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.