2007 began with the Friends of Goodale Park Board spending most of a Saturday in early February for the Board’s first strategic planning retreat. Michael Wilkos of United Way provided the space at United Way and facilitated the session. It was a great opportunity to assess FGP’s strengths and weaknesses and focus on the strategic plan for Goodale Park. The retreat also resulted in setting up four standing committees: those being Planning, Outreach, Fundraising, and Maintenance. Four Ad Hoc committees were also created specifically to address the Tête-à-Tête Falls project, the Goodale Gates restoration, dog issues, and Red, White and Boom.
The planning retreat then helped to focus the Board on FGP’s numerous park projects underway during the year. A top priority for FGP was maintenance of the flower beds throughout Goodale Park. Two spring clean up events occurred during March and April. Planting of annual flowers in eight flower beds occurred in May with subsequent weeding and maintenance events held the following four months. A fall clean-up of the flower beds occurred in early November. Noteworthy this year was the absence of rain throughout the spring and summer. Consequently, much effort was devoted to dragging hoses from adjacent property owners across busy streets to keep plants watered. This again called attention to the absence of water connections throughout the park. 2008 may have fewer annuals and more heat resistant perennials planted because of increasing hot and dry conditions.
All of the bed maintenance was accomplished with a small but dedicated group of volunteers. Noteworthy, in addition to the FGP trustees, were the following volunteers: Greg Krobot, Joel Knepp and Linda McClannahan, George and Sue Shellenbarger, Chris Gillespie, and Barbara Hansford-Hupman. However, Captains are still needed for a couple of the beds so that there is one person who accepts responsibility for oversight of that particular bed. FGP continued its partnership with the PRIDE group of Chase Bank which not only brought additional volunteers to help with bed maintenance but permitted the JP Morgan Chase Foundation Volunteer Program to provide financial support for each event that the PRIDE group participated in. ComFest funded the planting of hydrangea and dogwoods atop the pond grotto and also paid for over 1,000 daffodil bulbs that were planted around the park.
Thanks to the Urban Infrastructure Recovery Funding (UIRF) received in ’06, a major accomplishment this year was the completion of the shelter house terraces with iron fencing, brick columns, benches and lighting. The result is a much enhanced shelter house that can now be used for a broader array of functions. FGP also focused on the re-design of the large playground. The new design will replace the inoperable spray pool area with game tables, additional picnic tables and new and replaced playground equipment.
UIRF funds will allow the redevelopment of the large playground to occur in the spring of 2008. UIRF funds will also be used for the restoration and preservation of the 1870 Goodale Gate on Goodale Blvd. near Park Street. Consultation has occurred this year with masonry restoration companies and preservation consultants to develop a detailed request for bids which will be issued this winter in anticipation of work to be completed in 2008. In addition to the UIRF funds for this project, FGP was successful in obtaining a $5,000 grant from the Community Partnership Program of the Columbus Foundation and United Way. Additional funding is being sought to supplement the UIRF funds which in all likelihood will not fully underwrite the cost of the project. To minimize traffic vibration on the gate and possible collision, a bollard was installed in the driveway at the gate to prevent cars from using this entrance to the park. ComFest paid for the cost of the bollard and its installation.
In early 2007, FGP learned that the City of Columbus, was letting a contract to “landscape” the Park St./Goodale Blvd. intersection. FGP lobbied hard to assure that the principle focus of this project was the southeast corner of Goodale Park since two of the corners are part of the concrete cap over I-670 (and are not conducive to landscaping) and the fourth is the Greek Orthodox Church. An advisory group of community representatives (including FGP representatives) will review enhancement proposals during the winter with construction/implementation to occur during 2008. FGP’s goal is the creation of an appropriate pedestrian entrance at the corner of the park that was negatively impacted by the I-670 rebuild.
FGP again joined forces with Victorian Village Society, Doo-Dah and the Community Festival to underwrite the cost of special duty police to protect the park during Red, White and Boom. As a result there were no cars parked on the grass during this year’s event and volunteers helped clean up the park after the event. Another joint venture involved the Short North Neighborhood Foundation and Victorian Village Society each donating $2,500 to underwrite the cost of 19 bike racks throughout the park. Thanks to Sabrina Bobrow for her efforts in securing the funding for the bike racks and for her efforts to see the project happen. The bike racks are to be installed this winter.
FGP also participated in the Short North Arts Festival held in Goodale Park in September, and are grateful to Jay Snyder and ByHand Events, the organizers of the event, for including the Friends.
Thanks to the considerable work by Beverly Mullet Randall, the Friends of Goodale Park now has its own web site (friendsofgoodalepark.org). The site contains a lot of great information about Goodale Park, the history of the park as well as information about FGP. The history section includes all of the Goodale Park history series articles that Beverly wrote for the Short North Gazette. In addition, FGP’s comprehensive tree inventory of Goodale Park is now available on this site. Check it out!
A major focus of 2007 continued to be the Tête-à-Tête Falls. Additional grant applications were submitted to a number of potential corporate sponsors. American Electric Power awarded $10,000 to the project; a $10,000 grant from the Joseph A. Jeffrey Endowment Fund was obtained; and the Community Festival Foundation donated $10,000. The Paul Cianelli Memorial Fund in support of Tête-à-Tête Falls now stands at over $50,000. Several grant applications are still pending while total funds raised to date exceed $150,000. After obtaining and reviewing proposals from two major engineering firms, the engineering firm of Korda/Nemeth Engineering, Inc. was retained to prepare the engineering documents and cost estimates for the project. CMS Collaborative, Inc. will serve as water engineering consultants on the project. Negotiations are currently underway with Columbus Art Memorial Company to serve as the general contractor for construction. The Columbus Art Memorial Company has extensive experience state-wide in the construction of art installations and in the fabrication of granite structures. The Columbus Arts Commission also reviewed and approved the design concept.
FGP held its Annual Holiday Gala on December 5 at the Harrison Park Community Center, thanks to Wagenbrenner Realty for allowing FGP to use the facility. This year’s Gala included a silent auction of artistic items created from some of Goodale Park’s natural elements. Devon Palmer, a woodworker who lives near the park, auctioned the initial piece of a number of creations that Devon is making from a dying Hawthorne tree that was harvested from the park. Mr. Palmer has offered to donate the items created from this tree to the Friends of Goodale Park as a way of giving back to the park and acknowledging his enjoyment of it. Dave Brigner, a horticulturist at the Franklin Park Conservatory, harvested leaves from the lotus plants blooming in the Goodale pond to create casted sculptures that serve as ground-level ponds and bird baths for the garden. Dave graciously donated one of his sculptures for the silent auction. In addition to the items created from the park’s natural elements, Tim Knapp donated a selected piece of art from The Lyle Gallery on East Town Street.
Besides the silent auction, the Gala also included live music by The Erik Augis Duo from the Columbus Jazz Group and a fantastic array of food and drink donated by area restaurants and merchants (including Basi Italia, Europia, Lemon Grass, Piece of Cake, Rigsby’s, Surly Girl, Union Station, Hyde Park, Northstar Café, Press Grill, Spinelli’s Deli and Tasi’s) and thanks to the recruitment efforts of Bruce Dooley and his staff. Beautiful floral decorations were donated by Blooms Direct. Despite the snow and cold, the event was attended by nearly 100 people and raised over $2,400 which will support annual park planting and maintenance and the Tete-a-Tete falls.
Regretfully, during 2007 the Board of FGP accepted the resignations of Steve Covert and Ellen Stein. Two new Board members, Amy Kobe and Lou Venneri, have agreed to serve on the Board. The Board now stands at full membership. Other Board members include: Stan Sells, President; Pat Lewis, Vice President; Andy Klein, Treasurer; Greg Maynard, Don Damron, Bradley Weatherford, Doug Swartz, Todd Law, and Rick Frantz.