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Downtown Revitalization Trend In America
The Scioto Mile Of Parks Keeps Growing
Just in time for Memorail Day Weekend 2011, the City of Columbus opened a large new landscaped green space in the center of its Downtown Business District. It increased in size and experienced vast re-landscapeing in 2012, as well as adding a sound stage.
Just a block east of the Scioto River and the line of parks that comprises the Scioto Mile, this commons area is a welcome addition to the cityscape. Attractive and inviting, it takes the place of the old City Center Mall that suffered business declines over a period of two decades and became a high crime area. Today the land is green and growing with a dozen small gardens, many trees, and weekly activities for families and singles.
The new Columbus Commons is about half a block or more long on each side of its square, with its own underground parking garage and on-street parking on the south side. Parking on other city streets nearby is free on Sundays and recognized Holidays. In the next block south of the Ohio State House at Broad and High Streets, the commons area provides a convenient destination for walkers before and after work and at lunchtime.
With four permanent concessions stands of block glass and stainless steel, it is also a great place for lunch and snacks and sure to give our Downtown Street Vendors some competition. This especially true of the commons, because of its bench seating and table umbrella shaded areas for gathering. During weekdays, the Columbus Metropolitan Library brings several carts of books for all ages and seating for an Outdoor Reading Area when weather is amenable. This is an excellent addition to the commons area, where children gather to play while parents watch. They can spend an afternoon alternating between exercise and reading.
Just a block to the south of the commons area is the Justice Complex of county and city courts and related government and law offices. The Commons is a good place to take a break from legal efforts as well. Senior living complexes are also close at hand, allowing seniors to exercise and rest in the commons, to watch children play, to meet new people, and to enjoy the gardens.
Two blocks further south along South High Street, visitors can find the informal entrance to Historic German Village. To the right a block is a huge Kroger Marketplace thsat offers weekly activites like wine tastings and cooking demonstrations. To the left two blocks is Third Street, full of offices, shops, cafes, historical cathedrals, and The Book Loft with nearly 40 rooms of books, gifts, and other items. The store is open until 11:00 PM nightly and plays different music in most of its display rooms. and, a nice coffee shop is right next door.
To the north of the Commons and the Ohio State House are two blocks of shops, offices, federal buildings, and the Nationwide Insurance Enterprise headquarters. At the intersection of North High Street and Nationwide Blvd. is the Columbus Downtown Hyatt Regency Hotel and the Columbus Convention Center, both the scene of many exciting conferences like the MARCON science fiction convention held every Memorial Day Weekend. The Columbus Commons makes a good place to visit during free time from the intense activities of MARCON.
A New Carousel
A major feature of the Columbus Commons is a new carousel that costs $1.00/ride. Children and adults can both ride the carousel. The animals, including fish, raise and lower as in traditional carousels and the ride is well supervised during hours of operation. For city dwellers that miss the open spaces of a more rural dwelling place, the carousel, concessions stands, and gardens can bring back memories of the county fair or the Columbus Zoo up on Riverside Drive in Powell OH.
In addition to the carousel, Ping Pong and other games are set up in the Commons at regular time intervals, musical productions are offered, and dancing and dramatics are scheduled regularly. Around the perimeter of the park, private investors are bringing in additional businesses that will draw more visitors and offer more goods and services that these visitors want, including dining. Visit the link below for additional information and a Blog of updates, photos, and videos.
When you move around in the Google Map located below, you can see the numerous parks, institutions, and tourists sights located near the Columbus Commons. Under the administration of Mayor Michael Coleman, the Downtown District and Near East Side especially have undergone revitalization and transformation. Old buildings and abandoned homes have come down and mixed-use buildings, new homes, and green open spaces have taken their places. In fact, the Downtown Business District is on its way to becoming a garden area, considering its increasing numbers of parks and green spaces. It grows more attractive every month and The Capitol Hyatt Hotel is already on the northeast corner of the park, close to the Ohio Theater.
Visit this part of town if you ever come to Columbus, Ohio!
Columbus Commons, Columbus OH
The Columbus Commons Official Link
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