This winter, the sidewalks surrounding Capitol Square will undergo a transformation as new planters and signage pops up along the streets that surround the Ohio Statehouse. The project is one of several new Downtown initiatives being launched by the team at the Capital Crossroads Special Improvement District.
“We’ve heard comments from Downtown property owners that they really wanted some landscaping on Capitol Square,” said Cleve Ricksecker, executive director of Capital Crossroads. ”A lot of people realize that it’s a really important space, but there’s been no attempt to do anything on the sidewalks opposite of the Statehouse that ties the square together.”
The poles anchored in the sidewalks that hold street signage will all be replaced by black posts with an emblematic design adorning the top. Approximately 70 planters planters of various heights will also be installed on the square in the same black color and design. The area targeted in this effort includes portions of High Street, Broad Street, State Street and Third Street.
Unlike the SID’s proposed facelift planned for Pearl Alley, the purpose of these streetscape improvements isn’t expressly designed to drive retail development in Downtown Columbus.
“The strategy here is one of purely beautifying Capitol Square and giving it a sense of place,” said Ricksecker. “But to that extent, if you make an elegant place, it’s probably going to attract interest from retailers.”
The Capitol Square improvements have already been approved by property owners and appropriate committees and commissions. Installation is planned to begin as soon as the weather permits in early spring 2013, with planting planned once the threat of frost has passed later in the spring.
“One of the things that separates our work from that of other organizations is that we will tend to do relatively modest projects Downtown,” added Ricksecker. “It’s these smaller scale things that create that element of surprise when you visit a city, and create a sense of fabric in a Downtown.”