Project Summary

In 2021, the Bicentennial Commission and City of Columbus announced the seminal project for the Columbus Area Bicentennial as the “1821” Trail extension along First Street, from the Haw Creek Trail, ending at Lafayette Street, to Water Street.  This trail extension includes architectural and art elements to encompass the 2021 Bicentennial theme of “Common Ground.”

The 1821 Trail is a key addition to the Columbus Park Foundation trail system and connects our 26 miles of trail extending throughout the city.

In the 2020 bicentennial planning process, city and county residents participated in surveys with suggestions on projects which would celebrate the area’s legacy and encourage people to participate in bicentennial events. Enhancement and improvements of shared community assets such as the trail system was a common theme.

In addition, in 2019, the City used four avenues to get public input on needed improvements and connections in the bicycle/pedestrian networks. And, along with the Riverfront Trail connection, this section of the downtown trail was identified by a large number of respondents as the most important connection gap in the trail network, along with the completion of the Riverfront. Funding for the project was obtained through Columbus Redevelopment, the Columbus Park Foundation and private donors.


  • January 2021: Preliminary project timeline released.
  • Spring 2021: Hitchcock Design Group (HDG) selected for this project.
  • June 2021: Columbus design group meets to discuss updated concepts, including QR codes, seating placement, gateway features, etc. and select preferred concepts. Following concept selection, Hitchcock Design Group presents project narrative, 3D video, schematic design plans for Phase I & II and renderings.
  • July 2021: Preliminary Phase I & II cost estimates received based on initial plans and renderings.
  • August 2021: A preliminary utilities timeline and bidding timeline are proposed. Groundbreaking tentatively planned for December 2021 with construction efforts to take place in January 2022. Revised cost estimates are provided.
  • September 2021: A Special CRC Meeting is held to adopt a resolution to engage HDG and American Structurepoint to complete Phase II of final design and engineering. Utilities cost estimates received. Columbus design team meets to obtain feedback on Historic Design Markers, brick orders and engraving, survey progress, trail connection and a revised bidding timeline.
  • October 2021: 100% Design Development plans, cost and specs submitted by HDG. Historical Marker materials and graphic designs discussed. Additionally, the Columbus team begins piecing together application materials for the Next Level Trails grant.
  • November 2021: Resolution No. 27-2021 approved, which allows for expending Certified Tech Park Funds for specific use on the 1821 Trail. HDG submits 100% documents and Structurepoint submits signed water main plans. Bid documents are submitted to contractors.
  • December 2021: The 1821 Trail Brick Campaign launches (see additional details below). A pre-bid meeting is held. Resolution No. 29-2021 approves funding a portion of the 1821 Bicentennial Trail from the Central Allocation Area. Contractor bids are received and opened in a public meeting. Groundbreaking is held on December 28, 2021 and the selected contractor, Dave O’Mara, is present during the groundbreaking ceremony.
  • January 2022: A pre-construction meeting is held at City Hall to discuss the project timeline.
  • February 2022: Additional meetings are held to discuss utility relocation timeline and traffic maintenance on 1st Street. Utility work will begin in late-February or early-March and will extend through the end of March. At this time, 1st Street will be converted to one-way westbound traffic.
  • March 2022: Construction limits are staked, but material lead-time creates delays in the water main portion of the project. In the meantime, considerable planning and preparation in relation to the electrical plan, limestone, landscaping, monument fabrication, etc. By the end of the month, tree and shrub removal takes place along the City Hall block.
  • April 2022: Brick shipments are received throughout the month of April, and the limestone marker blocks are relocated to the construction site and prepare for fabrication. Curb and gutter demo takes place along 1st Street. Continued discussions take place to finalize plans for the artistic elements along the trail.
  • May 2022: Considerable construction progress on the 1821 Trail: water main installed, curb and gutter installed, removal of existing sidewalks, etc. Additionally, there has been significant progress on the Historical Marker design and content.
  • June 2022: The utility component of the trail is complete, road patchwork has been completed along 1st Street, and the trail is being prepped for concrete. Limestone foundation is poured. Coordination with Flaherty & Collins continues to be essential as both projects (The 1821 Trail and The Taylor) progress concurrently.
  • July 2022: Limestone fabrication continues, trail concrete pouring progresses from west to east, limestone benches monument bases are placed along the trail and the installation will be complete in August.
  • August 2022: The trail is quickly approaching completion. Remaining marker bases are being set, sod installation will be completed, and brick laying will conclude this month.
  • September 2022: Historical marker content submitted for printing, concrete pouring has been completed, and landscaping has been installed – with the exception of the trees which are to be installed in late fall/winter. Additionally, brick paving has progressed considerably, the historical marker frames are being fabricated, and 1st Street is milled and paved.
  • October 2022: The East Plaza brickwork is partially-installed and trail construction tape and barrels is removed to open access to the trail for Ethnic Expo. The Washington Street Gateway markers have been fabricated and are ready for installation.
  • November 2022: Final brickwork to set-in and even the existing installation takes place throughout the month of November. Additionally, the historical markers undergo considerable fabrication progress as we prepare for installation, likely in December.
  • December 2022: Gateway and Historical Markers are completed in the fabrication process.
  • January 2023: The final landscaping is completed. Gateway and Historical Markers are installed along the trail and are internally illuminated at night. The final detectable warning strips are replaced at remaining intersections. The trail is complete! Now we plan for ribbon cutting in the spring!
  • February 2023: The Project Completion Certificate is received for the 1821 Trail!
  • April 2023: The CRC hosts the 1821 Bicentennial Trail Grand Opening / Ribbon Cutting Ceremony with over 100 in attendance. The trail is officially open for all to use and enjoy!

Photo Gallery

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Finished Project: 1821 Trail