State Street suggestion impressive; much to do

The latest plans for the State Street Corridor upgrade from consultants United Consulting and Brown Day Mullins Dierdorf architects have a wow factor about them, with features, color and design components that tie in with other parts of the city.

The State Street Corridor Implementation Committee and the Columbus Redevelopment Commission agreed on going for the $5.7 million enhanced version versus the basic $3.3 million option.

Some of the impressive elements are:

A new side path on the north side of Third and State streets for pedestrians and cyclists, and making Haw Creek bridge more pedestrian friendly.

Brick pavers incorporated into the path to tie into the city’s downtown streetscape.

An industrial arts style with lighting and red gateway sculptures lining the Haw Creek bridge in homage to the Robert N. Stewart Bridge at the city’s western entrance.

Two pocket parks for green space.

A red ribbon sculpture meandering along the State Street side path.

About $5 million is available from Central TIF District funds, but private partners are also being sought. That’s because other projects also will be vying for funding for infrastructure improvements, including the Mill Race Amphitheater and former Walesboro airport development site.

The project will be one of many priorities for the new mayoral administration that starts Jan. 1, although the final funding decision will come from the city council.

What’s important is that incoming-Mayor Jim Lienhoop and the council take a big-picture look at each of these important projects and reach a consensus on how to proceed. The review process could possibly require a different timeline than the estimated 2017 start time for the State Street Corridor. Getting it done right is more important than getting it done quickly.

Improvements along State Street have been long awaited, and the proposals in hand would go a long way toward making that stretch nicer and more user friendly. But turning the proposed improvements into reality will require strong planning considering the other important projects that need attention and funding.

Columbus is poised to reap great benefits from the State Street, amphitheater and Walesboro projects; but a lot of work remains.