Trashy Behavior

German Village is known for its picturesque brick-paved sidewalks and streets. But when people leaves overflowing dumpsters and piles of discarded items on the sidewalks, to the point where you can barely squeeze by, it tends to interfere with the charming vistas.

It’s a scene that we’ve seen more and more lately.  Sometimes, as with the photo above, it seems to be people who are moving out, and apparently just don’t want to cart a lot of unwanted items to their next destination.  Other times it appears to be people just getting rid of broken furniture or other junk, and not particularly caring how they do it.  Maybe the people think that the trash pickers who periodically visit German Village will swing by and take away items that they think they can use.  But whatever the cause or motivation, it’s always unsightly, and it gets even worse if the rains come.

It’s not neighborly behavior, it’s trashy behavior — and it shows a total lack of consideration for neighbors and other German Village residents.  Would it really have been so hard for the people getting rid of their trunk and moccasins and clothing items to put the stuff in their car and take it to a Goodwill box or Goodwill store to be donated and reused, rather than left on the sidewalk?

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People Power (II)

IMG_6846It’s always encouraging to see private citizens come together, on their own, to invest their own time, energy, and sweat equity in making their communities just a little bit better.  On our walk today, Kish and I saw another example of this heartening phenomenon — in this case, a volunteer group that works on recrafting the signature brick sidewalks of German Village.  The sign at the top right of the above photograph reads:

“The German Village Society is committed to working with homeowners to improve the neighborhood sidewalks.  You are standing on a sidewalk repaired by a dozen volunteers!”

The sidewalk looks great, and I give a hand and a nod to the German Village Society.  I’d love to see volunteer groups working on weeding some of the sidewalks and devil strips, too — and I would be happy to lend a hand.

Weed-B-Here

IMG_5919Brick sidewalks can be charming . . . but you’ve got to take care of them.  If you don’t, before you know it the sidewalk will start to look a little shaggy from the grass growing between the cracks between the bricks.  And if you are ridiculously inattentive, and immune to the dirty looks of your neighbors, your can end up with a sidewalk that is a riotous collection of disgusting weeds — like this sidewalk on Columbus Street.

German Village is very sensitive to any changes to the outside appearance of houses; when we decided to replace our backyard fence with the exact same kind of fence, we nevertheless had to get approval from some governmental entity.  Apparently sidewalk weeds don’t raise the same concerns, even though they look like crap and ultimately will destroy the bricks.  Why aren’t sidewalk weeds more of a focus?

On The (Uneven) Cutting Edge

When Kish and I first made the decision to sell our home in New Albany and move somewhere downtown, I joked that we were “cutting edge, baby!”  She scoffed at that notion.  According to the Wall Street Journal, we’re both right, in a way.

Last week the Journal published an article about how Columbusites are increasingly moving from the ‘burbs to German Village, the Short North, Italian Village, and downtown housing.  So, we may not be cutting edge, exactly, but we’re part of a growing trend that is establishing a significant shift in Columbus’ population — and Kish is right, as always, because as the Journal article acknowledges that our ultimate destination here in German Village has been an attractive, thriving area for decades.

IMG_4290The Journal article captures the upsides (like parks, restaurants, and interesting places that are all within walking distance), and the downsides (like the cost of renovating century-old homes), of this trend.  (I’d add that another upside/downside of German Village is the brick sidewalks, which are beautiful to admire but are requiring me to adjust my normal shuffling gait to avoid stumbles on bricks shoved up by tree roots.)  For many people, obviously, the attraction of these kinds of moves outweigh the risks, and since we’ve made the move many of our friends have indicated that they, too, are considering this course.

This is a good thing for the city of Columbus, clearly.  More residents means more tax revenues for city services, renovated historic neighborhoods are safer, more energetic, and more attractive when Columbus pitches itself to businesses that are considering relocating, and the influx of homeowners, condoites, and apartment dwellers is bound to bring more business downtown, too.  It will be interesting to watch how this big this wavelet turns out to be, and what Columbus looks like in its wake.  There are still a lot of downtown surface parking lots that I’d like to see filled with condos, apartments, pubs, and shops instead.