COLUMBUS, Ohio — The city unveiled its newest downtown park on Thursday evening.
The Scioto Mile, a $44 million development that runs along the banks of the Scioto River acrossfrom COSI, is expected to be a draw for families and people who live downtown.
“They have dogs and they want to play Frisbee and they want to have recreational opportunitiesjust like the people in the suburbs,” said Amy Taylor with the Columbus Downtown DevelopingCorp.
The park, which took three years to complete, offers 1,000 jets of water for children to playin, along with an amphitheater and several places to sit.
SLIDESHOW: Images Of Park
The Scioto Mile also features a restaurant, Milestone 229, which is named after its address onCivic Center Drive. The restaurant was built to provide its customers with great views oftheir surroundings.
“Eighty percent of the restaurant is windows,” said Kevin Jones, Milestone 229′s generalmanager. “You get a great view up the river, downtown, and you have the fountains on theother side as well.”
Taylor said Milestone 229 should be enticing for couples as well as families.
“One thing that was really important to us is that it be reasonably priced, so that you can comedown here, and enjoy the park, and not break the bank,” Taylor said.
In addition to providing entertainment, Mayor Michael Coleman said he hopes the park with helpset the record straight about Columbus.
“People call Columbus a cow town, and it irritates me so much because we’re not,” he said. ”But any doubters out there, Columbus goes from a cow town to a cool town because of this.”
Coleman sees the riverfront development as a catalyst for jobs, housing and bait to enticebusiness executives to relocate their companies to the city.
“It’s not just the tax breaks you give them, it’s about what happens when they get here,”Coleman said. “Are they able to enjoy the city? Is it a high quality of life? Is it acity my employees want to be in? It’s things like this that are tipping points for business torelocate in the city of Columbus.”
While construction on the park began a few years ago, the actual idea was hatched more than acentury ago. In 1908, a study recommended that the city improve its waterfront. However, itwould take years for the process to begin.
Mike Curtin, Publisher Emeritis of the Columbus Dispatch, covered City Hall for the newspaperduring the 1970s. Even then, Curtin said, transforming the area was a goal of some cityleaders.
“Mayor (Tom) Moody, during his second term would gather up reporters and put them in a canoe andgive them a canoe ride up to the confluence of the Olentangy River, and he would say, ‘Look at thispotential ,’” Curtin said.
Under Moody’s direction and vision, Bicentennial Park was built and dedicated on July 4,1976. Thirty years later, Coleman picked up the torch and pushed to extend the green space,and further enhance the experience for visitors.
“The Scioto Mile actually began in 2007, when we announced the project and began the fundraisingcampaign,” Taylor said. “A $44 million public-private partnership and it was unprecedented for thepublic sector and the private sector to partner 50-50 to produce this park.”
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July 6, 2011: Downtown’s Scioto Mile Opens Thursday April 23, 2010: Developers Hope To Add Cafe To Scioto Mile
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