|Area||9 acres (3.6 ha)|
|Operated by||Capitol South|
|Status||Open all year 7 a.m. - 11 p.m.|
Columbus Commons is a 9-acre (36,000 m2) park and green space in downtown Columbus, Ohio located on the site of the former Columbus City Center mall. The park features gardens, a performance stage, carousel, reading room and a cafe. The project was developed by Columbus Downtown Development Corporation (CDDC) and Capitol South Community Urban Redevelopment Corporation (Capitol South), private, non-profit development organizations.
With the decline of Columbus City Center, plans were announced in February 2009 to replace the mall with a project that includes an urban park, homes, offices, restaurants and shops. In April 2009, Capitol South requested federal stimulus funds to help finance the demolition of the mall and construction of the park, but was rejected. Financing eventually came in the form of Columbus City Council allowing Capitol South to refinance existing City Center parking garage loans and use funds earmarked for downtown housing. CDDC, Capitol South, the Franklin County Commissioners and Columbus Metro Parks, funded the creation of Columbus Commons with a goal to redevelop this downtown property. The first phase of the project cost a total of $20 million. Demolition of City Center began in September 2009 and construction of the Columbus Commons began in mid-2010. The design team was made up of construction manager Corna-Kokosing, architects Moody Nolan and landscape architects EDGE Group. The park opened to the public on Memorial Day weekend (May 26) 2011.
A 20-seat carousel with characters hand-carved by Mansfield's The Carousel Works. Characters range from the traditional horses to a fish, a tiger, a giraffe and an OSU-themed cart. The rounding boards that surround the canopy feature locally-inspired murals with scenes ranging from Ohio Stadium to the Franklin Park Conservatory. The cost to ride the carousel is $1 except on Fridays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The current stage at Columbus Commons is temporary for the 2011 program season. The Columbus Bicentennial Pavilion is scheduled to replace the stage for the 2012 season, coinciding with the city's bicentennial. The $5 million pavilion is being designed by FTL and will feature a 40-by-60-foot (12 m × 18 m) stage.
Columbus-based Burgers Dogs & Fries operates a permanent walk-up location at the south end of the park from May through October.
An outdoor reading room on the southeast corner of the park features about 1,600 books courtesy of the nonprofit group Friends of the Columbus Metropolitan Library. The reading room has tables and chairs under umbrellas and offers free Wi-Fi from the Columbus Metropolitan Library. A bookmobile visits the park from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Fridays.
The park is lined with 12 2,000 sq ft (190 m2) garden plots that contain seasonal plants throughout the year.
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