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Candidate Surveys

The Harrison West Society nominations committee provided a survey to candidates running for officers in the May 2012 election. If you would like to run for office but have not yet completed a survey, please contact Chris Ruder or Bob Mangia to receive a copy. Your responses will be posted on this site so that constituents can evaluate candidates for officer positions.

Candidates

Kristen Easterday: president
Dara Schwartz: vice president
Mary Martineau: secretary
Dean Curry: treasurer

Surveys

Kristen Easterday

How long have you lived in Harrison West? During that time, have you participated in the society and neighborhood issues?
I have lived in Harrison West for nearly two years. My husband and I registered as members of the Society soon after we signed on our house and I began attending meetings to get a feeling of the neighborhood. Over the past year I have served as Vice President to the Society. In this role, I have led our monthly executive team meetings as well as presided over a few Society meetings regarding key development discussions.

What do you see as the role of the HWS in the neighborhood?
I believe the role of the Society and its leadership is to encourage and foster a safe, uniquely inviting, respectable Harrison West community.

Do you think there is a benefit to attending HWS meetings? If so, how would you go about increasing neighborhood residents’ attendance and participation in these meetings and volunteerism with in the Society?
I believe there is a benefit to attending HWS meetings. Not only do you become and informed community member, but you have the ability at the meetings to weigh-in on important issues through discussion and voting. The ability to connect face-to-face with neighbors is also a great way to create friendships and camaraderie.

In order to make meetings more accessible to our neighbors, it is imperative that we respect everyone’s time and keep meetings to an appropriate length, ideally one hour. Reports from committees should be concise and discussion should be facilitated. From the suggestion of a Harrison West leader, I would suggest that we attempt a meeting and social hour directly following (thanks, Mary!). This would allow for us to connect on a deeper level with our neighbors and allow additional conversation on important topics to occur informally.

How would you help improve communication to ALL interested neighborhood residents about the ongoing issues within the HWS?
I propose that in this Bicentennial year, the Harrison West Society consider complimentary memberships for all neighbors. We can canvass the neighborhood to sign-up residents to the Society and its email notifications. Our monthly newsletter, website, and facebook page, should be the places where we connect and share information with our neighbors outside of the monthly meetings. To ensure that we catch our transient neighbors, I suggest that we ensure one mass mailing/door hanger opportunity each year and make stronger connections with our realtor business members.

What challenges do you foresee for HW in the next year? 5 to 10 years?
It’s no surprise that the Short North is continually recognized as one of the best neighborhoods in central Ohio. Our location convenient location to Goodale Park, minutes walk to watch Nationwide Arena and Huntington Park, as well as the multitude of unique restaurants, boutique shopping, art galleries, and more all surround us.

The recognition and promotion of the Short North is a great opportunity for the pocket neighborhoods within, like Harrison West, to promote our uniqueness as part of this eclectic neighborhood. Within the next five to ten years, I envision the opportunity for Harrison West to further define itself as a unique neighborhood of the Short North community. I look forward to achieving this by continuing to ensure Harrison West is engaged in larger community events like the Short North Tour of Homes, as well as hosting events to specifically uplift Harrison West’s spirit and amenities.

Dara Schwartz

How long have you lived in Harrison West? During that time, have you you participated in the society and neighborhood issues?
I have lived in Harrison West for nearly eight years and prior, had lived in neighboring Victorian Village for three years. When Mark and I moved to the Harrison West neighborhood in 2004, we became members of the Harrison West Society, and I volunteered with the Society’s newsletter. We have been members since and have continued to serve with the Communications Committee focusing on the Harrison West’s web site. I’ve also helped organize social gatherings, such as the Harrison Park Launch and the annual winter potlucks. We participate in Society meetings and vote on important issues within the neighborhood.

What do you see as the role of the HWS in the neighborhood?
I see the role of the Harrison West Society as a vehicle for neighborhood residents to engage with each other and be informed with what’s happening in our community. The Harrison West Society will serve as an advocacy for its’ residents and local businesses within. It will support community growth and outreach, and further strengthen the role of Harrison West in the Columbus community.

Do you think there is a benefit to attending HWS meetings? If so, how would you go about increasing neighborhood residents’ attendance and participation in these meetings and volunteerism with in the Society?
Attending Harrison West Society meetings is a great way to get connected with your community and neighbors. It provides an opportunity to learn about events and developments in the area, in addition to providing personal insight to issues the neighborhood faces. You are able to make a difference and help shape positive growth through voting and participation.

I think there is an existing disconnect with local residents and the Harrison West Society. I imagine that many are uninformed and may not be aware of membership and it’s value. Increasing awareness within the neighborhood is the first approach to increasing membership. I would recommend formulating a membership drive and strategy that would help brand Harrison West Society, highlighting it’s benefits. We can partner with local realtors for access to new homeowners and survey the neighborhood. We also can strategize a direct mail campaign (invite to HWS event with member drive, member mailing, etc.) The next step is engagement. We can achieve this through Society meetings, future neighborhood events and communication vehicles, such as the web and social media.

I would propose a streamlined approach to the Harrison West Society meetings. We need to limit the meeting to a defined time period and move through the important issues at a respectable pace. We can utilize offline discussions on these topics through our web site or a proposed post social hour. The social hour lends the opportunity for neighbors to meet and connect with each other (this is something a few of us brainstormed.) I also recommend programming within meetings. We can invite special guest speakers on relevant topics that may interest homeowners or residents in the community to increase participation (i.e. CSA, how to grow your own garden, refinancing, etc.)

How would you help improve communication to ALL interested neighborhood residents about the ongoing issues within the HWS?
In addition to the membership drive, we should develop a marketing strategy to:

  • Capture email addresses and have them opt-in to receive the HWS e-newsletter
  • Increase HWS facebook fan page
  • Increase awareness of our web site

I also suggest a member of the society be assigned the role to summarize the issues we cover in our meetings and post to our web site (topics like the traffic island, or the Olentangy Bike Path Extension.) We also can send a questionaire to the presenters and post the Q&A.

What challenges do you foresee for HW in the next year? 5 to 10 years?
Activating the community and building awareness will be the first obstacle we will face, however, Harrison West lends great opportunity for growth. In the upcoming years, I foresee this becoming a thriving neighborhood and destination to work and live. I would love to see our new park space utilized for future events, like a jazz series or annual fundraiser hosting local music and neighborhood food; or building a community garden where neighbors can engage.

Mary Martineau

How long have you lived in Harrison West?
Technically we have been residents for 4 years. Eric and I bought a house in November 2006. It was a complete “do-over” project that took us about 18 months to complete. We moved into the house in April 2008, but we joined the Harrison West Society in December 2006 and started attending Harrison West Society meetings right away knowing that this would be our new community.

During that time, have you participated in the society and neighborhood issues?
Absolutely. I have been involved in Short North neighborhood issues for more than a decade. Before we got married Eric and I lived in Victorian Village and I was on the Victorian Village Home Tour Committee for a few years (1997-2000). Once I became the Executive Director of the Short North Business Association (2001-2004) I regularly attended Italian Village and Victorian Village Society meetings and dealt with issues and events from traffic and parking to neighborhood clean ups and Neighborhood Pride days. Then I became Director of Marketing at the North Market (2005-present) which keeps me immersed and involved in the larger Short North neighborhood. In regards to more specific Harrison West involvement I am a regular attendee of Harrison West Society meetings, one-half of the Social Committee (with Tim Bledsoe) that organizes the annual holiday party and helps with other events (like the Harrison Park dedication), I am a member of the Communications Committee and the author of the resident and business profiles (email me if you’d like to be featured!) and I recently “officially” became the tender of one of the beds in Side by Side Park (I’d been an unofficial weeder and planter for a few years).

What do you see as the role of the HWS in the neighborhood?
I think one role of the Harrison West Society is to keep residents informed about and involved in the issues that affect the place we have chosen to call “home.” With a formally organized society like HWS that is recognized by the City of Columbus, we are able to have input into and make recommendations regarding plans and projects that will affect our neighborhood (Harrison Park zoning, the medical building signage, traffic islands, neighborhood signage, etc). An organized community that has a neighborhood plan to guide us, discusses issues at meetings, votes upon and formulates a thoughtful response to impending concerns is able to have a much greater impact than individual neighbors trying to tackle these matters on their own.

I think the another role of the society is to bring neighbors together, not just to face the ongoing issues within the neighborhood, but to get to know one another socially. I think we all live in Harrison West because we like the people who live here and the HWS can help foster those relationships and strengthen the bonds among neighbors and within our community.

Do you think there is a benefit to attending HWS meetings? If so, how would you go about increasing neighborhood residents’ attendance and participation in these meetings and volunteerism within the Society?
I absolutely believe there is a benefit to attending HWS meetings. Sure, we tackle some tough issues that involve difficult and sometimes uncomfortable discussions, but in the end I think there is an intrinsic value to the input and interaction from which our resolutions evolve. Every resident who is a member of the society has the opportunity to have an impact on our community by attending HWS meetings, letting their voice be heard and becoming involved. I think we could benefit from a little more “social time” either before or after the meetings in a more informal atmosphere (without Chris Ruder reciting from Robert’s Rules of Order J). Since some issues will have strong opinions on either side it’s nice to have the opportunity to connect on the “fun” things about the neighborhood or just get to know each other better so that we have a better appreciation of where folks are coming from when they may not share our opinions and ideas. I think having a few more HWS social activities (potlucks, picnics in the park, happy hours, etc) ultimately encourage greater participation and involvement in committees and volunteer opportunities. All work and no play makes for a dull neighborhood society as it were.

How would you help improve communication to ALL interested neighborhood residents about the ongoing issues within the HWS?
I think that the website, facebook page and email newsletter are a good start on communicating to neighborhood residents in a modern manner. I think we tend to have a fairly large student population and an influx of new (generally younger) homeowners, families and renters that is very receptive to these forms of communication. I think meeting anyone without an email address is fairly rare in this day and age which makes these options both highly effective and affordable forms of communication. I think that an annual or semi-annual direct-mailed postcard informing residents about these options gives everyone who wants to be involved and informed the best opportunities to do so.

What challenges do you foresee for HW in the next year? 5 to 10 years?
I think that the entire neighborhood could benefit from more involvement from a broader variety of residents in the HWS. I think homeowners are fairly represented (and we can always have more of those) but that there is potential for more renter and business involvement. I think that we will have ongoing issues with developers as Harrison West is such an attractive community for new projects and we will have to be vigilant to ensure that they maintain the character of the neighborhood that drew us all here. I foresee issues with the widespread development of the Grandview Yard impacting traffic flow within and around the neighborhood. We still have significant progress to make to improve and maintain our Harrison West parks and to find potential new park space to utilize the Gowdy Field funds. We have come so far thanks to the work of neighborhood “pioneers” and involved residents like Mary Funk, Bob Mangia, Rob Harris, Tim Bledsoe, Patrick and Richard and so many others. And I believe that any challenges that this neighborhood faces…in the next year…in the next decade…will be met with the unified and thoughtful response that results from a neighborhood society in which its residents are involved and invested in their community and in each other.

Dean Curry

How long have you lived in Harrison West?
It will be 3 years this August.

During that time, have you participated in the society and neighborhood issues?
Yes; I attend most of the HWS meetings and try to participate in the “bank heist” efforts.

What do you see as the role of the HWS in the neighborhood?
A voice of the community to enable residents to reach common goals; coordinating with civic leaders on programs to further enhance the quality and safety of our neighborhood.

Do you think there is a benefit to attending HWS meetings?
YES; there is always the chance to meet other residents, and also meet the people that want to affect some change in the neighborhood, whether it is a new restaurant wanting to open, parking issues, signage on buildings or incorrect use of space or zoning, it is very interesting to see how things happen.

If so, how would you go about increasing neighborhood residents’ attendance and participation in these meetings and volunteerism with in the Society?
I believe we increase attendance by increasing membership. We always need to be recruiting members and renewing current members.

How would you help improve communication to ALL interested neighborhood residents about the ongoing issues within the HWS?
In addition to the promotion of the website and the Facebook page, I believe we need to have volunteer members throughout Harrison West to deliver postcards door to door of non‐members. This will also help to get those not having access to the internet or are not computer savvy. I have done a little research and have found 500 full color postcards for $19.00. We can encourage businesses in the area to cover the expense of the product in exchange for their logo and website on the card. In addition we need to work with the neighboring associations to do cross‐promotion.

What challenges do you foresee for HW in the next year? 5 to 10 years?
We have a great neighborhood, but need to further enhance the safety of our surroundings. There will be 6,000 new jobs at the new OSU hospital currently being built and with this comes several opportunities to increase home sales and prices. Grandview Yard will be gaining traction with the New Giant Eagle coming to 3rd Avenue. These are great opportunities to show the region what a great place Harrison West is to live and work, however, with this comes traffic and congestion. The HWS needs to keep focused on traffic calming devices, to keep residents safe and also needs to be on the lookout for new opportunities to create green space and keep the architectural nuances found in this neighborhood. The HWS society needs to incorporate local businesses and business owners that are in the neighborhood to get physical and financial support for the running of the society.

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