Makeover Planned for Parsons Avenue in Olde Towne East
The small stretch of Parsons Avenue that runs along the western edge of Olde Towne East has always been a hotspot of activity for the neighborhood. Home to numerous restaurants, bars, shops and businesses, Parsons Avenue is the default place to go for an art gallery exhibition, a haircut, or a cup of coffee.
The City of Columbus has plans to further enhance the area with a new program that will upgrade the infrastructure, the environment and update it with a public art component as well.
“The Parsons Avenue Streetscape project is a City of Columbus capital infrastructure project with significant economic development considerations for the Near East area and Olde Towne East neighborhood,” explains Cristina Parady, Project Manager and Utility Coordinator for the Columbus Division of Design & Construction. “It offered a perfect opportunity for the Development Department to partner with the Department of Public Service on a public art project under the new city public art program.”
A public meeting is being held this evening at the Columbus Public Health Auditorium at 240 Parsons Avenue from 6pm to 8pm to introduce Olga Ziemska, the Cleveland-based artist who selected for the project through a statewide call for submissions. Attendees will be able to learn about her work and share their thoughts with her about how artwork should be best integrated into the neighborhood.
“Because the public art component was identified early in the project’s development, the city has the opportunity to engage the artist with the design team and community at the very beginning of design development, which offers many more possibilities for the public art that’s created,” said Parady. “In this project, the art could be physically integrated into the streetscape, a discrete public art installation, a series of installations, or any combination thereof.”
The art component in this streetscape program stems from an Executive Order from Mayor Michael Coleman signed earlier this year that established the inclusion of public art in all significant capital improvement projects. This stretch of Parsons between Broad Street and Franklin Avenue will connect at the south end with a future phase of ODOT’s I-70/I-71 redevelopment, which will see the realignment of Parsons to connect to a new highway feeder street located closer to the highway trench.
The project is expected to officially begin in mid-2015 with the burying of utilities, followed by roadway reconstruction in the Summer of 2016 and a planned completion of the public art component in the Spring of 2017.