Canoeists and kayakers have a new access point to the Olentangy River in Worthington.
The access, which includes solidly built steps to the river from the Olentangy River Parklands, was constructed April 5-7 by volunteers from the Ohio State University College of Engineering and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.
The city of Worthington worked with OSU and ODNR, as well as with members of the Friends of the Lower Olentangy Watershed (FLOW), to plan and build the access.
The project cost -- $3,000 to $4,000 -- was paid for by ODNR, according to Darren Hurley, Worthington parks and recreation director.
Worthington initiated the project at the suggestion of Dan Armitage, a member of the city's Parks and Recreation Advisory Commission.
Uncertain how to progress, Hurley contacted ODNR only to find that a group of student engineers already had been working on the project.
Everyone then joined forces, with the parks commission reviewing the plans and the city digging out the site in preparation for the weekend construction.
The stone-based, wood frame steps leading from a path to the river have been completed, and the city plans to make some improvements to nearby footpaths.
The steps are off a worn path that leads to the parklands tennis courts from the fishing-access parking lot.
The ODNR owns the lot and land immediately surrounding it, but Worthington maintains the area.
Hurley said he expects the access to be used mainly as a place to take boats out of the river, though it also could be used as a launch to the river south through Worthington.
That part of the river does not have much boat traffic because it tends to be shallow and necessitates maneuvering around the low-head dams south of West Dublin-Granville Road.
Several people have had to be rescued from the river near the dam over the years.
The city someday might do more to encourage Olentangy boating at the flats, which is the land immediately west of Thomas Worthington High School.
The city of Columbus is encouraging use of the river south of Worthington, Hurley said.