(Columbus) American Electric Power (AEP), Mayor Michael B. Coleman and the Columbus Downtown Development Corporation announced $20 million in commitments to begin transforming downtown’s Scioto riverfront into a beautiful, modern park - the Scioto Mile.
“The concept to develop the riverfront in downtown Columbus is outstanding and long overdue,” said Michael G. Morris, AEP chairman, president and chief executive officer. “Our headquarters are located on the Scioto Mile. This project will help improve the area’s attractiveness for economic development, as well as connect open spaces and foster better linkages between the riverfront and downtown.”
AEP and the City of Columbus have joined together to fundraise and build elements for the Scioto Mile. AEP will provide a full-time executive to work on the project, and the AEP Foundation has committed to match up to $10 million of the City’s contribution to the project, over a five-year period.
“Great cities are built around great parks, and the Scioto Mile will be the jewel in the heart of Columbus and offer something for all families to enjoy,” said Mayor Michael B. Coleman. “The Scioto Mile will become a symbol of Columbus and help drive new economic, commercial and residential development in RiverSouth.”
Morris and Coleman have charged the Columbus Downtown Development Corporation (CDDC) and CEO Guy V. Worley to manage this project through completion. The funding will come as a grant through the CDDC.
“CDDC is proud to partner with the City and AEP on this important community project,” said Guy V. Worley, CEO of the Columbus Downtown Development Corporation. “The Scioto Mile will earn Columbus national recognition and offer something for everyone.”
In addition to their financial commitment, Morris announced that AEP vice president Dale E. Heydlauff will work full time with the Columbus Downtown Development Corporation, leading efforts to gain public- and private-sector support for the multiple-phase downtown development project. Heydlauff will also work with City officials to make sure that planning of the project is consistent with the City’s vision for a vibrant downtown.
“I have asked Dale to lead AEP’s effort to help make the Scioto Mile a reality for the people of central Ohio,” Morris said. “Dale will bring great passion and talent to the project. I believe his hard work and commitment to the project will help move the Scioto Mile project forward. And since the resources required for this project will be beyond the reach of any single public or private sector entity, it’s our expectation that the funds committed to the Scioto Mile project by AEP’s foundation and the City of Columbus will be just the first of many similar commitments from the public and private sectors.”
Heydlauff, in his prior assignment as vice president – new generation and corporate technology development for AEP, was responsible for managing the construction of new power generation plants across the AEP system and leading the development of advanced environmental technologies and controls. He has also served as senior vice president-distribution and customer operations from 2004-2005 and was responsible for AEP’s centralized distribution and customer service functions including distribution asset management, distribution dispatch and outage management, distribution engineering standards, customer information systems, meter systems and services, customer billing and credit, call centers, national customer accounts and economic development support.
Heydlauff has also served as senior vice president – governmental and environmental affairs, senior vice president – environmental affairs and vice president –environmental affairs. He joined AEP in 1988 and served for three years as director-federal affairs in AEP’s Washington office. The new position is effective immediately.
American Electric Power is one of the largest electric utilities in the United States, delivering electricity to more than 5 million customers in 11 states. AEP ranks among the nation’s largest generators of electricity, owning nearly 36,000 megawatts of generating capacity in the U.S. AEP also owns the nation’s largest electricity transmission system, a nearly 39,000-mile network that includes more 765 kilovolt extra-high voltage transmission lines than all other U.S. transmission systems combined. AEP’s utility units operate as AEP Ohio, AEP Texas, Appalachian Power (in Virginia and West Virginia), AEP Appalachian Power (in Tennessee), Indiana Michigan Power, Kentucky Power, Public Service Company of Oklahoma, and Southwestern Electric Power Company (in Arkansas, Louisiana and east Texas). AEP’s headquarters are in Columbus, Ohio.
Columbus Downtown Development Corporation is a private, non-profit development corporation created to realize a visionary, community plan to make downtown Columbus among the most attractive center cities in the United States. The board consists of senior business and institutional leaders who have a strong commitment to downtown revitalization.
Scioto Mile Project Summary:
The Scioto Mile is a mile long system of bike and pedestrian paths, urban streets, new riverfront park spaces and activities along the Scioto River.
The northern anchor is North Bank Park, an 11-acre park that opened in 2005. The southern anchor will be the Whittier Peninsula, where the Audubon Society, the City of Columbus and Franklin County Metro Parks have joined together to develop a park and nature center.
The next phase to design and complete is the east riverbank. This new park will connect disjointed open spaces and foster better linkages between the riverfront and downtown. This project will focus on two key elements:
- The Promenade on the Scioto Mile is a 30-foot, street-level promenade Broad Street to Rich Street, connecting Battelle Park to Bicentennial Park. The Promenade will be lined with trees, and feature numerous sculptures and water features. Civic Center Drive will be narrowed from four lanes to two lanes to slow traffic and make the Promenade more accessible to pedestrians and accommodating to users.
Budget for completion: $20.6 million
- The Riverwalk on the Scioto Mile is planned to be 50-feet wide. The lower level brings users to the river’s edge with native floodplain wetlands that will enrich the natural habitat and promote environmental appreciation. It is along the Riverwalk that joggers, bikers and skaters will enjoy a seamless path along the river.
Budget for completion: $17.4 million
Enhancing the riverfront and adjacent open spaces will provide the City with important urban amenities that will be enjoyed by visitors, workers and residents.
Digital Graphics and Renderings available upon request.
Mike Brown, Mayor’s Office, 645-6428
Pat Hemlepp, AEP, 716-1620
Amy Taylor, Columbus Downtown Development Corp., 645-3942