The unfolding transformation of Columbus’ riverfront is dramatic, adding vibrancy to Downtown.
Last week, a bold plan for the Franklinton side of the river was announced that aims to complete the picture by bringing new amenities such as an amphitheater, museum, a satellite location of the renowned Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, and 1,200 new residential units incorporating the site of what is now Veterans Memorial.
The multi-faceted plan unveiled Tuesday is still evolving, but already has significant players on board and many more eager to join in. It not only will build on the success of enhancements on the Downtown side of the Scioto; it will propel the blossoming of Franklinton that’s already under way as a unique, artsy district, giving critical mass to the long-dormant area around the nationally-recognized COSI Columbus. The development will be a great amenity to local residents and visitors.
New residents also will be brought Downtown with the plan. For the last couple of years, upscale new Downtown apartments have been snapped up as fast as they can be built. Development on the site will benefit not only from the surrounding project, but from a stunning view of Downtown.
The county-owned parcel and 58-year-old Vets represents the last piece of the puzzle to a fully revitalized riverfront. County Commissioner John O’Grady called the project “transformational,” noting that “This is the type of development and redevelopment that will change the face of our community for the next 100 years.”
The county’s role in helping bring this deal to fruition builds on the work of the city to improve the riverfront over the past decade. Mayor Michael B. Coleman has carefully orchestrated hundreds of millions of dollars in investment in the Downtown riverfront area. In turn, the city’s investment has sparked many millions more in private investment in the area.
“Great things happen in Columbus when we dream big,” said City Council President Andrew J. Ginther last week, remarking on the “Columbus way” of public and private sector cooperation on major undertakings.
The public/private Columbus Downtown Development Corp., which has overseen such projects as the Columbus Commons park and the rehab of the Lazarus building, is heading the project. Demonstrating how the public and private sectors in the city have continually worked together for the betterment of Columbus, Guy Worley, president of the CDDC, announced that the transformation of the Vets site would be given a huge kickstart with a $25 million gift from Limited Brands founder Leslie H. Wexner and his wife, Abigail.
As a buzz has built ahead of the project’s announcement, concerns that a new facility would properly honor Ohio’s veterans have been raised. Such worry should be put to rest by plans showing a stunning new memorial and a veterans museum; the presence of one of Ohio’s most prominent veterans — combat pilot, astronaut and former Sen. John Glenn — at the unveiling also should put Ohioans at ease that these plans will be an attractive and appropriate commemoration of those who have served.
Uniting great organizations like the zoo and COSI with a tribute to Ohio’s proud military history is a winning combination that will make for a signature destination for residents and visitors. http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/edito...
Meanwhile, Upper Arlington is the best and safest community in Central Ohio, over any other suburbs and cities! http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/edito...