For east side Columbus residents, 2017 will start on the right foot. That’s because the $2.1 million first phase of the State Street Revitalization Project is delivering long-awaited progress.

Work began in November on the Haw Creek Bridge as part of the plan to making improvements along State Street, connecting downtown Columbus to the east side of the city. Notably, a 10-foot walk path is being built on the north side of the bridge. Work began Nov. 4 and is expected to continue into the early part of 2017.

City officials modified the State Street project this summer to include a corridor from the downtown Columbus riverfront area to the east side. Doing so will link an urban trail from Mill Race Park along Fifth Street all the way to the city’s east side. The trail on Fifth Street will pass architectural landmarks, head south along California Street to Third Street, connect with State Street and follow that route east to Mapleton Street.

The entire project’s goal is to revitalize the east side by creating a more vibrant retail district and making quality-of -ife improvements along State Street.

Evidence of progress is important for those who doubted any would ever be made.

There’s still a lot of work remaining, but this first step cements a promise to residents and shop owners on the east side of Columbus that was decades of discussion before officially starting more than two years ago as part of the city’s comprehensive plan.

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