2009 started with the Friends of Goodale Park Board of Trustees again spending most of a Saturday in early January for the Board’s third annual 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 orient new board members, review the previous year and identify priorities for the new year. Identified priorities included restoration of the Goodale Gates, design work for the pedestrian entrance at Park and Goodale, Tete-a-Tete Falls, dog issues, park plantings and improved volunteer recruitment for park maintanence.
In light of the $15,000 grant from the Columbus Foundation at the close of 2008, FGP retained Rogers Krajnak Architects, Inc. early in 2009 to develop the engineering specifications and documentation necessary for the restoration and preservation of the original 1870 Goodale Gates at the south entrance of the park. Peter Krajnak was able to develop a sound approach to relieve the stress on the sandstone columns and stabilize the iron gates. Funding for the actual work had been set aside in the Urban Infrastructure Recovery Funding (UIRF) grant that FGP had received in 2008. Unfortunately, the grant was funded through bond revenues, which given the reallocation of city resources due to the recession, were no longer available to FGP during 2009. As of the end of 2009, the engineering work is completed and FGP is hopeful that the UIRF funds will be restored during 2010, thus enabling the project to be completed.
As a final phase to the reconstruction of Interstate 670 through the Short North, the City of Columbus, Department of Transportation let a contract with POD Design, Inc. to design streetscape improvements to the Park St. and Goodale St. intersection. FGP was successful in convincing city officials that the primary focus of this initiative needed to be the corner entrance to Goodale Park. As a consequence, FGP worked closely with POD associates in designing a new pedestrian entrance to the park to mitigate the negative impact that I-670 had on that corner of the park. As of the end of 2009, city and state approvals of the design work have been granted and FGP is now awaiting funding approval for the project. FGP is hopeful that funding will allow the project to be completed in 2010.
An ongoing project for FGP has been the designing, engineering and fund raising for Tete-a-Tete Falls, a water feature to be built in Goodale pond. Following completion of the engineering work in early 2008, it was estimated that costs of the project would exceed $450,000. Although significant fundraising had occurred, FGP was far from the goal by early 2009. Once again, the recession forced FGP to re-evaluate the project and conclude that it would not be able to raise the necessary funds in the current economic climate. The artist, Malcolm Cochran, was approached with this reality and asked if he was interested in a new contract with FGP that would entail a new design but at a significantly reduced construction cost. Malcolm’s answer was affirmative and as of the end of 2009, Malcolm has proposed a new design and is developing construction cost estimates. FGP will make a final decision in early 2010 regarding the new proposal.
The Beautification Committee of FGP decided that the bed planting focus for 2009 would be edible ornamentals along with drought resistant flowers. The edibles were intended to encourage neighbors to think about planting edibles in their own gardens. A grant request to the Short North Foundation garnered $2,500 to help underwrite the costs of tree pruning, tree planting, plant purchases and watering expenses. As of the end of 2009, a significant number of trees have been pruned; nineteen trees have been purchased and planted; annuals and perennials have been purchased; and a watering contract was let for summer watering. In addition, a cadre of committed volunteers along with several volunteer groups planted flower beds, weeded and watered beds, and pruned shrubbery, throughout the spring, summer and fall. In addition, the magnolia grove received a major pruning since its last one several years ago. Although work days were scheduled for designated Saturday’s each month, many volunteers also devoted time at other times throughout the year.
Because volunteers are critically vital to the continued maintenance and beautification of Goodale Park, FGP was encouraged during 2009 to apply for a grant from the Oswald Family Foundation to underwrite a part-time volunteer coordinator. As a result, FGP has received a $3,000 grant to be used for this purpose. Applications are being received as of the end of 2009 and a coordinator will be hired to work during 2010 to recruit and support the volunteers who continue to make Goodale Park, Columbus’ BEST Park.
The Outreach Committee of FGP sponsored a joint Martha Walker Garden Club/FGP Pot Luck and plant exchange in April which was well attended. The committee also enabled Goodale Park to be one of the stops on the Short North Garden Tour which was held in July.
The Planning Committee of FGP began an inventory of the park’s physical elements and their location. By year’s end, five new memorial benches had been installed throughout the park. In addition, after considerable difficulty, the re-constructed large playground finally included an operational drinking fountain.
Thanks to the skills and attention of our webmaster and Board member, Chris Gillespie, FGP’s website (friendsofgoodalepark.org) continues to be significantly improved and updated. This year’s focus has been on adding social networking functions and expanding the photo galleries to feature the many events and activities that occur within the park.
On September 27, 2009, FGP’s Pat Lewis was awarded the Short North Business Association’s “Unsung Hero Award” for her outstanding dedication and tireless work in promoting Victorian Village, Goodale Park and the Short North in general. Pat was awarded a check for $1,000 which she donated to FGP.
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 2 at the home of Brent Williams and Thomas Smith. This year’s Gala again included a silent auction of artistic items. Besides the silent auction, the Gala also included a fantastic array of food and drink donated by area restaurants and merchants (including Basi Italia, Europia, Lemon Grass, Piece of Cake, Rigsby’s, Union Station, North Star Cafe, Spinelli’s Deli, Cafe Corner, Burgundy Room, Level Dining Lounge, Black Olive and Anthony Thomas Candy) and thanks to the recruitment efforts of Bruce Dooley and his staff. The event was attended by 140 people and raised over $5,000 which will support annual park plantings and maintenance.
Regretfully, during 2009 the Board of FGP accepted the resignations of Mary Jo Hoffman, Greg Maynard, Amy Kobe and Bradley Weatherford. As of December, four new Board members have agreed to serve on the Board. They include Matt Wolf, Beth Vogt, Micki Pike, and Jason Kentner. The Board now stands at full membership. Other Board members include: Stan Sells, President; Pat Lewis, Vice President; Andy Klein, Treasurer; Ken Salek, Secretary; Greg Krobot, Chris Gillespie, Mike Schwarzwalder, Maddy Weisz, 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.