There's no project budget and the design is still up in the air, but the city has paid WSA Studio $42,000 to design a hub on the Camp Chase Trail, a path that would connect the West Side to Downtown and link the Ohio-to-Erie trail through Columbus.

There's no project budget and the design is still up in the air, but the city has paid WSA Studio $42,000 to design a hub on the Camp Chase Trail, a path that would connect the West Side to Downtown and link the Ohio-to-Erie trail through Columbus.

The hub would be built on 47 acres of undeveloped parkland the city acquired about 15 years ago on Wilson Road south of West Broad Street.

It's a longtime dream for West Side businessman Chris Haydocy, whose Weston Vision board released mockups of a station in 2011 to gather support. He hopes the hub will become the "crown jewel" of the 330-mile bike trail that runs from Cincinnati to Cleveland.

Jody Dzuranin, a Consider Biking member, agrees.

"This can be a focal point for the city," Dzuranin said. "We really want this to be welcoming to a community that lives locally and the community of travelers that will come to this place and get their first impression of Columbus."

When it's finished, the Camp Chase Trail will snake more than 11 miles east from Wilson Road in Madison County to near Galloway Road in Franklin County. Columbus and Metro Parks are building sections of the trail.

Columbus Recreation and Parks Department Director Alan McKnight said the city already has plans to level part of the park, which has some wetlands, to make way for athletic fields. There have been public meetings involving architects and city officials, including one in July that presented plans for three phases of development.

The first would include parking, recreation fields, shelters with picnic tables and grills, bike racks, a repair station and a playground.

Later phases would add public restrooms, changing rooms, storage facilities and space for concessions, cultural events and nature observation areas.

"It's such a unique and unorthodox way to revitalize a challenged area, but it absolutely is working for us," Haydocy said.

He expects the hub to be a boon for local restaurants and the Hollywood Casino that sits across the Camp Chase Trail line from the park. Trail users from as far as Cincinnati and Cleveland could patronize local establishments and boost business, he said.

Casino operators aren't expecting much bicycle traffic from the trail, but they support the project, casino spokesman Bob Tenenbaum said.

A residential neighborhood that separates the proposed hub from the casino limits access to the trail.

"What's good for us is anything that's good for West Side development," he said.

Westgate resident Bea Murphy, 75, said the trail is "a good thing" for the West Side.

"We just sort of need things out here," Murphy said.