New Downtown Scioto River Park Unveiled

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The City of Columbus and American Electric Power announced today that each will commit $10 million to develop parkland along the east bank of the Scioto River downtown. The Scioto Mile will feature a street level promenade and a river walk along the water’s edge.

The new park will follow the Scioto’s east bank, stretching from Broad to Rich Street, and will cost an estimated $38 million. The project will transform a concrete floodwall into an attractive strip of parkland according to Mayor Michael Coleman.

“Study after study has shown that people and business like to be near where people gather and people gather at parks,” Coleman says. “And people will gather at this park and it will be world class.”

There will be two walkways; the one at street level will be a tree-lined sidewalk. The Columbus Downtown Development Authority’s Guy Worley says there will be points of interest along the way.

“A cloud fountain for children, bronze bird feeders, a planet pond, a lot of different sculptures that will be commissioned for this park because we want this to be our signature park,” Worley says. “We’re trying to draw people downtown and to have them use our riverfront on a more daily basis.”

The second walkway will be right down at the river’s edge with wetland vegetation along the way. The now blank concrete wall will be covered with ivy. AEP chairman Michael Morris.

“This park, we think, will tremendously affect the downtown Columbus area in a very constructive way,” Morris says. “As the mayor has said many times every great city ought to have a great park and this will allow that to happen along what is a great asset the river that today we’re all concreted from and now tomorrow will be able to have access to that riverway.”

To make room for the park five-lane Marconi Boulevard will be reduced to three lanes. Promenade ground breaking is scheduled for 2008 with completion in the fall of the following year. The lower level River Walk is not scheduled to open until 2011.

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