Designers working on a project to improve Columbus’ downtown riverfront are considering whether undeveloped acreage along the western shore could be turned into a city park.

Hitchcock Design Group and other advisers are working with a design team regarding the west side of the East Fork White River between Second and Third streets downtown, Mayor Jim Lienhoop said.

The city-owned land, used as a municipal dump from 1938 to the late 1960s, was cleaned up with federal funding from the Superfund program.

“Do we want an active park, or a passive park?” Lienhoop said of the roughly 10-acre rectangular parcel that starts on the riverfront and continues to the State Road 46 interchange.

Some examples of active parks already in the city are Lincoln and Donner, which have playgrounds and restroom facilities, the mayor said.

A passive recreational area would be more along the lines of Noblitt Park, which is mainly greenspace, with a walking path and benches, but no restrooms or playground.

For more on this story, see Thursday’s Republic.

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Julie McClure is assistant managing editor of The Republic. She can be reached at or (812) 379-5631.