Ben Barker, Operations Manager for Capital Crossroads and Discovery SIDs, as his title suggests, manages the operations of the SIDs’ clean and safe teams. Sure, that entails some basic responsibilities, such as scheduling the Ambassador teams, coordinating seasonal duties such as snow and leaf removal, managing planting and maintenance of flowers throughout the district, and more.
But in the four years Barker has been with the SID, it’s become clear that he is a true Jack of all trades, always finding creative and resourceful ways to handle tricky situations. How so? Well, here is a top ten list of quirky responsibilities Barker has been known to tackle.
1. Animal Control: Duck Edition: Read the heartwarming story of the duck rescue here.
2. Weed Control: He doesn’t just purchase a vat of Weed B Gone from Lowe’s. Barker actually earned a special license in order to provide proper weed control through the district.
3. Equipment Master: Barker has researched and operates a number of unusual pieces of equipment such as the Polaris Brutus HDpto snow removal tool with snow brush attachment, all of which allow the ambassadors to keep things looking great.
4. Bike Mechanic: When an ambassador’s bike needs some TLC, Barker is the man.
5. Animal Control: Bee Edition: When ambassadors discovered a colony of over 5,000 bees, Barker realized that due to their important environmental role, they should not just be killed. He reached out to the Central Ohio Beekeepers Association and located someone what was interested in collecting the swarm to add to his hive colony, which produces honey.
6. Irrigation Expert: Downtown is a concrete jungle, so irrigation of the plantings is vital. Barker has learned the ins and outs of the irrigation systems.
7. Animal Control: Bat Edition: In the past six months, ambassadors have twice found bats during the daylight hours, suffering from dehydration. Barker took the first one home and was able to give it water with a bottle cap; the bat, revived, flew off later that night. The second bat was in worse shape, and Barker took him to the Ohio Wildlife Center in Dublin for help.
8. A/V Specialist: Barker conducted research to find and purchase the best audio/visual option in support of anti-loitering efforts. Research has shown that playing classical music in areas where youth gather can encourage them to move along.
9. Animal Control: Opossum Edition: In his six years with the SIDs, Barker has trapped, transported and released four opossums after finding them dazed and confused on the downtown streets and alleys during the daylight hours.
10. Dumpster Stakeout: On more than one occasion, Barker has conducted late-night stakeouts to catch people illegally dumping trash in dumpsters.
Thanks to Ben for his hard work and constant willingness to take on any task. SID members who require clean or safe services, be they traditional or out of the ordinary, can contact the SID hotline for assistance: (614) 228-5718.