn't take a picture but I wanted to let you all know that the fuel station has been torn down. The canopy remains but crews were still onsite so that may be the next to go.

Thursday, October 18, 2007


I think this is another good step at bringing cultural centers alive downtown.

Interactive museum set for Statehouse
Thursday, October 18, 2007 4:00 AM
The new museum will be built on the ground level of the Statehouse. It will have touch-screen displays and images projected on the ceiling and walls.

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Hilferty Museum Planning and Exhibit Design

The new museum will be built on the ground level of the Statehouse. It will have touch-screen displays and images projected on the ceiling and walls.

State officials have approved building not one but two new Statehouses, both made entirely of glass.

One will light up internally to highlight architectural features. The second will project video and photographs on the walls showing major events in the 146-year history of the Statehouse.

Of course, the two new Statehouses will be pretty small: 4 feet wide and 18 inches tall, about one-64th the size of the real thing.

The models will be part of a $3.5 million interactive Statehouse Museum that by March 2009 will bring eye-popping interactive electronic exhibits and innovative hands-on displays to the rather drab ground-level floor or "crypt" level of the state capitol. The project will be funded with private donations from the nonprofit Capitol Square Foundation, along with $741,000 previously approved by the state legislature.

The Capitol Square Review and Advisory Committee, the panel that oversees the Statehouse and grounds, unanimously approved plans for the 15,000-square-foot museum yesterday.

"Our greatest hope," said Richard H. Finan, former Ohio Senate president and chairman of the board, "is that the Statehouse itself, complemented by the new museum, will inspire the next generation of public servants."

About 61,000 people toured the Statehouse last year; another 24,000 came for special events.

While it won't compete with Disney World, the new museum will feature state-of-the-art interactive technology: touch-screen displays, mini-projectors and images projected on ceilings and walls.

There also will be backdrops where visitors will be able stand at a podium and deliver their own State of the State speech or sit at the governor's desk and sign a bill into law as the governor -- and have it all captured on video.

Another electronic feature will allow visitors to try their hand at the daunting task of balancing the state budget, using a tabletop pie chart and colored balls to allocate spending for various categories. Computerized budget "experts" will be available to help.

Elections also will be highlighted, with a look at voting technology from the ballot box to touch-screens, as well as video displays for campaign TV commercials.

One highlight of the new museum will need no bells and whistles: the Ohio Constitution, displayed in a sealed case. Officials were uncertain whether the fragile original 1802 document or its 1851 successor will be exhibited.

Gerry Hilferty, president of Hilferty Museum Planning and Exhibit Design, a top national firm located in Athens that planned the museum, said no other working Statehouse in the country will match Ohio's high-tech presentation. Hilferty's clients include the Lewis and Clark Visitors Center in St. Louis, the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh, the Kentucky Derby Museum in Louisville, Ky., and the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C.

Charles R. Moses, chairman of the Capitol Square Foundation, said private donations still are being raised to pay for the museum project. More than a dozen local companies and foundations have contributed, including $100,000 from the Wolfe Foundation. John F. Wolfe is chairman, publisher and CEO of The Dispatch.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


The Nationwide Better Health Columbus Marathon run starts at the intersection of Broad and High Streets in downtown Columbus this Sunday, October 21, at 8:00 a.m. for runners (7 a.m. for walkers).
Marathons are great special events because they showcase city neighborhoods to the hundreds and sometime thousands of participants and spectators.
If you are not running think about cheering on the racers. It is a fun and encouraging way to spend a Sunday afternoon and as a past marathoner can attest to how helpful it is to see people on the sidelines. If you do decide to go this Sunday think about doing one or all of the following:
  • Write well wishes in chalk on the street
  • Cheer, clap and whistle- call out bib numbers or names
  • Bring a poster or sign
  • Bring candy, granola bars or cut oranges to hand out
A full course map is available at which can help you locate the runners or find alternative driving routes.


I've long admired the Addressing Machine and Supply building on E. Fourth Avenue across from the post office and was pleased to see it being cleaned out last Thursday. I did have to dodge objects being thrown into a pickup truck from the third floor but it still warmed my hear to see some progress on it.
Cue the rumor mill....what is going on in there? I hope they keep or fix the Adressing sign.


Every few days I load up my car with my recycling to take to Kroger on N. High. This never goes well for me. Either I forget to drop them off and my car ends up smelling like a mix of stale Diet Pepsi and red wine for a few days or I take a corner too fast and I end up with juice bottles wedged under my seat. I could simply pay for curbside recycling and end my self-inflicted suffering but I refuse to solely on principle. So the question is why should people be allowed to throw as much as they want in the trash can when it costs to recycle?

And now a vent followed by a suggestion.

To give Columbus credit, recycling collection sites and curbside recycling do exist and the City did experiment with the blue bag recycling for a short while. While these available options are better than not having any recycling programs, what we do have is insufficient and certainly not advancing environmentally friendly practices by the City. Mayor Coleman continually boasts his Get Green initiative but the plan is not all encompassing and only highlights his successes (i.e. Lazarus) and not what he is failing to do. Coleman has an awesome opportunity to make a bold decision and institute free curbside recycling but he fails to do so citing a promise made in the 1950's not to charge for waste collection. His lack of initiative reflects an overall complacency with maintaining the status quo.

Sorry, I got worked up. So if Mayor Coleman believes that people will not pay for trash collection how about starting an incentive-based recycling program similar to Philadelphia's Recycle Bank. This recommendation may sound familiar since it played on NPR this morning.
Recycle-Bank distributes green containers with identifying bar codes free of charge to any city resident. Collection trucks scan and weigh the containers to see how much is being recycled. Each participating household can earn up to 35 USD per month in the form of coupons to be used toward purchases at a major chain such as Starbucks. Participants can track and redeem their points online. Recycle-Bank makes a profit by charging the municipality about 24-30 USD per participating household which the City makes up in money saved in landfill fees.

I think this is a brilliant option that needs to be further explored by the City of Columbus. For more information on Recycle Bank, visit Their pig/trashcan logo alone is worth the visit alone.

Friday, October 12, 2007


The Orton Family Foundation enthusiastically announced its release of the Big Box Evaluator tool, designed to help communities and individuals learn about the impacts of big box retail stores. The unbiased tool is designed not to take a stand on big box development, but to help citizens make informed decisions based on each community's specific characteristics and values.

Available free to the public at, the web-based interface allows users to learn about commercial and retail development in general, but also to input specific information from their communities and receive customized reports on economics, values, planning and municpal services, and ways to improve the development process.

Citizens in communities facing proposals for big box development can select the type of town that most closely resembles their own, and the type of development proposed (neighborhood store to large "supercenter"). Users can then enter specific information and personal values in four categories (Economy, Environment, Society, and Visual), ranging from expected tax revenues to amount of signalized intersection work required, runoff mitigation requirements to the importance of community character.

The Big Box Evaluator creates a customized report for each user based on the specific inputs, with information like projected municipal costs and revenues, change in average wages, and annual price savings for family. Users are also given a list of action items based on the input values, which store developers can consider in order to help meet the community's concerns.

The Orton Family Foundation is a Colorado- and Vermont-based operating foundation supported by profits from the Vermont Country Store

Tuesday, October 9, 2007


Last night I listened to a presentation on bike-sharing and started wondering if a customized program could work in Columbus. Bike-sharing has existed since the 1960’s in Scandinavia but has jumped the pond and is now taking root in Washington, DC and San Francisco with New York City, Chicago, Portland, and Seattle all eyeing it’s potential. I understand that Columbus is not a bicycle active or friendly community and that the City lacks basic bicycle infrastructure such as a connected network of bicycle lanes but still I wonder.

I was thinking that a bike-sharing program would have the best chance at succeeding in Columbus if it was introduced on local college campuses, parks and trail sites, and the couple of existing dense neighborhoods. Bike-sharing spares people the expense of purchasing a bike they may not ride often and provides them with access to an affordable recreational activity and another option for running errands.

If an advertising company is not willing to fund the program like in DC or SF, creative sponsorships could be explored. An obvious one to me is to have college’s recreation center or student housing departments sponsor the bikes located on their campuses as part of their physical fitness and student life programming. As for trail locations, AEP could sponsor bike-sharing sites along the Scioto Mile since they are the lead developer of the project.

I think it might work.
If you want to know more about the concept of bike-sharing and how existing programs curb against theft, vandalism, etc. check out this appropriately named blog


CNN Money Magazine just named Columbus' Short North the 22nd Best Neighborhood to Retire in the U.S. Where do I mail my congratulations card?

Columbus, OH
Best place to retire: Short North
Pros: Super-affordable, close to the university
Cons: Not much in the way of nature around Columbus, and the downtown is still pretty sleepy
Real estate: One-bedroom condos can be found for $175,000 or so. Two-bedroom rentals can be found for $1,500.If you want to get back to city life in Columbus, skip downtown and go straight to Short North, an up and coming arts district. High Street, the main stretch, is lined with trees, galleries, funky restaurants and 17 beautiful lighted arches.It's a hip neighborhood, but there's room for all ages. "There's more empty nesters than young hipsters moving back," says local agent Joe Peffer. One gallery even exhibits work from retired artists. Short North is a stone's throw from the courses, lectures, and legendary football games of Ohio State, the largest university in the country.For a quieter neighborhood, Grandview Heights is just a couple miles west of downtown. It's on a river, close to OSU and has its own strip of restaurants on Grandview Avenue.

All 35 listed cities can be found at...


Goddard School, an early child development school, opened up today downtown at 3rd and Town. This is a great option for parents who work and/or live downtown and are looking for a center to place their children during the daytime. I think this is a great sign of business and residential life dramatically improving in the downtown corridor because educational and daycare facilities typically do not lead the lead the transformation of neighborhoods, rather they respond to a growing need.
Since Goddard is a nationally respected franchise this should be a clean, well-run, and safe place choice for parents to consider. Check them out....


The retail space next to East Village on N. High is currently being remodeled but so far no signage has been posted by the mysterious new tenants. The property owner, New Victorians, won't reveal anything either other than the tenants were planning on posting an announcement during the Gallery Hop but did not.


Gay St. building sold at auction
$1.5 million deal could help drive street's revival
Tuesday, October 9, 2007 3:35 AM
By Mike Pramik

An abandoned office building could become a cornerstone of a renovated Gay Street if its buyer follows through with planned improvements.
Out-of-state investors offered the winning bid of nearly $1.5 million for the four-story building at 1 E. Gay St., the former headquarters of Modern Finance and also a Dollar Federal Savings Bank office. The circa-1900 building was empty for two years after being abandoned by two bankrupt companies, Modern Finance and WorldCom.
Bob White, principal broker with Prudential Cres Commercial Real Estate, said the bidders are "a father and two sons out of Atlanta." He declined to identify them pending the closing of the deal.
"They're going to put a lot of money in it, without question," White said. "There are many possibilities for this building, one being office and retail for the first floor, office on the second, and the third and fourth could be converted to residential.

Want More?


Expansion of Short North steakhouse in the works
Monday, Oct. 8, 2007
By GARY SEMAN JR.ThisWeek Staff Writer
Hyde Park, the steakhouse that has become wildly popular during its short run in the Short North, soon will occupy the entire west side of the Cap at Union Station.
Rick Hauck, president of the Cleveland-based chain, announced Monday that the company will take over the remaining 7,000 square feet of the strip, which will be used for banquet dining.
"Our private dining space just is not large enough," he said.
In turn, confectioner Shokolad will move out of the Cap. Two other storefronts, once housing Quizno's and Cold Stone Creamery, are vacant.
Hyde Park currently occupies 5,000 square feet at 569 N. High St. Hauck said the additional space will have its own kitchen and bar, and also will seat 200. It will be ready early next year.
"It will all feel like the same restaurant," he said. "We'll try to make it feel as much of a restaurant as possible, not a dining hall."
Hyde Park has been a smash hit since it opened in the Cap two years ago, grossing more than $5-million a year, Hauck said.
"It's been pretty much a home run for us," he said.
It's known for its celebrity steaks, including those named after Archie Griffin, Jim Tressel, Kirk Herbstreit and Jack Nicklaus. The restaurant chain, which has four Columbus locations, was founded in 1988 by Hauck and Joe Saccone in Cleveland Heights.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007


Everyone's Italian this weekend at the Italian Village Festival. The neighborhood festival runs Oct. 5-7 and offers great food, entertainment, and an open market.
Buona degustazione!

Monday, October 1, 2007


ReBar is a San Fran based, environmental/urbanism group that coordinates Park(ing) Da,y an annual event where inner city parking spots are converted into public green space. Park(ing) Day Columbus 2008 anyone? Witness the mayhem on their short video trailer.


Your first thought might be the inappropriate use of spandex on the woman on the right. You would be correct but I am referring to the trash can sitting by itself at the Oktoberfest.

Despite the large number of trash containers throughout the festival grounds, not one was accompanied by a recycling container. In fact, I did not see one recycling bin at all and it was not because I had too much Warsteiner. Festivals are huge generators of waste and large consumers of energy so it should seem obvious to communities that they need to "green" up these special events. Here are some relatively easy to impliment suggestions:

Charge a cup deposit. Patrons pay a dollar deposit for each beverage in order to encourage them to reuse their cups. Subsequent refills cost the original amount. Before departing the festival, guests return their cup to any beverage vendor for a full refund of the cup. The deposit encourages recycling and also limits discarded cups on the ground.

Provide separate bins for recycling directly next to trash cans. If recycling and waste containers are separated people will not make the effort to find recycle. Recycling stations can also be monitored by volunteers (i.e. OSU recycling clubs) to ensure that trash and recyclables are not commingled.

Prohibit the distribution of paper flyers. Flyers tend to be a dominant source of trash thrown on the ground.

Require food vendors to use corn-resin based or polylactic, compostable plates, cups, and utensils.

Provide vendors with composting bags to recycle food waste.

Set up bicycle valets. Patrons are issued claim checks in exchange for their bikes. Staff monitor the bikes in a secure corral.

Weinland Park Goes to the Dogs

Uptown Pups just moved to Courtland Avenue (behind Suds and Java) and the pictures on their website makes my puppy clock go crazy. If you mention you found their business on the web then they will give you $5.00 credit toward their Boarding or Daycare services.

I am not a fan of the building but it appears to be well maintained and is only on a hidden local street instead of a visible, major artery.

Check them out... and if you don't have a pet yet, check out

Thursday, September 27, 2007


breaking news
City will buy ailing City Center mall for $2.88 million
Thursday, September 27, 2007 10:27 AM

Columbus has struck a deal with the owners of Columbus City Center to take over the struggling Downtown mall.

According to a source with Capitol South Urban Redevelopment Corp., the nonprofit developer created by the city in the 1980s to build City Center, Columbus will pay Simon Property Group and General Motors Pension Trust $2.88 million for the mall as well as vacant land at the northeast corner of S. High and E. Rich streets.

For more ..

Wednesday, September 26, 2007


Cleopatra's (e. 8th and n. high)- hookah bar

swash store (near ubx)- Tide product that allows you to rewear clothes.

pitaya (gateway) - women's boutique

aveda institute (gateway)- grooming
re-n-vintage (near little brothers)- vintage boutique

Dee's Shoes (between the adult stores) - shoes

Friday, September 21, 2007


There is a lot of discussion regarding bringing retail and residential development to downtown Columbus but there is little mention about creating new cultural activity centers/attractions in the heart of the City. Cultural destinations not only help educate but they attract people and their money. Retail and residential projects will follow the trail of money.

As the country’s 15th most populated city, Columbus is severely lacking in unique cultural institutions/attractions that can attract tourists and regularly engage its resident population. Not counting the Clippers or Blue Jacket Stadiums since the Arena District is its own distinctive neighborhood and not truly downtown, Columbus is limited to:
Columbus Museum of Art
Wexner Center for the Arts
Riffe Gallery
Santa Maria
Central Ohio Fire Museum
Ohio, Palace and Southern Theatres
Franklin Park Conservatory (somewhat downtown)
Assorted historic buildings such as Kelton Museum, Thurber House, etc.
Many of these sites do not warrant repeat visits (ie Santa Maria, Central Ohio Fire Museum) and collectively may not even occupy a full weekend visit.

Since I am not a city planner for Columbus I do not know if they are actively recruiting cultural centers to locate in downtown or even proactively purchasing property to court future leads with. New centers do open (ie Newseum, National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, etc) and we need to be prepared to be a serious contender in being their host city.

In saying that, I would really like to see a greater diversity of attraction offerings downtown. I think it would be great for the Motorcycle Hall of Fame to relocate from Pickerington to downtown Columbus. I think the museum could have a great urban downtown street presence with a unique architectural design and fun window displays. Even better is that they have approximately 20,000 visitors annually.

One thing that I am excited about is that Elevator's brewing operations will be moving to Fourth Street so brewery tours are a strong possibility. However, brewery tours alone won't fill the attraction void downtown.
So what do you think?

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


Walking Town DC is day long heritage and arts program in Washington, DC that is absolutely brilliant. Throughout the day Cultural Tourism DC coordinates 45 different walking, biking, and boating tours in the 18 different neighborhoods across the city. The tours are all led by knowledgeable guides and cover topics ranging from spies to environmentally friendly buildings. The best part is that all the tours are FREE which provides individuals from all different socio-economic backgrounds the opportunity to learn about and appreciate their city. While DC is extremely rich in culture, arts, architecture and history, Columbus possesses its own unique attributes that should be shared with residents and tourists alike. If you think about it the potential tour topics are endless....


I want a Restaurant Week in Columbus.

Restaurant Week began in 1992 in New York City to coincide with the Democratic National Convention when restaurant sales were sluggish. Since then both large and small cities have begun hosting their own versions of Restaurant Week. Restaurant Week in NYC has become the largest culinary event in the country.

The premise is simple. For a determined length of time participating restaurants create lunch and dinner menus for a set price. Lunch is typically between $20 and $25 and dinner about $30 to $35. Alcohol is additional and guests can always order of the normal menu. Depending on the demand, most Restaurant Weeks take place twice a year, last one to two weeks, and helps raise funds for a local charity.

So why should Columbus host a Restaurant Week?

Of the top 25 most populated American cities only nine of them including Columbus do not host a Restaurant Week. Come on…even Milwaukee has one.

Columbus is a great restaurant town and a week dedicated to celebrating local restaurateurs and chefs is appropriate.

Allows guests to take advantage of fine dining at a discounted price.

Great marketing tool for restaurants since many patrons will be first time guests. Word of mouth testimonials are the best form of advertising.

Promotes a business trickle down effect. Patrons visit new neighborhoods and discover stores, restaurants, and other businesses they did not know existed.

Gets people on the streets and enjoying their city.

Because I am tired of hearing from friends in other cities how much they love their Restaurant Week.

I am still waiting for Experience Columbus, the natural candidate to develop a Restaurant Week, to respond to my inquiry. However, since the receptionist did not know what a Restaurant Week was I strongly doubt they are cooking anything up down there.

Other cities that host Restaurant Weeks are: NYC, Houston, Philadelphia, San Antonio, San Diego, Dallas, Indianapolis, San Francisco, Austin, Baltimore, Fort Worth, Charlotte, Milwaukee, Seattle, and Boston. Check them out.



More than 5,000 poll workers are needed on Election Day in Franklin County. The Board of Elections is presently searching for poll workers to staff any or all of the next three elections; the Nov. 6, 2007 general election, the March 4, 2008 primary election and the Nov. 4, 2008 general election. You must be a registered Franklin County voter to be eligible.

We need your help:

Franklin County pays poll workers $110 and more depending on the position held and level of training completed.

Easy two-hour courses are offered throughout Franklin County a few weeks before each election. We’ll provide on-site training at your workplace if at least 25 employees register.

Republicans call (614) 462-5209
Democrats call (614) 462-5206
Or register online at

Monday, September 17, 2007


I really hate overgrown street trees. This man-eating monstrosity is just one of several along E. 3rd Avenue in the Italian Village that attacked my visiting friends over the weekend.
Neglected trees are not only unattractive but they are less structurally stable and a genuine threat to public safety especially for mobility challenged individuals.
The City of Columbus Department of Parks and Recreation oversees the maintenance of street trees since they are technically located on public property. A call to the 311 city information line or Parks Department (645-6640) will net you an inspector within three weeks but the actual pruning will take an additional six to nine months due to under staffing. The only other alternative is to apply for a permit to prune the tree yourself and knowing my abilities that would not be good for the tree or me.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Triple Sow Cow No More

The cancellation of Skate on State is not a surprise. I want to see a show of hands of everyone that strapped on skates this past winter….anyone…anyone?
If you think of popular outdoor ice skating rinks you might think of Rockefeller Center and National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden where tourists, downtown dwellers, shopping, and nostalgia all contribute to making ice skating a popular and desirable activity. Since we are a city still in the infancy stage of developing a dense and vibrant downtown core we must be more creative in replicating that energy naturally inherent in these bigger cities. The opportunity to ice skate outdoors is not enough of a draw for people. To make Skate on State a successful event organizers need to develop supporting activities/events/programming that brings people downtown for a multiple number of reasons over a greater length of time.

So what types of programming?? Here are a couple of ideas.

The now cancelled Striezelmarkt, modeled after Dresden’s (Germany) centuries-old outdoor holiday market, used to take place in front of City Hall over ten days. Since retail shopping is so limited in downtown Columbus this event brought shopping opportunities to the people even if for only a limited amount of time. The availability of shopping and food concessions during the day and evening hours would appeal to several different population segments including workers, students, tourists, etc. The market was also a great tribute and promotion of Columbus’s sister city relationship with Dresden.

What about Roller Girls on Ice? These women have a tremendous following (including me) and they pack people in at all of their bouts. While there are no matches in December the league promotes fun promotion and fundraising activities throughout the year. Why not recruit an event with the local Blue Jackets? Dare I mention Disney on Ice promotional event? I abhor anything “on ice” but they frequently come to town so why not do a free show marketing piece with them. Clearly there are liability issues that would need to be worked out but we need to take a greater advantage of already existing resources.

The Pageant of Peace held in Washington, DC across from the White House is an annual holiday tradition that thousands turn out for to watch the lighting of the National Christmas Tree. There is also a menorah and other religious symbols included in the event. Why not create a similar tradition in Columbus?

Drop a few ideas yourself. Dialogue is good.

Skate on State cancellation article.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007


I admit I am a Suds and Java patron. I wash my unmentionables in the public eye. Every so often in the midst of the fluff and fold, I learn something.

You all may have noticed Suds and Java's N. High parking lot torn up recently and assumed it was just some more impervious asphalt going down. Nope. Based on the laundry mat attendant, the landowner is putting in a three to four-story apartment building and a retail store. The current tenants are not amused by the plan because the new development will partially block them from the street. I sympathize but the current strip mall style building ain't that charming so I say block it as long as appropriate signage allows for them to advertise their wares. Customer parking will still exist but will be in the back of the apartment building.

I am a little nervous about the building design but I like to believe the existing Planning Commission has learned from past mistakes. At least the project shows promise in reconnecting a disjointed street facade and providing more housing options for almost downtown dwellers.


The For Sale sign is down....
I have long admired this abandoned Masonic Temple building. The building is ideally situated on High Street just north of Fifth Avenue. The bones of this structure appear to be in good shape and the stained glass, awning, and ornamentation are also all in tact.
I have hoped a local business developer would see this building's potential and convert this temple into a boutique hotel/bar/restaurant/lounge similar to what the McMenamin family does in Portland, Oregon. For those not familiar with McMenamins, they rescue architecturally/ historically significant buildings, rehabilitate them, and turn them into hot spot destinations. This family makes a killing saving unique old buildings that have been neglected in favor of new construction. Check out their website....
Fingers crossed that this isn't the new home of Buffalo Wild Wings Short North.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

A Danielle Steel Novel Jackpot

Huge amounts of books! Tiny little prices! Don't miss the annual Friends of the Library Big Book Sale at Main Library! This is your chance to browse through hundreds of gently-used gems and bulk up your bookshelf for mere pennies. It's happening Friday, Sept. 14 (Friends Members Presale) from 5 - 8:30. The general sale is Saturday, Sept. 15 from 10-5 and Sunday, Sept. 16 from 1-3 with the bag sale following on Sunday from 3:15-5:30. Stop by Main Library and see what you can find...nothing over $2! Published on September 11, 2007.
Actually there are always some good finds here....check it out.


I look forward to my drive home from work every day because of this guy. How can you not smile back? Sometimes I imagine that he winks at me. Fresh Guy calls the Wonder Bread Bakery on Fourth Street home.
These hand painted signs on the exteriors of businesses are scattered throughout Columbus and most other cities across the country. Typically these advertisements are referred to as “ghost signs” since they typically advertise no longer existing businesses. Sadly, lettered signs on brick have been replaced by plastic and lighted signs to better attract customers and to comply with modern sign code ordinances.

I strongly believe these signs should be included in a community’s public art inventory and the more unique ones granted preservation status. These signs are architectural features that dramatically improve the exteriors of humdrum brick buildings. Simply put, these signs give personality to neighborhoods and business districts that have grown bland and sterile over the years.

There are a lot of great blogs that track “ghost signs” but one of my favorites is Admittedly my personal collection of “ghost signs” in Columbus has grown over the past year but I hope to devote more time to tracking them down. If you know of any candidates for inclusion send me the location and any history on the business that you might have. My hope is to produce piece for Experience Columbus that they can provide to visitors and residents alike who are interested in seeing a different perspective of the city.