Construction begins on 1821 Trail, the city’s bicentennial project

Construction of the 1821 Bicentennial Trail is underway in downtown Columbus.

Redevelopment Director Heather Pope said that demolition began two weeks ago with saw cutting and landscape removal, and the “trail demo portion” was completed Tuesday. Other project work, such as locating underground utilities, took place prior to those steps. Officials hope to see the trail project completed by November.

“The contract states August, however, August is not the best time to plant landscaping,” said Pope. “Therefore, we’ll plant the landscaping when recommended by the landscaping company, providing the landscaping in the fall so the plantings have a better survivability rate.”

The completion date is subject to all supplies being delivered on time. Pope previously said in mid-March that the project had seen some delay due to material back orders. There are still some issues, but these are “minimal,” she said.

The project is going as well as can be expected given the supply chain impacts and weather, said Pope.

“The contractor will work to complete the City Hall block first so that it will be substantially completed by the Farmer’s Market,” she added. “… It will be safe for the public to walk around during the market.”

The Columbus Farmers Market begins its season on May 7.

The city has sold more than 350 engraved bricks for the 1821 Trail and will continue taking orders until around the first of June. It’s estimated that the brick installer will be ready to begin laying bricks after July 4, weather permitting.

As of January, Pope estimated the total project cost at a little more than $1.94 million. Funding sources include Columbus Redevelopment, the Parks Foundation, donors such as Duke Energy and Kenny Glass, and the brick campaign. Columbus City Utilities will cover the cost of utility repair on the project, possibly through American Rescue Plan funds.

The city engaged Dave O’Mara Contractors for trail construction and water main replacement in December. According to city officials, the company’s approximately $1.7 million bid also included components such as historical markers.

A groundbreaking ceremony was held in late December of 2021 at First and Jackson streets shortly after the Columbus Board of Works approved the bid award.