Communities throughout the mid-west are embracing their rivers.  Once considered good locations for dumping waste, many of these waterways are being cleaned up and turned into wonderful outdoor spaces that not only improve safety and the environment but can also create unique amenities for the public.

In 2017, the City of Columbus decided to improve its riverfront along the East Fork of the White River. Safety and environmental concerns brought on by the existing low head dam, and the need for a safe pedestrian / bicycle route in that area of the City, garnered the public support necessary to move such a large undertaking forward.  The City selected Hitchcock Design Group to lead the master planning and design effort for the redevelopment of the riverfront.

During the master planning process, the design team held multiple public meetings, met with community stakeholders, and met with representatives from both State and Federal agencies.  The information gathered revealed many complex and interrelated problems that need to be solved in order for the project to be considered successful.

The Hitchcock team developed a design solution that addresses the problems and issues identified in the master plan which:

  • Removes the low head dam, eliminating a drowning hazard.
  • Restores fish passage, habitat, and sediment transportation, improving the ecology of the river.
  • Stabilizes the riverbanks, protecting the old city dump and an active sanitary sewer line.
  • Provides access to the river, allowing equitable use of the river by all.
  • Connects the ‘People Trail’, providing a safe route for pedestrians and bicyclists.
  • Restores the navigability within the river, allowing safe passage for watercraft.
  • Creates an in-river recreation opportunity (Kayak run), providing City residents an additional amenity and the city with an opportunity to recoup its investment through tourism.

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