Author Archives: Ken Gilbert

February 2015 Meeting

The next meeting of the Forest Park Civic Association will be on Tuesday, February 10, at 7 pm at Epworth United Methodist Church, 5100 Karl Road in the main sanctuary. ALL Forest Park residents are invited.

Bruce Robinson from Xenos Free Clinic will speak about the new Free Clinic in Northland.

We will also have a visit from our police liaison and a time to air any concerns and questions about the neighborhood you might have. We will pass them on to our city representative. Get an update on why and how nuisance hotels and clubs have been closed in the past year and learn what you can do to help in this effort.

In March we will have a speaker on the issue of feral cats, and in April City Council Member Shannon Hardin will come to personally learn about our neighborhood and hear our concerns. He attended the February NCC meeting, but did much more listening than speaking. I’m sure you will find him interesting.

Upcoming events are the Kick Butt Columbus cleanup day on March 28th (, the first 161 Cleanup Day on April 11th, and the Northland Shredding Day on May 16th at Menards. See your February and March Foresters for more information.

March President’s Message

Help Us Help You

This past weekend I had a call from a concerned resident. She wanted me to have a note placed in the Forester about the laws for cars on our Forest Park streets and how long they are, by code, permitted to remain in the same place. The resident did a great job of defining the problem. The resident reported the problem to 311, as we asked. They wanted to be more informed about the law. The resident was observant and followed Officer Clinger’s rule that we learned in Block Watch meetings: “Report Report, Report!”

But there was one problem that reminded me of my first time teaching a chemistry lab at Penn State. I thought i’d done a great job of introducing myself and the class, so when I asked “Any Questions?”, I was sure there wouldn’t be any. But the coed at the front lab desk raised her hand and said: “What’s your name?” Oops. I was so embarrassed.

That’s what happened with the call I received. There was no name. There was no address. There was no 311 report number. There was no way for me to find out what happened and to follow up with the city. Now I don’t want to embarrass our concerned resident. But like my own goof of 35 years ago, I want it to be a learning experience for all of us. That’s one of my goals for this year. I want to teach our community to help us to help you. That’s one of the things you will be reading about in the Forester this year.

In this case, we had an observant, concerned resident who was willing to report a problem both to us and to the city. That is awesome. But because we did not have the right contact information, there is not much we can do to help that resident find a solution to the problem.

Here are some things you can do. If it is an emergency situation involving crime, dial 911 immediately. If it isn’t and you think it is a criminal matter, dial the police non-emergency number, 645-4545. Then contact our Block Watch leader and Supplemental Security officer. If it involves a city matter, like unplowed streets, pot holes, code violations, damage to city trees in the right of way, etc., either dial the City of Columbus Call Center, 311, or go to On that site you will find out how to report problems to the city. You will also find the refuse, recycling, and yard waste schedules as well as great deal of information for city residents. If you want to learn more about the difference between code violations and crime, come to our Association and Block Watch meetings. You will usually have an opportunity to ask questions of the board or block watch leaders and our city and police liaisons.

Remember the rules of good reporting: Who, What, When, Where, How, and Why. You may not have all of those. Provide as many as you can. Get a 311 report number from the city. When you make a 311 report, give your contact information–either an e-mail address or telephone number. An automatic report number will be generated. Make a note of it. That number helps our City Liaison to help us help you.

Looking forward to hearing from you.

Ken Gilbert
President, FPCA

President’s Message February 2014

Greeting to all Forest Park residents. My name is Ken Gilbert and I have the privilege to be the new president of the Forest Park Civic Association. I wanted to take this opportunity to introduce myself and talk briefly about our community. First, I’d like to thank outgoing President Mike Stone for his hard work on behalf of the community during his two terms. Thankfully, he will be remaining on the board as Past President and will still head up our Outreach Day efforts. I know I’ll value his insight and input as I begin my term. The board has also selected a fine Vice President, Ed Vanasdale, who has been leading our Supplemental Security Program. Ed and I have a lot of exciting ideas we want to work on in 2014 with the help of the board and members of our community.

The first is to strengthen what we have: a fine suburban style community with great housing opportunities in the middle of one of America’s great cities. We have an excellent supplemental security program that your dues support (which, as far as we know, is the only one in the city). We have a great Fourth of July parade running right through the heart of our community. We have great residents who are also great neighbors. My wife Catherine and I are glad we chose to make Forest Park our home in 2002. For me, Forest Park has the strong neighborhood feel I was used to growing up in Philadelphia. For Catherine, it was a return “home” as she grew up on the southeastern border of Forest Park and attended Woodward Park MS and Northland HS.

In 2014, we hope to enhance our Supplemental Security Program and we will be working with the city on items to enhance our neighborhood. Those ideas are still in the planning stage, but I hope to have more information in upcoming Foresters. We will be working on a better plan for street lighting. What we need to be most effective is YOU. Your support of the FCPA with your dues helps us to provide many programs and helps us to keep Forest Park safer. Your input tells us where the challenges are and often where solutions may be found. We can’t do everything. But what we can do is take the concerns of our residents to the right people. We won’t always get what we want. But we promise to do our best to make your voices heard. We need your help to do that. There is no one who knows better where the good and bad of a neighborhood is than those who live there. Help us with that task. As our police liaison officer always says at the Block Watch meetings: “Report, report, report”. We want to teach our members how to report problems and concerns to the city and law enforcement. We will strive to make sure those concerns are heard. Help us to help you. I’m looking forward to a great 2014 in this wonderful neighborhood we all call home.

NCC Annual Picnic Aug 13 6 PM

The Northland Community Council Annual Picnic will be held Aug 13 at the Northland Swim Club, starting at 6 pm, to allow representatives from member community associations to participate in National Night Out on the regular meeting night, Aug 6. As Aug 13 is the same night as our regular Forest Park Civic Association Meeting, we will join the NCC at their event and not have a separate meeting (we may have a brief business meeting at the pool). It will be a potluck (I believe NCC is providing meat), so bring a side dish. All FPCA board members and their families are welcome! Bring your swim suits and towels too! The Northland Swim Club is located at 5006 Almont Dr, Columbus OH  43229 in the Kar-Mel neighborhood.

Ken Gilbert
Vice President and NCC Rep