Impacts 

Communities across the Midwest are realizing the tremendous social and economic impacts of embracing their often long forgotten riverfronts!  The City of Columbus is in the process of improving its riverfront between the 2nd and 3rd Street Bridges. 

Riverfront Plan and Design Features – The consultant team is in the process of developing a plan that will accomplish the city's riverfront goals and objects, as well as be approved by various state and federal agencies. Major design concepts include:

  • Accommodating the probable realignment of SR 46​

  • A river walk on the east bank with a connection to the People Trail 

  • Improved 3-dimensional connectivity 

  • Nature-themed play space on the west bank 

  • In-river improvements 

This project will positively impact the community through:

  • Improved Safety – Low head dams have long been known as “drowning machines” because of the powerful currents created in the water below them that can trap unsuspecting swimmers.  Removing the low head dam at the riverfront will make this portion of the river much safer for the community.

     

 

  • Connectivity – A trail along the riverfront and routed under both the 2nd and 3rd Street bridges will provide a safe and picturesque connection for the People Trail in this area of the city.  Residents and visitors will be able to utilize this connection between Mill Race and downtown Columbus to walk, jog, rent a ColumBike to cycle along the riverfront, and provide better access to downtown Columbus amenities such as restaurants and retail.

 

  • Increased Accessibility – The Universally designed pedestrian trail will provide access to a community green space that has previously been inaccessible to most residents of Columbus and will allow users of varied physical abilities to interact directly with the river. 

 

  • Additional Recreation Opportunities – Removal of the low head dam and completing the People Trail connection will provide additional active and passive recreation opportunities including the ability to canoe, kayak, tube and fish throughout this area, as well as new spaces to sit and observe the river and iconic Robert Stewart Bridge. The Riverfront will be a preferred destination for residents and visitors alike, and an ideal place to stroll, unwind, and reflect.  The Riverfront will have something for everyone and best of all, it will be a place to be enjoyed for generations to come.

 

  • Construction – During construction, the riverfront project will support approximately 85 jobs, infuse $3.8 million dollars into the local economy and create approximately $265,000 in state and local tax revenue. The design team is currently working with various state and federal agencies to permit the project. Once permits are received, the city will move forward with final design and bidding of the project. 

  • Local Economic Benefits – Young people today are relocating to communities that offer lifestyle opportunities. Job opportunities are a secondary consideration. Nationwide, millennials and baby boomers represent the largest populations, and both largely desire to live in walk-able, urban communities with a variety of opportunity for recreation, hospitality, social connection, arts, culture, and other activities. By working now to create these conditions in our community, Columbus will be at an advantage in terms of future population growth and the ability to support local industry. Through our creation of a signature destination along our Riverfront, we are investing in our community gathering places and parks. 

 

  • Visitors / Tourism – The riverfront improvements are estimated to support 23 jobs, bring approximately $500,000 in revenue, and drive nearly $1.2 million in economic activity throughout the community annually. Additional tourism will also create nearly $82,000 in state and local tax revenue.  This iconic riverfront experience will strengthen Columbus’ distinctive brand and robust economy!

Contact information:

Heather Pope

Director of Redevelopment

Columbus Redevelopment Commission

hpope@columbus.in.gov

Randy Royer

Principle in Charge

Hitchcock Design Group

rroyer@hitchcockdesigngroup.com