Columbus riverfront plan comes with $14 million price tag

A plan to improve East Fork White River through downtown Columbus comes with a just over $14 million price tag, with more than $2.4 million already raised through grants and donations.

On Monday, the Columbus Redevelopment Commission will be asked to approve funding of the remaining $11.6 million for the project. City officials were updated on the proposal costs and benefits this week.

The project would involve removing the low-head dam between the Second and Third street bridges, shoring up the riverbanks and other improvements. The city would also make the final connection of the People Trail making a complete loop around the city.

The dam itself is failing and water is scouring away at an old city dump site in the area. The plans call for $3.2 million for the general project and contingencies, $4.2 million for the east bank, $435 thousand for the west bank and $3.9 million for in-river improvements. Another $1.9 million would go to mitigation efforts and monitoring and a possible $245 thousand for other improvements.

A special joint meeting of the Columbus City Council and the city’s redevelopment commission met on Tuesday for an update on the status of the downtown riverfront development project, as well as analysis of its costs and benefits.

The costs and benefits analysis by James Lima Planning concluded that the improvements could provide up to $2 million in economic output for local businesses. That would generate between 9 and 32 jobs and bring in between $47 and $164 thousand in local and state tax revenue.

The redevelopment commission meets at 4 p.m. Monday afternoon in Columbus City Hall.

Photo: East Fork White River dam photo courtesy of