Construction begins next month on riverfront military memorial, children's fountain

chwilliams@ledger-enquirer.comNovember 26, 2013 

Construction will begin next week on two privately funded Columbus riverfront attractions, according to Uptown Columbus Inc.

A military service memorial and an interactive children’s fountain will be built at a cost of about $750,000 in Woodruff Park, just north of the Dillingham Street bridge.

“These are just two more pearls in our string of pearls along the river,” said Mat Swift, president of the W.C. Bradley Co. Real Estate Division.

The cost of the project is being funded by private contributions made to Uptown Inc., a nonprofit downtown development corporation, Swift said. The contributors wish to remain anonymous, he said. Both attractions will be constructed on property owned by Columbus State University.

Uptown Inc., which has entered into a lease with CSU, will be responsible for the construction, which is expected to be completed in the spring, Swift said.

The Military Service Walk will be located along a walkway that overlooks the Chattahoochee River near the Dillingham Street bridge. It will display correspondence between members of the armed forces and their loved ones on granite monuments and metal plaques, which are designed to be removable and updated, according to information provided by Uptown Inc.

Correspondences for the walk can still be submitted by sending an electronic copy to militaryservicewalk@columbusbankandtrust.com. Any Columbus Bank & Trust branch will make a copy of the original correspondence. The CSU Servant Leadership class has been working on the project. The memorial is expected to cost about $250,000, Swift said.

The military walk is an idea borrowed in part from a similar memorial in Columbus, Ind.

“Our Servant Leadership program has been deeply involved in the Service Walk, both in the collection from the soldiers and their families and the design and planning,” CSU President Tim Mescon said. “We feel strongly that it links directly to one of the core values of our university. The link to the military is critical and we are honored to have it on our campus and play a crucial role in the design and execution of this project.”

The interactive children’s fountain will have 32 water jets capable of shooting to heights ranging from 2 to 8 feet. The water spouts will be lit and can be programmed to music. It will cost about $500,000, Swift said.

The dancing fountains will be just across from the Columbus Whitewater Express store at Bay Avenue near 10th Street. The river outfitter runs rafting tours on the newly constructed Chattahoochee River whitewater course. The store is scheduled to open early next year.

Mescon pointed to the fountains as an attraction that will help bring the riverfront to life. He pointed to what a similar, but much larger feature at Centennial Park in downtown Atlanta has done.

“Fountains are a people magnet,” Mescon said. “... Water and the movement of water when it is connected to music and lights is powerful. We think it will be the exclamation point on Woodruff Park.”

Swift said the two features work nicely to connect downtown, the military and CSU.

“Both of these projects are collaboratives with other assets in our community,” Swift said. “The Service Walk will pay tribute to our soldiers and our partnership with Fort Benning. The splash pad is an example of a partnership with the CSU music school. The music programmed into the fountain will come from CSU.”

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