By all accounts, Columbus Commons first year of existence in downtown Columbus, Ohio has been quite a success. The 9 acre green space, on the site of the old Columbus City Center Mall, boasts a cafe, outdoor reading room, a carousel, several gardens and a stage. From fitness classes to movie nights, to the wildly popular Family Fundays, the Commons have added a much needed and appreciated dimension to Downtown life in a City that continues to strive to develop a more viable downtown living model. Plus: Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams review
In 2009 and 2010, when the City Center building was being demolished, many skeptical residents in Columbus were concerned and a bit disturbed by the demolition of such a young structure (City Center was only 20 years old) and the prospect of a park, of all things, being plopped into the middle of the space it once occupied. There was the thought that the building could still be salvaged and used for some other purpose, now that the mall itself was no longer the premier option in the city, or a second or third option for that matter. City Center met it's end shortly after The Mall at Tuttle Crossing (1997), Easton Town Center (1999) and Polaris Fashion Place (2001) became the premier shopping destinations in Columbus, leaving City Center, once the crown jewel of shopping in the City, a mere afterthought. When plans for a new park downtown were announced, some thought it may just end up being a waste of space and money. A year after it's opening, all questions about its worth and viability have been answered. The Commons is a hit.
Food + Activities
The Cafe, also known as Burgers, Dogs and Fries, provides just that and more to hungry visitors. From classic cheesburgers, to turkey or veggie burgers, to chicken club sandwiches, taco salads and fries, there's something here to happily munch. And yes, there are several different kinds of hot dogs, fries and shakes. American food at it's best. The outdoor reading room on the south side of the park has plenty of seating and hundreds of books for adults and children to enjoy, as well as wi-fi access for those who siimply wish to hop online. For $1 per ride, kid of all ages are welcome to take a ride on the carousel. Each chararter on the carousel was hand carved by Ohio artists and the top of the carousel boasts pictures of many famous Columbus landmarks. Easton Eats and Treats
Several gardens created by the Franklin Park Conservatory add to the appeal of the already beautiful space and boast a mixture of several different kinds of flowers and plant life, year round. The Columbus Bicentennial Pavillion will be known as Columbus Commons main attraction and will be the focal point of the park for years to come. It's 40' y 60' stage and fabric canopy provides a large and versatile space for concerts and other live entertainment. Plus: North Market review.
More to come
As Columbus Commons begins its second full year of operation, it continues to show it's value to the development of a more family friendly downtown. It hasn't taken long to develop a strong following and new traditions for people of all ages and backgrounds to enjoy all year round. Whether you want to learn about more events at Columbus Commons, or would like to host your own event, be sure to visit ColumbusCommons.org. Plus: Moshi restaurant review.