Here's an introduction to the city's new vibrant central playground.
As he walks Downtown's newest park on a recent spring day, Guy Worley repeats the same sentence several times: "You're standing where no one has stood in a 100 years." The repetition is understandable. As the head of the Columbus Downtown Development Corporation and Capitol South, Worley spent the past six years reimagining Columbus' riverfront. Now, the project he spearheaded, the Scioto Greenways, is done-and it's transforming the city's relationship with the Scioto River, the urban core's long-ignored natural resource. Here's an introduction to the city's new vibrant central playground.
Coleman's Pointe: Named for former Columbus Mayor Mike Coleman, the scenic overlook (available for wedding ceremonies via the Columbus Recreation and Parks Department) offers excellent views of the city's skyline and the new 33-acre park along the river.
The Oval: Like all of the Scioto Greenways, this open space east of Genoa Park was underwater prior to the removal of the Main Street dam in late 2013, which allowed for the construction of a more narrow, natural river channel through Downtown. Crews used more than 500,000 cubic yards of fill (half from the river itself and the other half from construction sites around the city) for the $35.5 million project.
Riparian edge: New plants line the river to keep soil from eroding into the water. At strategic points throughout the river channel, crews also have placed recycled root balls to prevent erosion.
Deer art: Three deer statues by Santa Fe artist Terry Allen add a touch of whimsy to the Rich Street Bridge and the steps in Genoa Park.
Plants and trees: About 75,000 plants and 800 new trees were planted.
Lower River Walk: The promenade is both a scenic feature and an essential piece of infrastructure. Built at the curve of the river on the eastern bank below the Ohio Judicial Center, the concrete structure offers a bulwark against erosion at the point where the flow creates the most pressure.
Boat launches: Three boat access points (stone paths to the water's edge) were installed within the Greenways zone (from North Bank Park to about 800 feet south of the former location of the Main Street dam).
Point bars: These naturally occurring gravel features on the north and south ends of the park are where rocks accumulate as water flows south.
Multi-use paths: About 1.5 miles of shared-use paths offer a connecting link to regional and state bike trails.