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OSU’s West Campus Plans Inspire New Look at Olentangy Corridor Ideas

Brent Warren Brent Warren OSU’s West Campus Plans Inspire New Look at Olentangy Corridor IdeasA map showing existing and future recreation areas on either side of the Olentangy River. Images courtesy of OSU.
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The latest plans for a west campus “innovation district” have inspired planners at Ohio State University to take a new look at where recreation facilities are located and how they can better be aligned with the Olentangy River.

Now that much of Fred Beekman Park – the collection of recreation fields at the corner of Lane Avenue and Kenny Road – is on track to be replaced with several new research buildings, a reshuffling of amenities is necessary.

Some temporary fields will be built on the other side of Kenny Road (on a site once designated for housing), but other permanent recreation facilities are now planned closer to river.

“Both Framework Plans emphasize the river as the central spine running through campus,” said Keith Myers, OSU’s Vice President of Planning and Real Estate . “We decided to double down on that…to take advantage of what’s there (the existing fields off of Coffey Road and next to Lincoln Tower) and develop them as major recreation facilities.”

“Recreation now is more than just field sports,” Myers added. “It’s trails, biking, kayaking, ropes courses, all kinds of things…the corridor is perfect for all of that, and we’ll have fields too…so we’ll have a whole collection of recreation activities all within an easy walk of where students live.”

A map showing the proposed Coffey Park and Lincoln Park also shows St. John Arena and its surrounding parking lots being redeveloped with a new park and several academic buildings. Although such a scenario is possible eventually, Myers said that there are “no current plans to do anything on that site.”

The new ideas were presented by Myers to the Board of Trustees Master Planning and Facilities Committee on Thursday. Also included in the presentation was information on the ongoing Cannon Drive relocation project.

The new, realigned Cannon Drive is scheduled to open to traffic – between 12th Avenue and Herrick Drive – in June. Renderings show the new riverside parkland and development planned after the thee-phase project is completed.

While the Cannon Drive project concerns itself with a one-mile portion of the river corridor – between Lane Avenue and King Avenue – Myers is also interested in what happens further to the south.

In his presentation to the board he included a rendering of the larger corridor that was produced as part of a design charrette sponsored by OSU and the City of Columbus. Multiple teams presented concepts, including one that showed a trail network expanded to both sides of the river and a new, more direct connection to Franklinton.

“The drawing was just a reminder of the work done in 2017,” Myers said. “It’s an important potential corridor for the university, the city and the region.. it already exists, but it could be greatly enhanced.”

Additional Reading: First New Building, Larger Plan for OSU’s West Campus Unveiled

A conceptual plan developed by a team of planners and landscape architects in 2017.

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