Seeking inspired recreation, Columbus residents and visitors are reconnecting to the downtown. From the Scioto Mile to the Mile on High, urban redevelopment is in demand.
While critics believe there is no reason to go downtown, a culturally diverse audience arrived by foot (from as far as Franklinton), bike, and even classic car to check out the Scioto Mile.
The downtown swelled with excitement, as families and friends gathered to stroll the promenade, discover the fountains, and enjoy updated amenities. Participation in the riverfront rediscovery demonstrated the community’s willingness to abandon the shopping malls for a day in exchange for a unique urban experience.
Subject to regional attention, this well designed environment has capacity to spatially influence surrounding urban vitality and future city planning through its attraction and movement of people in physical form and programming.
Welcoming existing and new users to the area, the Scioto Mile is altruistically increasing civic engagement, strengthening neighborhood ties to the downtown, and encouraging economic development and reinvestment in areas like the Mile On High.
Observing local context, the energy created and dispersed by the Scioto Mile revealed previously unforeseen potentials in adjacent spaces. For example, a typically underutilized pocket park near the Supreme Court of Ohio was filled with children and parents dining on meals brought from home and KFC (well over a mile away). Perhaps this suggests a desire for family friendly dining in the downtown.
Attracting a hungry audience, the Scioto Mile should serve as a catalyst for proximate activities, especially in the River South District, known as a critical sub-component to the Mile on High initiative (focused on retail redevelopment). River South is interpreted as the areas encompassed by Ludlow, Chapel Alley, Third, and Mound Street while the Mile on High is defined by the boundaries of Front, Spring, Fourth, and Mound Streets.
Recent market studies presented by Capital Crossroads have indicated spending potential in River South equates to eighty million dollars per year. With an influx of visitors, current residents, and day time employees merchandizing potentials include conveniences, as well as, dining and entertainment options for more than three hundred thousand area users per day.
Within the district, east-west corridors such as Rich Street were made active for the day by pedestrians accessing parking garages and bus stops. There is certainly a missed opportunity with the empty storefronts along this stretch considering the synergy between the Mile and Columbus Commons. A chance to engage green space goers and expand reach further north and east to Columbus’ college campuses is promising.
Current studies, similar to Wall Street, are underway for the block bordered by Rich, Pearl, Cherry, and High Street. The focus visualizes possibilities for independent retailers to develop. Goods and services here should may be concentrated to serve local employees, residents, and the largely underserved millennial population (as connected to CCAD).
Successful designs, such as the Scioto Mile, influence community dialogue by examining lifestyles and recognizing community values. Most importantly, new designs whether built or on paper initiate conversation amongst emerging markets and stakeholders. Through this design discourse lives the physical manifestation of culture representing contemporary social attitudes. The patterns and choices reflected channel new excitement and inform planning and policy-making to meet the ever changing appetite of the community.