A long-discussed riverfront project in Columbus is moving ahead. The Columbus City Council voted Wednesday night to approve almost $500,000 in engineering studies.
The city’s redevelopment commission collaborated with Hitchcock Design group, and presented a concept plan for the riverfront in January. The development would be located on about nineteen acres along the east fork of the White River.
The studies approved Wednesday night would address the project’s impact on current water flows. The redevelopment commission was not required to go to the city council to have the studies approved because they cost less than $500,000.
Columbus City Council member Tim Shuffett says it was about transparency, since the project has a total estimated price tag of over $8 million.
Shuffett says funding for the redevelopment could come from a combination of federal dollars and public-private partnerships. He says there’s been a good amount of interest over the years to tackle the property and make it more of an attraction for Columbus.
“We have been looking at our riverfront for probably four or five of the last administrations,” Shuffett says. “How do we make it more pleasing, how do we bring people down to the river?”
Shuffett says there are no firm deadlines for the next steps in the process. But once the engineering studies are complete, the city can begin the permitting process for the project.
Redevelopment of the property would include the removal of a low head dam, the connection of several trails and the addition of other amenities to bring people down to the river.