The charm of German Village architecture and landscapes does not rest on any one attribute, but in the thousands of little details, all of which we are charged with protecting as preservationists and property owners.
One attribute that marks our neighborhood as historic are the sandstone curbs. These date to our original roadways and continue to function in clearing stormwater, holding tree-lawns and keeping horses and carts, ok, cars and trucks, from going wayward off the road.
Sandstone deteriorates over time, just as slate and brick. In German Village curbs often settle, get worn or damaged by vehicles, or simply fail and crumble.
The German Village Society has worked hard to establish the protocol with the City of Columbus for replacing these curbs with new sandstone curbs. I met with representatives from the city recently to review how this process works and want to share some facts with you:
- It is the city’s priority to replace like with like when making infrastructure repairs in German Village as a designated historic district. This means brick streets get repaired with brick. Sandstone curbs get replaced with sandstone curbs. However, when and how this happens is a bit more complicated.
- The city assesses the need for a curb repair when they are undergoing a street repair. At that time, the city will review the condition of the adjoining curb and make a determination to repair or replace curb as needed.
- The city is responsible for all straight curb sections between driveway entries; Property owners are responsible for all curbing that forms the curved entry into their driveways;
- When the city installs ADA warning pads at corners, the adjoining curbs are done in concrete due to the slope requirements.
- The City of Columbus maintains a ‘curb bank’ of available sandstone replacement curb to be used in districts such as ours.
- Should a resident wish to have a curb (straight sections) repaired where no street repair is currently scheduled, they may do so at their own expense and participate in the city curb reimbursement program to assist with costs.
- The resident must initiate this process.
- This reimbursement can be in the form of curb sections from the city curb bank, in which case the property owner initiating the repair is responsible for the labor cost of installation;
- If the property owner wishes to buy their own material (we can direct you to the source quarry: www.clevelandquarries.com), the city will reimburse up to $65 per linear foot toward the installation labor costs. To apply the reimbursement amount to labor, the resident must provide the city with 3 estimates. The city will reimburse the lowest estimate, up to $65.00 per linear foot. Again, this is for straight line curb sections. The property owner is 100% responsible for the maintenance and repair of the curved curb entries to driveways.
Orders for curb work can originate from a variety of sources: The city, URIF projects, utilities doing work such as the Columbia Gas AMRP project currently underway in the district, private property owners or city services and drains. Any of these entities can obtain a permit to repair or replace a curb. The city is working hard to make sure that those obtaining such permits for work in German Village are aware that they MUST replace sandstone with sandstone. There have been occasions in the past where communication has broken down and sandstone has been replaced with concrete. I am currently working with the city to identify parcels where this may have occurred and will be working with them to correct these improper installations. My current list includes the following addresses:
601 City Park (Willow side of property)
593 City Park (Willow side of property)
513 City Park- section of the straight curb in concrete rather than sandstone when handicap pad installed
6th St. between Blenkner and Livingston- both sides of the street.
If you believe a concrete curb has been recently installed rather than sandstone, please email me directly with the address, and if possible a photo of the curb and I will follow-up immediately.
To learn more, please read the publication entitled Sandstone Curb Replacement Standards, produced by the Division of Infrastructure Management for the City of Columbus Department of Public Service HERE