Resident Profile – Bob Mangia

By Mary Martineau
Bob Mangia has been living in Harrison West since he bought his house on Bradley Street in 1997. He was renting in Italian Village when he decided to become a homeowner and found the prices in Harrison West easily affordable at the time. Bob has worked at Market Blooms in the North Market for 15 years. In fact, it was at the North Market that he met his partner of 13 years, Jeff Gill. Jeff was moving to Columbus for work, and his friends insisted that they visit the North Market on his first weekend in town. Mutual friends introduced them during one of his early visits. Bob and Jeff went out on a date the following weekend and have been together ever since.

Bob and Jeff have done ample work to their 1900s-era house. The duo put in a new kitchen, renovated the bathroom and built a garage. One of the first things Bob did when he moved into the house was spray vegetation killer on all of the grass. “I did not want to have to mow a lawn,” he explains. Instead, the yard is extensively landscaped—both in front and in back—with hundreds of perennials that the couple has planted over the years. There are lots of hostas in the shaded backyard as well as a pergola-style roof that the couple built to shelter their back deck. Just yards off the deck is a babbling pond that is home to colorful goldfish. The newest addition to the family is Nicho, the just-over-a-year-old caramel-colored and very lively pooch that Jeff and Bob adopted this year. “He’s just figured out that he can chase the squirrels in the backyard, and he finds that highly entertaining,” says Bob with a laugh.

Bob has been dynamically involved in the Harrison West Society since shortly after moving to the neighborhood. He originally became an active member to prevent condos from being constructed at the current site of Side by Side park along the river. When he purchased his house, the realtor mentioned that the space was designated to be a park. Bob and other neighbors protested the condo project, spurring the city to find money to buy the land. Side by Side Park was dedicated as a city park in 2001 due to the efforts of Bob and other concerned neighbors who wanted the site to remain a public space for the people of Columbus.

The Side by Side Park project led to Bob’s becoming chair of the Harrison West Society’s Park Committee. He is very excited about the completion of Harrison Park, an endeavor that has involved seven years of planning and that is currently under construction. Bob finds it very fitting that 2010 marks the 100th anniversary of the Columbus Department of Recreation and Parks and that Harrison Park will be the only new park built in the city this year. “Since the day we started planning Harrison Park, it has always been our intention to create a park that is timeless and will last for at least 100 years. That it corresponds with the 100th anniversary of Rec and Parks is an outstanding coincidence.”

One of the reasons Bob originally fell in love with his house is its accessible location. Just off the river and in close proximity to the bike path that will soon run right through the end of the road, Bradley Street offered a quiet respite in a walkable Short North neighborhood. In the years he has lived there, a number of great restaurants have opened on West Third Avenue, reaffirming Bob’s choice to own in Harrison West.

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