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You never know who or what the Columbus Foundation will celebrate in its annual National Number Ones observance, but you can count on an eclectic list that includes something you didn’t know about good things happening in central Ohio. That’s part of the intent behind the list. “I hope you don’t know half of them,” President and CEO Douglas Kridler prefaced in announcing the honorees from 2017 at a recent luncheon.
How else would singer/songwriter Eric Gnezda be feted on the same team with Ken Schnacke, Columbus Clippers president and general manager? Or how does Cleve Ricksecker, executive director of the Capitol Crossroads Special Improvement District, get paired with Edwaard Liang, artistic director of BalletMet?
Each of the 18 honorees — both individuals and organizations — was called out by Kridler and the foundation for representing “our smart and open city with their extraordinary accomplishments.”
For Gnezda, it was about producing “Songs at the Center,” a Columbus music series that is raising the area’s national profile on American Public Television. Schnacke was honored for Huntington Park being the No. 1 ballpark for Triple-A minor league teams on “Ballpark Digest’s” annual Best of the Ballparks list. Early handicappers might predict Schnacke will be back on the foundation’s list next year for his recent election to the International League Hall of Fame.
Ricksecker’s place was secured by virtue of championing free COTA bus passes to 40,000 Downtown workers, a program to go into effect this summer after a successful trial last year. The creative solution to traffic and parking congestion was cited by StreetsBlog USA as exceptional public policy. Liang’s production of “Romeo and Juliet” was named a 2017 standout by Pointe Magazine.