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Re-Attaching Historic Neighborhoods to Downtown Columbus

What freeways divided in Columbus, freeway caps are attempting to heal — and leaders hope the next few caps will continue positive momentum in revitalizing Downtown. I-71 and I-70 severed Columbus’ Brewery District and German Village from the heart of downtown in the early 1960s. Now, just as Downtown Columbus’ South Side experiences a reawakening, a massive project is underway to reconnect two of the area’s most historic neighborhoods — German Village and the Brewery District — to the heart of the city. The city has done it successfully before. Years ago, I-670 bulldozed a 200-foot-wide corridor through the city’s historic core, separating the Short North and Downtown. In 2004, the “Cap at Union Station” effectively reconnected the Short North back to Downtown with wide sidewalks and restaurants built over the highway below, setting the stage for the neighborhood’s spectacular revitalization. Next up: German Village and the Brewery District will be rejoined to downtown by three new freeway caps, one each on Third, Fourth, and High Streets. The High Street cap will feature park space on either side of the roadway, with the Third Street cap wide enough to accommodate retail spaces and restaurants like its Short North cousin. It could be the cherry on top of massive investments in recent years to bring the Brewery District back to its former glory — and even more recent efforts to bring Downtown’s south edge back to life with everything from a new county office to renovated commercial and residential spaces to popular restaurants and cafes. Join us as we explore Columbus’s massive – not to mention risky and expensive – efforts to rejoin and reconnect its historic neighborhoods together again.

Featuring, Bhakti Bania, CEO, BBCO Design, Chris Hermann, Principal, MKSK, Thomas Slack, Administrator, Capital Programs, Ohio Department of Transportation, Benjamin Perryman, Endangered Properties Fund Director, Columbus Landmarks Foundation, and Chris Hune, Immediate Past President, German Village Society, with host, Mark Ferenchik, Columbus neighborhoods/urban issues reporter, The Columbus Dispatch.