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Editorial: Makeover of Fourth Street starts to pay dividends

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Columbus’ investment in the Fourth Street plaza, part of the city’s arts and entertainment district, is paying dividends as more events are being added for the public’s enjoyment.

Recently, bar and grill owners Steve Leach (The Garage) and Kurt Schwarze (4th Street) organized a first-time barbecue festival, called BBQ, Blues & Brew. The June 28 event featured eight local pit masters and restaurants selling food — complemented by live music and the availability of locally made beers.

Leach and Schwarze described the barbecue bash as a step toward creating more landmark events and outdoor festivals downtown.

On a smaller scale, Bistro 310 earlier hosted a three-hour block party and concert.

The entertainment district is hopping with new activity this summer, and it’s likely to become more festive.

Leach and Schwarze have started a production company called Fun on 4th, promising many more events on the new Fourth Street plaza.

This type of activity on the plaza is exactly what city leaders hoped for with a $1.7 million makeover project that raised the streets and for big events closes the gates to motor vehicle traffic on Fourth Street between Jackson and Franklin streets.

The project, which started Sept. 4, 2012, and finished in early April 2013, was intended to be pedestrian friendly and draw people downtown. The makeover featured brick paving, benches, greenery, street lighting, a narrowing of the street to a single lane and eliminating curbs to trip pedestrians or impede wheelchairs.

The plaza is becoming the type of community asset that enhances the quality of life for residents and guests. Adding more events will ensure that.

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