There are many opportunities as it relates to Columbus’ downtown riverfront. That was the message shared during Thursday night’s presentation by many of the players involved during a joint meeting of the City Council and Redevelopment Commission.
The Hitchcock Design Group led the discussion of the proposal, which includes a walking and cycling connection taking people under the Second Street bridge and connecting it to Mill Race Park. Organizers say the idea is to essentially “extend the atmosphere” of the park further downstream. The proposal also includes a white water park approximately 700 feet in length with three drops that would be attractive to kayakers and others who would like to play in the water. Scott Shipley, a recreational specialist and consultant hired by the city, explained that for every one person who will play in the water, seven others will want to enjoy the riverfront without getting wet. With that, the plan includes terraces and paths where people can congregate and take in the river and activities. Other key parts of the proposal include the removal of the low-head dam and the stabilization of both the east and west banks of the river.
The estimated cost for the project is $8.6 million. It breaks down as follows:
Trail connections – $1,946,000
Bank stabilization – $3,474,000
Dam removal – $2,369,000
Amenities – $815,000
While work on preliminary designs for a so-called “play-through park” on the west bank has been done, those plans were not discussed as the design team says it didn’t want to get away from the core focus of the project. Heather Pope, the city’s director of redevelopment, explains the price tag.
Pope noted that there is still a long way to go before this plan can become a reality. She explains what happens next.
After that, the city would need to engage a design firm to come up with construction documents in the hopes of clearing regulatory hurdles. Even then, Pope says that getting approval from regulators could prove challenging. No official action was taken during Thursday night’s meeting.