A rendering of the finished Scioto Greenways. Image by CDDC and Capitol South Development

A rendering of the finished Scioto Greenways. Image by CDDC and Capitol South Development

On Nov. 19, the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission (MORPC) celebrated the opening of the new Scioto Greenways. The project is a 13-ha (33-ac) parkland with 2.4 km (1.5 mi) of multi-use trails.

The project cost $36 million and involved removing the Main Street dam, planting 800 trees, and creating up to 350 jobs. MORPC provided nearly $6 million on the 2-year project and partnered with various groups including the City of Columbus, the Ohio Department of Transportation, the Columbus Recreation and Parks Department, and Franklin County Metro Parks.

Residents will benefit from the completed project. The greenways connect to the Scioto Mile and will link to the 531-km (330-mi) Ohio to Erie Trail. Visitors now have easy access to the river, various trails, and diverse neighborhoods. Additionally, the greenways connect Franklinton to downtown Columbus, enhancing further economic development opportunities.

“Scioto Greenways is a regional legacy project that not only shows bold leadership and a strong collaborative effort, but also serves as the heart of our regional greenways network,” said MORPC Executive Director William Murdock, who attended the opening ceremony. “It transforms and restores the Scioto River and offers a unique experience for our residents with new walking trails, access to nature, and connections to the many attractions that Central Ohio has to offer.”

In late October, MORPC also announced the completion of a constructed stormwater treatment wetland in Crawford Farms Park. The wetland is designed to hold stormwater flows and reduce pollution to Central Ohio waterways. The wetland was constructed by the Franklin Soil and Water Conservation District in partnership with the City of Columbus Department of Public Utilities and Columbus Recreation and Parks Department.

SIDEBAR: Sustaining Scioto

Earlier this year, MORPC and others released Sustaining Scioto. This 4-year proactive, science-based study will help to ensure the Central Ohio region can sustain clean and secure water in the face of increasing water demands and a changing climate.

MORPC, together with the U.S. Geological Survey, the City of Columbus, Del-Co Water Company Inc., Brown and Caldwell, and the Ohio Water Development Authority, partnered in 2011 to identify climate change risks to the region’s water resources. The results of the study are guiding adaptive strategies for managing water quality and quantity during extreme drought or floods.