Once again, the year started with the Friends of Goodale Park Board of Trustees spending most of a cold Saturday in early January for the Board’s fifth annual strategic planning retreat. Board member Beth Vogt graciously provided the space for 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 construction of the Goodale Fountain, completing the restoration of the Goodale Gates, expanding volunteer recruitment for park maintenance, election of officers and a refinement of the organizational structure to support Board operations. Elected officers included Jason Kentner, President, Maddy Weisz, Vice-President, Andy Klein, Treasurer, and Stan Sells, Secretary.
A major focus of FGP during 2011 was the construction of the Goodale Fountain. By late February, artist Malcolm Cochran completed the model for the bronze elephants to grace the top of the granite structure. The model was shipped to Casting Arts Technologies in Cincinnati for casting of the two elephants. As luck would have it, 2011 turned out to be Columbus’ wettest year on record. Consequently, construction of the structure’s foundation was delayed and ultimately modified to accommodate an incredibly wet spring. Additional delays during construction resulted in FGP providing curtains for the gazebo during July and August to obscure a dry pond and construction equipment from gazebo weddings. By the end of September, construction of the structure and installation of the elephants had been completed, thereby allowing the refilling of the pond, only to discover that the pond would no longer hold water. Consultation with Columbus Recreation and Parks staff led to the application of 15 tons of bentonite encased gravel (AquaBlok) to resolve the pond leak. By the end of 2011, the stability of the water level in the pond was uncertain and additional testing and observations were underway. Pending the outcome of that assessment, refilling of the pond was hoped for in early 2012, thereby permitting operation of the fountain. Throughout the year, FGP held several fund raising events to finish underwriting the cost of the fountain.
Another major focus during 2011 was the completion of the restoration of the original 1870 Goodale Gates. Although the stone pillars and iron gates had been restored and re-assembled by the end of 2010, the four short stone columns were missing their original stone caps. Consequently, new stone caps were cut and installed during 2011. The remaining element of the Gates involved the original light fixtures that topped the two large columns. A number of options were explored but ultimately the Board decided to have fixtures fabricated to reflect the original fixture design. The new light fixtures will be installed in 2012.
For 2011, the Oswald Family Foundation renewed its original grant, thus allowing FGP to renew its contract with its Volunteer Coordinator, Julie Hallan. During the year, Julie organized 12 Work Events in the park from March to November using over 400 volunteers who provided over 1,000 volunteer hours to help plant and maintain 16 planting beds, trim and mulch trees, pick up trash and keep Goodale Park looking great. The result has been an unmitigated success as evidenced by the 400-plus volunteers who donated over 1,000 hours to park beautification. This again set a new record for the largest number of volunteers and greatest amount of donated time in a given year for FGP. Julie built on her close working relationship with several OSU, corporate and community groups. She greatly facilitated park work days by registering volunteers, coordinating work assignments, handing out work tools and arranging for “happy hour” events following work events. In October, Julie organized the first Volunteer Recognition Event to thank the FGP volunteers for their great work.
On August 21, 2011, FGP held a community recognition and birthday as part of the summer’s last “music in the park” series to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Goodale Gazebo. The Gazebo is now a major element of the park and is used for many events including concerts, weddings and animal blessings. FGP provided cake (from Piece of Cake) and ice cream for the recognition event.
As a result of a grant from the Short North Foundation, FGP began the installation of tree identification tags on park trees to acknowledge the diverse array of tree species in evidence throughout the park. 2011 saw the planting of 11 new trees in the park, although two did not make it so there was a net gain of 9. FGP was also the recipient of an $800 Community Garden Grant from the Columbus Recreation and Parks Department which was used to underwrite some of the cost of the annuals and replacement perennials used throughout the park. FGP also received another grant for $2,000 from Scotts Miracle-Gro Community Gardens Fund of the Columbus Foundation, for use in 2012 to purchase replacement perennial plants for pond beds, the Park St. entrance bed and the Chase bed east of the shelter house. Lastly, thanks to “The Big Give” campaign of the Columbus Foundation, the Friends of Goodale Park (listed as a Power Philanthropy non-profit organization) received almost $1,700 in new matched donations.
Thanks to the skills and attention of our webmaster and Board member, Chris Gillespie, FGP’s website (friendsofgoodalepark.org) continues to be an important media portal for the organization. This year’s focus has been on expanding social networking functions and photo galleries to feature the many events and activities that occur within the park. 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 7 at the home of Herbert and Beverly Brown. 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, Piece of Cake, Spinelli’s Deli, Katalina’s Café Corner, Level Dining Lounge, J Gumbo’s, Basil, La Fogata, Surly Girl, Betty’s, Michael’s Goody Boy, Giant Eagle, Kroger and Anthony Thomas Candy) thanks to the recruitment efforts of Bruce Dooley and his staff. The event was attended by 100 people and raised over $5,000 which will support park projects.
During 2011, the Board of FGP accepted the resignations of Chris Gillespie, Seth Clark, Miki Pike and Ken Salak. New Board members are Bryant Fried, Eric Anderson, Melissa Ricksecker and Dave Snow. Other Board members include: Jason Kentner, President; Maddy Weisz, Vice President; Andy Klein, Treasurer; Stan Sells, Secretary; Greg Krobot, Garett Heysel, Pat Lewis, Beth Vogt, Matt Wolf, 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.
FGP sincerely appreciates the great working relationship that has been developed over the years with the Columbus Recreation and Parks Department. This partnership has resulted in so many major improvements to Columbus’ oldest park, continuing to make it the gem of the Short North.