Driving Park Area Commission

Driving Park Area Commission News Letter


DPAC Public Saftey Committee 23rd National Night Out - Cook Out

23rd annual National Night Out
Published: Sunday, July 30, 2006
By Matt Zapotosky
In James A. Johnson's neighborhood, 165 sets of eyes look out for criminals. On Tuesday, he's throwing a party to recruit more.
Johnson is hosting one of about 35 block parties across Columbus that evening for the 23rd annual National Night Out. The event is aimed at increasing interest in neighborhood block watches, improving relations between residents and police, and simply getting neighbors to socialize.
Johnson is the public-safety chairman of the Driving Park Area Commission on the South Side. He's hoping that hot dogs, soda and socializing will convince people to join the ranks of his block watch. His party is set for 6 to 8:15 p.m. outside the Head Start building at 1787 E. Livingston Ave.
"We've been doing this for a long time, and we'll continue to do things that we think can get rid of crime in the community," Johnson said. "One person can't do it. It takes a number of people to be involved for it to work."
Columbus has about 200 registered block watches, police Sgt. Tony Luzio said.
Matt Peskin, executive director of the National Association of Town Watch, introduced the idea for Night Out in 1984 as a way to promote interest in local block watches. Initially, residents were told to leave their porch lights on, but people took it a step further, throwing full-blown parties that night.
Last year, Peskin's group recorded 35 million participants in Night Out parties from all 50 states. That number was compiled from local police departments, which send representatives to the events.
In Columbus, about 2,000 people participated last year, Luzio said.
"The good thing about it is it gets the neighbors together," Luzio said. "When neighbors start talking, it helps us out immensely."
Debera Diggs, president of the South Side Community Action Network, is hosting a party at Heyl Elementary School, 760 Reinhard Ave. She hopes a couple hundred people will come to the 6 p.m. event, which will include representatives from Head Start and the Columbus Board of Health.
"We are losing children through dropping out of school, violence, negative behaviors, wrong choices," Diggs said. "The children are our future, so if we don't focus on them, we won't have a future."
Brother Tom Sweeney, executive director of the Salesian Boys & Girls Club at 80 S. 6th St., will host a carnival at 2 p.m. Tuesday as part of a summer camp serving 180 kids. At the carnival, kids will have a chance to mingle with police officers who are not investigating a crime.
"They rarely see a policeman ... just walking down the street being a policeman," Sweeney said. "I want them to see who they really are, what they really do."
The National Association of Town Watch provides local police with information about organizing events. Though the city does not give funding for Tuesday's festivities, sponsors offer food and T-shirts at many events.

Rickenbacker childhood home work set to begin

Work set to begin on Rickenbacker childhood home
Tuesday, August 15, 2006
Tim Feran

John Moore, left, Hamilton Joel Teaford and John Coats will work to restore the boyhood home of Eddie Rickenbacker, which will be part of the Rickenbacker Woods Museum and Historical Park.

The restoration of World War I flying ace Eddie Rickenbacker’s boyhood home has been cleared for takeoff after years of idling on the runway.
Work is scheduled to begin this month on the 1½-story Livingston Avenue house, built by Rickenbacker’s father in 1895.
The project caps a half-century of efforts to turn the property into a museum.
"We knew this was coming, but of course it’s been coming for years," said Richard Hoerle, a Rickenbacker expert who led an attempt to move the house to Motts Military Museum in 1997. (The Groveport museum instead built a replica of the house.)
The house is one of three central Ohio buildings designated a National Historic Landmark, along with the Ohio Theatre and the Statehouse.
Rickenbacker, who gained fame as a race-car driver and a pilot who shot down 26 German airplanes during World War I, lived in the bungalow for 27 years until he married in 1922. The aviator was one of seven children who grew up in the house. He died in 1973 after more than two decades at the helm of Eastern Airlines.
Talk of turning the house into a museum can be traced as far back as the 1950s. In May 1958, the Columbus City Council formed a committee to look at buying the house for a museum. At that time, the house was occupied by Rickenbacker’s sister. The city bought the house, which has been boarded up for decades, in 1998 and three years later secured a $475,000 state grant to renovate it.
About $280,000 of the money will be spent restoring the home. The balance has been used to acquire two adjacent properties that will become part of the Rickenbacker Woods Museum and Historical Park.
The museum and park are also intended to honor the Tuskegee Airmen (black World War II fighter pilots who were based in Columbus after the war) and Granville T. Woods, an inventor known as "the black Edison," who was born in Columbus.
"This is an exciting project in that it will provide a campus setting that will serve as a platform for local students interested in math and science," said John Moore, executive director of Rickenbacker Woods Inc., the group spearheading the restoration.
The project also could serve as a catalyst for the E. Livingston commercial corridor, he said.
Stenson-Powell, a private developer, will serve as general contractor of the project. The Durable Slate Co. has been hired to restore the roof and other portions of the house.
Before coming to Columbus, Moore was executive director of the Wright-Dunbar Interpretive Center in Dayton, which explores the lives of the Wright brothers and poet Paul Laurence Dunbar.
"In terms of structural integrity, this is much more sound than Wright-Dunbar," he said. "In Dayton we had just shells, facades. The houses had been essentially destroyed during the riots in the ’60s. This is a treat. You’re not dealing with a totally decayed structure."
The Rickenbacker house’s original siding rests under cedar-shake shingles. The siding, which still retains flakes of the yellow paint that Rickenbacker described in his autobiography, appears to be in superb condition, Moore said.
"This is relatively pristine," he said.
Hoerle was more reserved in his enthusiasm. "I wish them the best of luck," he said. "There’s a lot of history in the house. The house has been reconfigured so totally, if they’re going to restore it, it’s going to be a major, major job. The project is going to take a lot of tax money. Capt. Rickenbacker wouldn’t like that too well. He was for private enterprise."
Archaeologists discovered foundations for Rickenbacker’s workshop, the house privy and a "hog’s head," or root cellar, used before refrigerators were invented, said Joel Teaford, executive director of the nonprofit Neighborhood Design Center, which is in charge of the restoration project.
"One of the interesting things we’ve found is that the foundation of the house is made of glazed bricks," Teaford said. "The bricks are all different colors and all (stamped) with different names. Rickenbacker’s father worked in construction, and we think he scavenged leftover bricks from building sites."
Moore said there is not enough money to renovate the interior, but he is upbeat.
"It’s a great project," he said. "It’s small enough to keep it intimate. We’ve got a lot of young professionals, historians, museum people and the city involved. What’s not to love? "

Posted by jwhitt10 on 08/15/2006
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