Although a pedestrian bridge spanning the Scioto River between two downtown Dublin districts is still being built, work has been underway for years now to connect the Historic District with the city's new Bridge Street District.

The formation of a strategic alliance, which includes the city of Dublin, Bridge Park developer Crawford Hoying, the Historic Dublin Business Association, the Dublin Convention & Visitors Bureau and the Dublin Historical Society, was announced to Dublin City Council in November 2016, said Scott Dring, the convention and visitors bureau executive director.

Dring said he's most excited about the group members' willingness and ability to collaborate for the betterment of the city.

"I think everyone has done that remarkably well," Dring said.

The strategic alliance was formed with the goal to explore common ground among the groups, said Rick Gerber, Historic Dublin Business Association president, and join forces to promote the area and attract more visitors.

A New Year's Eve event, geared toward an evening celebration highlighting the city's restaurants and bars, is one idea alliance members have discussed, Gerber said.

Another idea Gerber said he proposed was forming an annual founder's festival. Gerber said the event could be held around Labor Day, since that's a time in which the city doesn't have a marquee event.

The event could be a way to highlight history and recognize a different Dublin family each year, he said.

In addition to events, the group has also discussed parking, wayfinding signs for pedestrians and an app for visitors, Gerber said.

A focus on the new Bridge Street District is natural, but the strategic alliance provides the Historic District with a strong partnership and brings attention to business association activities, said Tom Holton, Dublin Historical Society president.

Sue Burness, Dublin's communications and public information director, said the group plans to continue collaborating and promoting the Historic District and Bridge Street District as destinations for visitors and those who live in the Columbus region.

"We are excited to work with the Columbus Metropolitan Library on the opening of the new Dublin branch and promote the city's new public garage next to the library," she said. "We will continue to discuss future events that will benefit all of downtown Dublin."

Dring said he's already seen positive results from the formation of the strategic alliance group, from the social media support with which each group provides the other, to planning of events so they don't compete with each other.

Similarly, Crawford Hoying Director of Development Experience Ted Orr said he thinks the strategic alliance has already achieved one of its initial goals: collaboration and partnership throughout downtown Dublin area.

Once the pedestrian bridge is completed, connecting both banks of the Scioto, the group can take full advantage of the partnerships it has fostered, Orr said, and begin to focus on larger events that encompass the Historic District and the Bridge Street District.

One such event, Orr said, could be some sort of monthly event similar in scope to Westerville's First Fridays or the Columbus Short North's Gallery Hop, but with an original "feel." Such events would be done in a manner that benefits all businesses in downtown Dublin, not just food and entertainment destinations, he said.

"We're really starting to gravitate toward something along those lines," he said.

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