The Name Game: Scioto Confusion in Downtown Columbus

Dave Ghose

You can't help experience Scioto overload along the revamped Downtown riverfront. There's the Scioto River, of course. Then you have the two parks that have transformed the city's relationship with the central waterway: the Scioto Mile and the Scioto Greenways.

In 2011, the Scioto Mile, a $44 million refurbishing of the riverfront, debuted. The Scioto Greenways followed suit last fall-a $35.5 million project that developed 33 acres of new riverfront greenspace, created when the Main Street Dam was removed in 2013. Truth be told, the two parks seem more like phases in the same project than separate entities. And when you walk where they overlap, between the Main Street Bridge to the south and the Arena District to the north, only insiders can figure out where one ends and the other begins.

On a recent spring day, Guy Worley, CEO of the Columbus Downtown Development Corporation (the organization that spearheaded both projects), acknowledges the confusion. While giving me a tour of the new Greenways, he says Downtown leaders are looking for a better way to brand the riverfront and expect to eliminate one of the names. I ask if the Scioto Mile, the older child, might ultimately win out. "Probably," Worley responds.