Columbus Commons - you know, that park where the City Center used to be - is having a Grand Opening Celebration all weekend long. The Beat is, of course, primarily concerned with the downtown green space for the live entertainment that will be held there, although the Commons has broader civic implications for the City of Columbus.

So in the celebration you may have heard - or if not, you certainly will, but let The Beat be the first to tell you - that the Columbus Symphony Orchestra's Picnic With the Pops will move to Columbus Commons in the summer of 2012.

If you've been down to the Commons, looked around and thought, "This space seems so much smaller than the lawn at Chemical Abstracts Service (which has hosted the summer concerts for years), so how are they going to put Picnic With the Pops here?", you're not the only one. The Beat did, too - and we assumed that someone in a decision-making capacity had done so as well, so we asked CAPA's Bill Conner about it.

"The space works pretty well," he said. "We estimate we can get six-to-ten thousand people, which works consistently with our average at Chemical Abstracts."

He called the size of the space "deceiving," and added that it still works even once the planned offices and rental living development uses some of the current outlying green areas.

"Downtown has really changed," Conner said, and offers "the kind of demographic we're interested in."

And to be part of what the City is trying to do downtown is important, he said.

Lots of parking downtown, too, Conner said, including a renovated garage underneath the Commons. "People can park underneath the park, take an elevator up and be right on the Commons," he said.

(The Beat is calling paying to park downtown a trade-off against the potential of parking in wet grass and mud at Chemical Abstracts, not to mention the potential improvement in handicap parking.)

Lastly, Conner said he expects this summer to include a "big thank you to Chemical Abstracts." This summer's Picnic season opens with the Jazz Ambassadors of the U.S. Army Field Band June 18.