Columbus addressing DNR concerns over riverfront plan

Columbus city officials are responding to requests for changes in the plans for the proposed downtown riverfront project, those coming from the Indiana Department of Natural Resources.

Heather Pope, director of the city redevelopment department, said that the city has until March 18th to respond to the questions and concerns of DNR.

The city and its consultants are working on an $8 million dollar riverfront plan that would improve public access and usability, remove the low-head dam in the river, and connect the People Trail through the area between the downtown bridges.

Pope said that DNR seemed to have different concerns about various aspects of the project.

Pope said that DNR is strongly in favor of removing the dangerous and failing dam, and somewhat in favor of plans to connect the People Trail. But the state agency also appears concerned about any plan to install new structures in the river itself. However, without those in-river structures, the river levels would fall.

Plus the water levels in Mill Race Park would fall endangering the round lake and boat dock area.

Pope said that the city has until March 18th to respond to this round of questions and concerns from DNR. The city has been anticipating permit approval from DNR by April. Contract bidding on the project is expected by June.

Pope updated the Redevelopment Commission at its meeting yesterday.