When Dublin's pedestrian bridge opens March 13, a vision more than 30 years old will be realized.
When a suspension bridge crossing the Scioto River was contemplated by the city and the Dublin Kiwanis in 1986, it was to benefit the entire Dublin community, engage residents with the river and preserve the scenic Scioto River, said Dublin Mayor Chris Amorose Groomes.
The objectives are the same today. In fact, the location is very close to the initially contemplated version, Groomes said.
During her tenure on council, fellow members worked to find funding and then embarked on construction of the bridge to "execute a long term goal of generations of Dubliners," she said.
"Many council members that served before me did the hard work that we will celebrate the completion of on March 13," Groomes said.
Construction for the bridge began in February 2017, said Lindsay Weisenauer, a Dublin public-affairs officer. The construction cost was $22.6 million.
A community celebration and dedication event is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m., with music in two locations -- Bridge Park Avenue between Riverside Drive and Longshore Street and on North Riverview Street.
At 8 p.m., there will be a light show and special effects focusing on the bridge. At 8:30 p.m., the span will be opened up to the public. The light show will run until 11 p.m.
Establishing a connection between Historic Dublin and the Bridge Street District will make the area a walkable destination, said Scott Dring, executive director of the Dublin Convention & Visitors Bureau.
"There's tremendous new products here on both sides," he said.
Rather than market the two districts separately, Dring said, the bureau works to market Historic Dublin and the Bridge Street District as the collective "downtown Dublin."
"It's an iconic destination that we've created," he said.
Whereas many communities have historic districts, few have modern districts like Dublin's Bridge Street District or modern elements like the pedestrian bridge, Dring said.
The bureau is anticipating the weekend of the bridge's opening will attract national media and "that's our initial effort, to push it out with a big splash," he said.
Residents also should expect to see more event opportunities in the future.
Dring said the goal is to plan collaborative events among the city, the convention and visitors bureau, the Historic Dublin Business Association and Crawford Hoying, developer of Bridge Park.
"We want to make this area as vibrant as we can," he said.
The Riverside Crossing Park West Plaza is set to open along with the bridge on March 13, said Sarah McQuaid, a Dublin public-information officer. The East Plaza is under construction, she said.
Construction crews have broken ground on the East Plaza, including the upper plaza and pavilion, McQuaid said. Crews are busy digging, excavating and making way for the future landing of the new pedestrian bridge.
The bridge landing eventually will connect straight through to Bridge Park Avenue, McQuaid said.
A temporary access path is in place to navigate pedestrians safely through and around the construction site.
The paved path will be in place throughout construction of the upper plaza and pavilion, with anticipated completion by the end of 2020, she said.
Once completed, the temporary access path will be removed and the second phase of construction will begin including the lower plaza, water features, park pathways, a lawn area and landscaping in 2021.