Dublin, Ohio Builds A Pedestrian Bridge Between Old And New

April 21, 2020

Article courtesy of Forbes, linked here.

In March, Dublin, Ohio connected a new multi-use district to the historic center of the city with a new 760-foot long “S” curve pedestrian bridge, designed by Endrestudio. Construction of the cable-stayed bridge, called the Dublin Link, also created access to the Scioto River and to a new outdoor park to be developed on the river’s east side. Kokosing Construction, headquartered in Westerville, Ohio, contracted with the City in early 2017 with a cost of $22,603,889 for construction. Materials were acquired from all over the world, including Florida, Italy and Germany.

“We are proud of our park system and public art program,” says Colleen Gilger, the Economic Development Director for the City of Dublin. “The new bridge is a piece of art.”

Dublin, an affluent suburb of Columbus, is home to two Fortune 500 companies, Wendy’s and Cardinal Health. Most of the community’s growth occurred during the 1980s and 90s, when people attracted to its family-friendly character moved here and grew it into a small city of 50,000. On weekdays, the population swells to 75,000 as employees come to work in Dublin’s many offices.

“In recent years, the question has been: how do we keep employers in Dublin?” asks Brent Crawford, principal and founder of Crawford Hoying, an area real estate development firm. “Today, a lot of people want an urban lifestyle. They want to live near where they work, and they want a walkable neighborhood. They want restaurants and entertainment venues mixed in with offices and residences, and to not live a life totally dependent on cars.”

To this end, Crawford Hoying purchased a defunct golf course and driving range where the city had changed the zoning to encourage this kind of use. The new $600 million development constructed on the site includes offices, restaurants, retail shops, apartments, condominiums and hotels, all wrapped around covered parking. Bridge Park, as the new multi-use district is called, took off right away.

“The first adopters were the office users,” says Gilger. “They were followed by residential renters and owners. Retail followed that.”

“The momentum took off, and it feeds on itself,” Crawford says. “Dublin was not a restaurant town, but now we have a steak house, a diner, quick food for worker’s lunches and a farmer’s market that attracts 5,000 people on Saturdays.

“There is a bowling alley, a video arcade, and we are working on a live music venue.”

“It was a big risk to establish a business district in a suburb,” Gilger says. “But the office space is filling up faster than we can build it.”

She and Crawford agree that a large part of what makes Bridge Park so attractive to retirees and millennials is the new pedestrian bridge that connects Bridge Park to Dublin’s historic downtown.

“The bridge is the critical piece that makes it all work,” says Crawford.

“It’s a three minute walk across the bridge,” Gilger explains. “In order to build it, we relocated a road, and that created access to the water. With a new waterfront park, the community will be able to use the river for recreation in ways that were not available before.

“On the historic side of the bridge is a new public library,” she says. “Now, all of downtown, including Bridge Park, is a place where people want to go.”

A grand opening of the bridge, scheduled for March 13, was canceled when Corona virus concerns put an end to large gatherings.

“We opened the bridge very quietly on March 17,” says Sue Burness, Communications Director for the City. “Since then, it has brought happiness to the community and has been a positive addition to Dublin and the Columbus Region as people are using it to walk both sides of the Scioto River. The City of Dublin has large signs posted to remind people to practice social distancing, and the city’s police department is monitoring to remind people as well.”

She says that, amid today’s social distancing guidelines, the ambitious project is proving popular with the Dublin population.

“Scale matters. To make it successful, go big or go home. This was hugely ambitious, and it’s bringing positive change to Dublin.”