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Pssst! “Bank Heist” on April 2

by Matthew Williams

Tim Bledsoe and Matthew Williams at a "Bank Heist" in 2010.

Like me, some of you may have been watching the river a lot this winter. After many hours of chopping and chipping along the bank last summer, I intended to get an eyeful of the beautiful Olentangy despite the cold. The site has been so muddy, though, that it would have been impossible to walk without the bike path—one of the major features of the soon-to-be completed Harrison Park. I’m looking forward to the change in the weather, when crews will build the gazebo, when the first two sculptures will be installed, when the grass and playground safety surface will go down. Harrison Park promises to be a gem not only in Harrison West but in all of Columbus. To help keep moving the park forward toward completion, I and a group of my neighbors and friends will resume our work cleaning up the river bank.

We cut back all the honeysuckle last summer and felled the diseased and dying trees, opening up a river vista unmatched between King Avenue and downtown. The city has promised to spray the area to prevent new honeysuckle growth, and we’re working on bringing in native species to replace some of the plants that we removed. The best thing we could say about the honeysuckle is that it stabilized the bank. Now that it’s gone, we need new plants whose roots can minimize erosion. We’ll also focus on removing the substantial amount of trash and industrial debris that has found its way down the bank over the last century. We’ll reposition and reuse as park “furniture” items that are just too big to remove without heavy equipment.

I hope you’ll join us for our “Bank Heist.” At about 8 a.m. on Saturday, April 2, you’ll be able to find a group of us on the east bank of the Olentangy digging in and making Harrison West’s view of the river the envy of urban neighborhoods. We’ll continue to work on the first Saturday of every month while the weather is good. If the first Saturday is rainy, we’ll reschedule for the second Saturday. (And if that’s rainy, too, we’ll skip working for that month.)

See you at the “Bank Heist.”

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