2008 started with the Friends of Goodale Park Board spending most of a Saturday in early January for the Board’s second strategic planning retreat. Michael Wilkos of United Way again provided the space at United Way and facilitated the session. It was a great opportunity to review the previous year and identify priorities for the new year. Identified priorities included restoration of the Goodale Gates, Tete-a-Tete Falls, redesign of the pond beds, construction of the playground, dog issues, and design work for the pedestrian entrance at Park and Goodale.
The Maintenance/Green Committee held a planning meeting in February at Chris Gillespie’s house to review Greg Krobot’s designs for the new and expanded beds around the pond. The design incorporated ornamental drought-tolerant grasses that would help soften the concrete edge of the pond. The design work was unanimously adopted by the committee although it was assumed implementation would require several years to accomplish. No one anticipated that the Board would be offered an opportunity the very next month to receive a $12,000 grant from the Scotts/Miracle Gro Company in concert with Keep Columbus Beautiful to implement the pond bed designs. The Board eagerly accepted the offer, resulting in two major planting events in the park during the year and eighty percent implementation of the proposed design.
The initial planting event was held on May 10 and involved a large cadre of volunteers and dignitaries, including the Mayor, the CEO of Scotts and Keep America Beautiful/Keep Columbus Beautiful officials. At this event, three beds were replanted and two new beds were created. A subsequent event was held September 25 that incorporated the expansion and replanting of two additional beds and the dedication of the entire project. In all, the project involved the planting of over 400 container plants purchased from Oakland Nursery. The dedication included the unveiling of an engraved stone marker provided by the Scotts/Miracle Gro Company.
Of course the pond beds project did not diminish the need to plant annuals and perennials in the remaining planting beds throughout the park. Those beds also received their annual planting during May thanks to a strong cadre of volunteers. The issue of keeping the beds watered throughout the summer was greatly diminished through a city grant offered by Councilperson Priscilla Tyson of up to $1,000 per applicant. FGP applied for and received the grant which enabled the Board to contract with the Martha Walker Garden Club for watering services. Martha Walker in turn bought a large tank and gasoline powered pump which provides for efficient watering anywhere in the park. Moreover, the Special Improvement District (SID) also watered newly planted trees and painted benches and light poles throughout the park. In addition, Columbus Recreation and Parks drilled a new well in the vicinity of the pond to replace city water as the source of water for the pond, thereby saving the department significant water costs for keeping the pond full. As a part of that project, water lines were also installed in the pond area thereby enabling easier watering of surrounding beds.
Thanks to the Urban Infrastructure Recovery Funding (UIRF) received in ’06, a major accomplishment this year was the implementation/construction of the re-design of the large playground. The new design replaced the inoperable spray pool area with a drinking fountain, game tables, additional picnic tables, new and replaced playground equipment and new walkways. The playground construction also included the installation of 19 bike bollards throughout the park as an encouragement to bicyclists to use the park. The bollards were the result of $2,500 matching grants from the Short North Neighborhood Foundation and the Victorian Village Society, and a $1,000 grant from the Community Festival, all thanks to the work of Sabrina Bobrow.
UIRF funds will also be used for the restoration and preservation of the 1870 Goodale Gate on Goodale Blvd. near Park Street. Although construction bids were received in May, it was determined that none of the bids were acceptable, in part because the RFP needed to be more specific to allow bid comparability. The Board subsequently decided to underwrite the cost of a consultant to prepare a more detailed RFP so that bids could be evaluated on a more comparable basis. A consultant has been selected and it is anticipated that a construction RFP will be reissued in early 2009 with gate restoration to occur during 2009. Additional funding is still being sought to supplement the UIRF funds which in all likelihood will not fully underwrite the cost of the project. In mid-December, we were notified by the Columbus Foundation that FGP had been awarded a $15,000 grant that would help underwrite the cost of the consultant.
During June’s Community Festival, FGP participated in a unique fund raiser sponsored by wood carvers Devon Palmer and Joe Lamothe. Throughout the weekend, Devon and Joe sold wood creations, including many created from the dying Hawthorn tree they had harvested from Goodale Park the previous fall, and donated all of the proceeds to the Friends of Goodale Park. At the July Board meeting, Devon presented FGP with a check for $2,006 which the Board gratefully accepted.
Also during June, Board member Amy Kobe organized a competition for entries for the 2009 FGP Calendar. A panel of judges selected the winners and the calendar was in high demand during the fall Gallery Hops and FGP Holiday Gala.
Early in 2008, engineering documentation and construction estimates for Tete-a-Tete Falls were completed as a result of contracts with Korda/Nemeth Engineering, Inc., CMS Collaborative, Inc. and the Columbus Art Memorial Company. FGP was awarded a second grant of $10,000 from the Community Festival, matching a previous grant of that amount. Additional grant applications were submitted to a number of potential corporate sponsors, although several were rejected and one is pending. Additional grant sources have been identified and applications will be submitted in 2009.
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.
Thanks to the skills and attention of Board member, Chris Gillespie, FGP’s website (friendsofgoodalepark.org) has been significantly improved and updated. Chris has done a fantastic job of keeping the site current and has added new features resulting in a much higher rate of usage. Chris’ dog Harley now edits a special section just for dogs.
During the summer, Vice President Pat Lewis met with the prospective buyers of the United Commercial Travelers property to advise them of FGP’s interest in relocating the UCT monument back to its original foundation in Goodale Park. The outcome on the monument is still pending. Then in September, the park suffered the devastating effects from high winds, remnants from Hurricane Ike. The park lost a half dozen old growth trees and a dozen younger ones. Thanks to the crews loaned from Columbus Metro Parks and the many volunteers, especially from City Year and the Community Festival, who helped clean up the park in subsequent weeks, the devastation was quickly cleared away.
During October, Board member Rick Frantz organized the first Monday evening program event with a walk and lecture conducted by Terry Sherburn and focusing on the history of Goodale Park. Terry is the recognized expert on the park’s history and the event was well attended and greatly appreciated. It is hoped that 2009 will see more of these events.
On October 12, 2008, FGP’s Greg Maynard was awarded the Short North Business Association’s “Unsung Hero Award” for his outstanding dedication and tireless work to make Goodale Park Columbus’ “Best” city park. Greg was awarded a check for $1,500 which he paired with a $500 donation from the Community Festival to purchase over 4,000 spring bulbs for pond beds and annual beds in the park. The bulbs are now planted and we look forward to the show next spring.
The FGP Board was also honored to learn that it had been nominated and selected to receive the “Outstanding Group” Award for 2008 by the Columbus Landmarks Foundation for its role in preserving Columbus’ oldest park. The award was presented at the Columbus Landmarks’ Annual Design and Preservation Awards on November 6, 2008. Throughout the year, FGP Board members attended meetings of Victorian Village Society, The Community Festival, Short North Foundation, Short North Business Association and Italian Village Society to keep them updated on FGP activities and to ask them for their continued support.
FGP held its Annual Holiday Gala on December 3 at the home of Jeff Smith and Dwayne Sattler. This year’s Gala again included a silent auction of artistic items. Devon Palmer auctioned the remaining pieces created from the Hawthorne tree and a felled Ash tree that were harvested from the park. Wreaths created from lotus pods harvested from Goodale pond were also auctioned as well as ’09 FGP Calendar art work and an original painting by Josey Joseph.
Besides the silent auction, the Gala also included piano accompaniment by Rem Milligan 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, Surley Girl, Union Station, Betty’s, North Star Cafe, Deep Woods, Spinelli’s Deli, Cafe Corner, Tip Top, Anthony Thomas and Tasi’s) and thanks to the recruitment efforts of Bruce Dooley and his staff. The event was attended by over 120 people and raised over $4,700 which will support annual park planting and maintenance and the Tete-a-Tete falls.
Regretfully, during 2008 the Board of FGP accepted the resignations of Lou Venneri, Doug Swartz and Don Damron. Chris Gillespie joined the Board in April and as of December, five new Board members have agreed to serve on the Board. They include Greg Krobot, Mary Jo Hoffman, Ken Salak, Mike Schwarzwalder, and Maddy Weisz. The Board now stands at full membership. Other Board members include: Stan Sells, President; Pat Lewis, Vice President; Andy Klein, Treasurer; Greg Maynard, Bradley Weatherford, Todd Law, Amy Kobe and Rick Frantz. Rick Miller, our representative from the Columbus Recreation and Parks Department, deserves special recognition for all he does to follow up on Board decisions and to oversee city contractors working in the park.