Lula Botts had a problem with drainage in her yard, so the city installed a skateboard ramp to fix it.
OK, that's an oversimplification, so let's look closer.
Botts' front yard slopes down from the street to her house, and she was having trouble with water from the street threatening her foundation. So she called the city, and they came out and addressed the situation.
Problem solved, right? Well maybe.
She was away from her Pyburn Street house when the city crew came out and wasn't prepared for what she saw when she got home. The crew had put down a six-foot wide by about 12-foot long swath of asphalt from the street down to a drainage ditch which leads into a drain pipe.
"I never dreamed that they would do something like this," she said. "I cried for two days."
She called the city and someone told her that what was installed was what the problem called for, and there wasn't really anything else they could do.
What about her property's value, she asked. Who would want to buy a house with a skateboard ramp in the yard?
"One guy said, 'Well, what do you want us to do? Come back out and dig it up? We'll dig it up if you want us to.'"
Botts told me she realizes it might be all that could be done, but she would like more of an explanation than, "You want us to dig it up?"
And in addition to the blacktop ramp, the crew tossed out grass seed to cover the disturbed soil around the new in
stallation. It's a fast-growing fescue-looking grass that needs cutting twice as often as her St. Augustine lawn. It's also growing up through the asphalt, which adds to the haggard look of the thing, but she said the city's going to spray that.
Anyway, that's just a nit compared to the black asphalt swath.
"You could paint it green," I said.
"Several people have suggested that," she said, in such a way that I got the impression she didn't think it was funny when they said it either.
"All I know is they wouldn't do this to a home in Green Island Hills," she said.
No, probably not. The good folks up in the GI would call Seasonal Concepts instead of the city and they'd make a nice water feature out of it.
I told Ms. Botts that, at least in my experience, the city isn't known for approaching such remedies willy-nilly. There's usually some level of engineering involved. So I told her I'd try to get her at least an explanation as to why the skateboard ramp approach was necessary.
But due to technical difficulties (and by "technical," I mean "gastrointestinal"), those questions will have to be answered next week.
Imagine my surprise a few weeks ago when I got a call from the nice folks at the Keep Columbus Beautiful Commission inviting me to their annual awards luncheon at the Columbus Convention & Trade Center. It seems their board had voted to present the 2013 Individual Community Improvement Award to The Inquirer.
Well, raise my rent. Usually the only awards journalists get are from other journalists (and truth be told even we don't give a damn what we think). So I was very honored. Thank you.
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