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Saturday, June 30, 2007


The Vasbinder Fountain renovation is about completed. The new color reflects back to the color it was painted in the 1950s. I noticed the urns around the base are stamped "Kramer Fdry. Dayton Oh" and checked on line about that company. It was started in 1895 and the line of urns is still produced by Talledega Foundry in Alabama. The date would indicate that the urns were a later acquisition. Perhaps the urns were bought when the fountain was brought back from Malabar Farm and reinstalled in Central Park.
Shortly after Mansfield got its water works the idea emerged of having a fountain in Central Park. Funds were raised in the community that paid for constructing the reservoir. David and Jane Vasbinder, brother and sister, paid for the fountain itself. The total cost was $2500. The fountain was originally dedicated on Monday, July 4, 1881. Festivities were dampened by news of the assassination of president Garfield the previous Saturday.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

planter sitters

Not much improvement with the planter sitters today. I was out of town yesterday so don't know what happened except that this morning I cleaned up 35 butts which is above average. Seems like chasing them off didn't last very long. Jeff next door called the police this afternoon about the panhandler sitting on the planter opposite our stores, begging from everyone who passed by. He was gone down the street when the officer came, but just in time to point him out.

foreclosure prevention summit

I attended a foreclosure prevention summit sponsored by HUD in Cleveland yesterday along with Barb Murray from our MBOR office and Marylin Carr, president of the board of MBOR. I've added a page to my website, , on the subject with some notes on the summit and some resources.

Monday, June 25, 2007

fountain renovation

The renovation of the Vasbinder Fountain is under way today. I've been wondering about the sandblasting going on in the open air so close to the playground. I suppose they're keeping an eye on the wind direction...?


The officer just came around and cleared them out again. Yay!!!

sitting on streetscape

A police officer just walked by and told the idlers they can't be sitting on the planters. Everybody left. Of course ten minutes later we have two of our most permanent idlers back.

Friday, June 22, 2007

parking misinformation by wmfd

I was in a meeting yesterday sponsored by Main Street Mansfield about downtown parking. The mayor and other administration were there, and downtown stakeholders...building owner reps, retailers, etc. A lot of things were discussed and a future meeting scheduled. WMFD put out a story last night showing video from the County Commissioners meeting where Gary Utt was discussing the previous parking meeting. By that point the information was second or third hand, and the resulting story garbled and twisted it further, to the point of talking as if the Commissioners were in charge of recalibrating meters, that the 20 year reduction in number of parking meters from 1100 to 400 was a reduction in parking spaces (headlined the story) etc. etc. They pulled the story from their website immediately this morning when contacted by Main Street, the sponsors of the actual meeting, and Anne Miller is going to meet with Burton Sahl to get it straightened out. Meanwhile if you saw the story, everything in it was bogus.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

miracle mile fatality

This morning's News Journal: "The miracle mile has been a trouble spot for city police for years because of people cruising."
That's true because the city administration has flip-flopped on enforcement over the years, and the police have been caught in the middle. In the early 1990s cruising, primarily in cars, not only involved the miracle mile, but extended all along Park Avenue West in the city. At some point in time after the drag racing fatality in 1993 police cracked down on trespassing in the parking lots lining the miracle mile.
I think the cruising started to come back with the advent of the bike race weekend at Mid-Ohio. That annual event has drawn increasing numbers of motorcyclists and administration policy shifted toward trying to keep a lid on the miracle mile insanity without discouraging it. There's been a police presence and a lot of tickets written, but no effort to shut it down.
The extent of what is tolerated is evident each year after the bike weekend by the condition of the pavement on the mile; not just burned rubber, but even melted pavement.
Coinciding with the increase number of high performance bikes and the advent of the bike weekend phenomenon, has been a shift toward "celebrating the automobile" by businesses on the mile as a way to bring people and business back to the stretch. This shift has helped drive the administrations approach. The trouble is, the old cruising in cars making the loop, gathering in parking lots, occasional fights...was tame compared to the problem the high performance motorcycles have brought to the strip.

Saturday, June 16, 2007


Here's the King sculpture in the morning light, and a photo of King from a similar angle.

Friday, June 15, 2007

king monument unveiled

The King monument was unveiled this evening. I missed the ceremony, but walked over tonight to have a look. I'm happy to report the Auto Workers Credit Union rock I posted about previously is the first in line at the edge of the sidewalk, and the only one of the 39 with a slogan that smacks of advertising.
The bust is fantastic. The News Journal has been passing along some negative comments about it not looking like King, including a letter to the editor published yesterday. But that was before the unveiling!, so I'm convinced this perception was based on the picture on the publicity brochure the group circulated to raise funds, not on the actual sculpture. He has an odd tilt to his head and smile in the brochure that doesn't come across in person. I'll have another look in the morning and try to get a picture to compare.
Here's the picture from the brochure. The actual sculpture looks older also.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007


The anti-butt litter signs in my window seem to be working. Yesterday's harvest of cigarette butts directly in front of my shop was only 20. Today's was even better... only 11, which is an amazing decrease. I've noticed more people snubbing them out and throwing them in the trash container.

Monday, June 11, 2007


The Midtown Parking lot next to Jimmy's bar is being repaved and they've been taking up the old asphalt. This would be the site of the James Purdy residence back in the mid 1800s, and later the Purdy building built in 1895 occupied the front half of the lot. I picked up a paver brick that would have been in the courtyard or alley between the Purdy building and the building on the back half of the lot (a garage in the 1940s). Here's a picture of the paver. There's a town named Trimble Oh in Athens County.
No big deal...I just enjoy seeing the tangible remains of the old buildings that used to be around here.

Friday, June 8, 2007

carnival downtown

The Miss Ohio Festival is downtown tonight, all day tomorrow (Sat.), and noon to 6pm on Sunday.

foreclosure prevention

There's lots in the news about foreclosures now that the problem has become a factor in the more affluent markets, even though here in Ohio it's been an ongoing issue for some time. Contrary to what you may have heard, Ohio doesn't lead the nation in foreclosures. Ohio is eighth. The number one state is Colorado followed by Georgia, Nevada, Texas, Michigan, Indiana and Florida based on percent of households. 3% in Colorado; 1.7% in Ohio.

Anyone who thinks they may be headed into a foreclosure situation should call Ohio's Foreclosure Hotline if they do nothing else. 1-888-995-HOPE (4673).

The hotline will connect you to Ohio's Foreclosure Prevention Task Force for outreach and education, proactive intervention, and financial resources.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

no butts

Here's a website for a campaign started by three kids seven years ago to do something about cigarette butt litter.
I was looking for an anti-butt poster, and now I've posted a couple in my front window.

Friday, June 1, 2007

more on king monuments

I was surprised to hear that the boulders at the monument had advertising on them so I walked over tonight to have a look, expecting it wasn't true; but have a look for yourself! Some are inscribed with just donor names, or include a tribute to King, but this one is pretty crass and I could only see a few of the 39 rocks! There was no mention of inscriptions on these rocks in the plans. The recognition inscriptions were to be on bricks, oversize bricks, and "plaques". That would be the same scheme as the Korean monument, all laid flat in the paving.
The sketch in the plans showed round rocks, and Norbert Piker described their size as about that of a person's head. These are not round and much larger. I think I'll like the effect from inside the monument space but if this isn't going to look like a rock pile from the street view, it will need some large plantings.
Dr. King's bronze is wearing a white sheet. How ironic!