COLUMBUS, Ga. — New plans could be in the works for some prime real estate in Columbus. The Civic Center, Golden Park, the Softball Complex, and the Civil War Naval Museum are all part of the South Commons area. The Friends of South Commons believe 25 years is long enough. The area next to Victory Drive deserves a facelift in their opinion.
Tuesday, they presented various plans for city council to consider. Some of those plans include a dog park, softball field expansion, and even an amphitheater.
“Columbus has changed since 1993,” Hecht Burdeshaw’s Neil Clark told News 3. “We are much more of a tourist-oriented city and we have people coming here that like to do outdoor experiential things like biking and kayaking and being on the Riverwalk.”
Clark says the Fountain City has grown since the Olympics landed in Atlanta back in 1996. Clark and a group called the friends of South Commons hope to change the property with the same namesake to keep pace with changing times.
“My concern is the financial part,” City Councilor Mimi Woodson said. “Gary and I were talking here because we’re on a tight budget. And so while we like the concept, I’m a little worried about that.”
Clark and Viriginia Causey proposed a number of ideas to City Council. But funding a potential dog park, amphitheater and other amenities could prove costly.
“There’s a lot of property out there that I think the way it’s changing downtown and the city’s changing, developers would be interested in buying and developing,” Woodson said.
Causey believes the renovations will attract more people to the South end of the Riverwalk and ease congestion in Uptown.
“They’ll be even more away from traffic and people and pedestrians,” Causey said.
When asked how a Columbus amphitheater might affect the one across the river in Phenix City, the river came to Neil Clark’s mind.
“I think the competition is healthy,” Clark said. “I’ll use the river analogy, that a rising tide will lift all boats.”
While that tide is still a ways from the shore, Clark says preparations are already underway. The South Commons advocacy group won some money through the Knight’s Challenge to plan some portions of the area. As for the other potential renovations…
“None of that is funded right now,” Clark said. “I think as time progresses, and the city sees which projects may be meaningful to them, then they can make decisions on how to fund those into reality.”