Scioto Greenways Columbus, Ohio
Urban Park Design
2017 International Downtown Association Pinnacle Award for Public Space
2016 American Planning Association National Planning Excellence Award for Implementation
2016 International Downtown Association Merit Award for Planning
2016 Ohio Chapter ASLA Award of Excellence
2016 Harrison W. Smith Award by the Columbus Downtown Commission
Returning a river to its natural channel creates 33 new acres of downtown park space.
In 2010, the City of Columbus revisited riverfront planning with the Downtown Columbus Strategic Plan. During the planning process, it became clear that the community wanted more than parks. They envisioned a free flowing, naturalized river that would allow for reengagement with the Scioto River. The resulting Scioto Greenways project was the most popular idea in the 2010 Plan.
MKSK developed the master plan for the Scioto Greenways. In 2013, removing the Main Street Dam narrowed and restored the river's natural flow and improved the ecological systems and river habitat. Following the removal of the dam and the lower water level and narrower river channel, the Scioto Greenways implementation added 33 acres of new greenspace to the Downtown Riverfront, 1.5 miles of additional multi-use paths and bikeway connectors, and new launch points for recreational river access for canoeing and kayaking.
The Scioto Greenways project opened in November 2015, linking the local and regional trail system and the established riverfront park system (Genoa Park, North Bank Park, Scioto Audubon Metro Park, Scioto Mile and Bicentennial Park), while connecting the entire downtown Columbus riverfront from The Ohio State University to the north, to Scioto Audubon Metro Park to the south.
The $35.5 million Scioto Greenways project is the result of a tremendous public-private partnership between the Columbus Downtown Development Corporation, the City of Columbus and numerous local, state, and federal partner agencies and organizations. The greenways project is a transformational moment in the city's history, beautifying the heart of Columbus and providing residents with new park space, recreational opportunities, and a restored riverfront.