Riverfront project contracts extended after delays

A downtown riverfront improvement project is still moving forward under contract changes approved by Columbus Redevelopment Commission this week.

The city is adding money and new responsibilities to the contracts for Hitchcock Design Group and Core Planning Strategies, after approvals and demands from the Indiana Department of Natural Resources have taken longer than expected.

The riverfront project would remove the low-head dam on East Fork White River between the downtown bridges, connect the People Trail along the river, and provide in-river recreation such as kayaking and canoeing. While DNR has given a permit for the project, there are still approvals needed from the Indiana Department of Environmental Management and Army Corps of Engineers.

City Council members Tom Dell and Elaine Hilber asked whether there is any guarantee that all the agencies will eventually allow this project to be approved. Hilber called the approvals a moving target. Both consultants said they had a good feeling the project can move forward.

Core would see an additional flat fee of $161,000 plus expenses for its work as project manager, while Hitchcock would receive just over $115,000 more plus expenses for the additional work.

The redevelopment commission approved the contract changes.

Riverfront design illustration courtesy of Hitchcock Design Group.