New Linear Park and Trail Planned for East Side
Columbus Recreation and Parks is moving ahead with plans to convert a long-abandoned rail corridor into a linear park and trail.
To be called the Eastmoor Green Line, the trail will run along Whitehall’s western edge, starting at East Broad Street and extending three miles to the south, where it will dead-end at I-70.
Brad Westall, Greenways Planner for the Recreation and Parks Department, said that the city is in the process of acquiring the former rail right-of-way and will likely have control of the land by this summer. Last used as an active railway in the 1980s, the tracks were pulled up years ago.
“It’s just laying there derelict, it has no function,” he says. “What we will do, once we own this site, we’ll begin to restore it with native plantings, meadow plantings and pollinator gardens.”
The next step is to build the trail itself and to develop a series of small parks along the route – at an average of 80 feet in width and totaling 17.5 acres, there will be enough space to accommodate more than just a shared use path. The department is in the process of planning that stage of the project now.
“These linear parks form a way to not only walk and bike and have that activity that a trail provides, they also provide places for us – Recreation and Parks – to develop small-scale amenities,” Westall says. “Small play-scapes, gathering areas, a little shelter for families…this runs right through the heart of a neighborhood.”
The new trail will cross East Main Street and East Livingston Avenue and will be within walking distance of several existing parks. A 14-acre, mostly wooded parcel of land that also sits along the route is being eyed as a potential nature preserve.
Westall said that he is also excited about the prospect of the green line connecting up to one of the enhanced transit corridors currently being planned as part of the LinkUs initiative. The first stakeholder meetings have started for the East-West corridor, which will run along either East Main Street or East Broad Street and could feature a new Bus Rapid Transit line. The city has promised that all of the new corridors will be designed to accommodate and encourage biking and walking as well.