Dublin City Council members this week approved a $3.5 million land deal.

Dublin City Council members this week approved a $3.5 million land deal.

Staff members were authorized to purchase 12.3 acres along Riverside Drive where the closed Digger and Finch restaurant currently stands.

"The purchase of these properties is intended to provide green space for a park or the potential relocation of Riverside Drive," Dana McDaniel, deputy city manager and director of economic development, told council Dec. 10.

The land involved in the deal is about $2.3 million and will be paid for with parkland acquisition funds, McDaniel said. The city will pay $1.2 million for the restaurant from capital-improvement funds.

"This has been a two-year discussion," Mc-Daniel said.

Both the restaurant and driving range at the site are closed.

According to the staff memo to council, the city's interest in the land lays in a riverside park or the relocation of Riverside Drive. The action also falls within Bridge Street corridor plans.

"I look forward to this being the first part we can move forward on," Councilman Michael Keenan said, mentioning all the work council has done on the Bridge Street corridor.

"It's extremely important to create and get a hold of our vision," Cathy Boring agreed. "It's very important we move forward on this."

According to the Bridge Street corridor zoning map, the land is zoned office residential. On the vision map, land around the Scioto River is preserved as green space, but multifamily housing and office could be located on the east side of Riverside Drive.

The possible relocation of Riverside Drive shown on a map in the council packet would put the four-lane road curve to the east of the current alignment on the property approved for purchase.

The purchase was approved by council members as an emergency because the sellers would agree to the sale only if it were completed by the end of the year, McDaniel said.

The city could also have the option to purchase two parcels of land to the east of the property if it is not sold to a developer.

The strip of land is about 1 acre and runs from the property soon to be purchased to Tuller Ridge Road and could "be brought forward to council at a later date when the road alignment and access points to the remaining southern half of the site are finalized," the staff report to council said.

As for plans for the 12.3 acres approved for purchase, "staff continues to develop conceptual plans and ideas to bring forward to council regarding the future park, potential relocation of Riverside Drive and other development within the river corridor," the staff report said.