Spring has sprung, and I for one can’t wait to get out and enjoy the warm weather. But you may wish to do your homework before planning outdoor events.
Community gardens are being built all around town, and mayor Coleman is encouraging more of them.
So let’s review what it takes to start a community garden…
First you have an empty lot, usually abandoned, and often piled with refuse and in disrepair, which is a hotbed for the breeding of vermin, and a haven for a veritable array of illegal activities and business transactions.
For a price you may have the luxury of leasing the property to build a community garden.
Yeah, you heard me right, you actually have to pay to use something the city had no intention of doing anything with at all, which was previously abandoned by its former owner probably due to a condemned building standing on it.
Now you have the empty lot, well… not completely empty, it’s still full of rats, broken bottles,old tires, dirty diapers, used prophylactics, empty blunt wrappers, and a few stray cats…YOU get to clean it up too…that’s right… not broom clean like the law says a rental has to be according to landlord tenant laws…but as-is.
Now normally that should stop it right there if you’re a business owner with an active food vending license who wants to incorporate patio service, but not in Columbus.
C-bus officials decided in the case of Kwodwo Ababio, who owns the New Harvest Cafe’ on Cleveland Avenue in the Linden District, that even though he leases the property from them, and even though he already has an active food vending license which means he is already paying the city for the privelege to vend food in the building right next to the property, that he cannot use the property to hold events where he sells food unless he pays them first.
But isn’t he already paying them for the right to sell food on his property that he leases, directly adjacent to this lot? And isn’t it legal for businesses to have patio service without a seperate vendor license?
And is it right to ask him to pay them three seperate times in order to sell food basically at his restaurant?
Columbus needs to be more considerate of the customer before charging folks for licensing.
What’s worse is that Mr. Ababio actually gives food to the poor for free, so they are, in a sense, picking on a food pantry for holding fundraisers.
Do the Girl Scouts have to pay $120. per table to sell cookies outside the grocery store?
And I suppose I should have checked for a license with the little girl whose lemonade stand I stopped at last summer.
The city’s excuses include that the lessees of the gardens often want the city to pay for water for them. Well aren’t the taxpayers paying for that water, and for their salaries, and for everything else related to government, so if we want to sell food or anything in the park or anyplace else, shouldn’t it be our right to do so?
So go visit Mr. Kwodwo Ababio’s restaurant “New Harvest Cafe” located next to the community garden at 2457 Cleveland Avenue and show him some support.
If the city wants him to overpay for vending maybe we, his community, can help out by supporting his business so he can more readily afford it.
While we are at it, perhaps we should write our congressmen and tell them that price gouging small businesses out of existence will not be tolerated if in fact they want our votes;)
There are a number of great businesses in this area and alot of awesome Caribbean restaurants, so pick a warm day and go check it out.
One last thing I almost forgot, he stood up for what he believed in and held his event anyway, without the silly permit.
Good for you Mr. Ababio!
Vive la Resistance!
See Ben Wolford’s article in the Columbus Dispatch (link below) for details and a great story about this situation. After all, it is the article on which mine is commenting!