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Ottawa's Downtown River Plaza

By Matt Haake
On April 10, 2018

Photo by: Matt Haake

A beautiful new green space park of almost 20,000 square feet, picturesque pavilions and canopies to host community and personal events, beautiful landscaping, sidewalks, restrooms and other amenities -- this is what you should expect from Ottawa’s upcoming “Downtown River Plaza,” a project implemented to enhance Ottawa’s community and brand.

The vision for this project began roughly three years ago with the development of “political capital and constituencies to make this all a reality,” saysJohn Coen, Ottawa Area Chamber of Commerce President/CEO.

After a number of community forums took place, the city concluded there was an overwhelming amount of support for this project.

“We felt we had a good cross representation of the community,” Coen says. And thus, it was time to move forward.

“We wanted to work a project that would cause our downtown to have more synergy,” he says. Coen and the rest of the development team hopes “it would become a place where all generations would feel comfortable to ‘hang out.’”

Photo from: onwardottawa.com 

A group of 50 citizens were taken to downtown Topeka to view the “in progress” development of Kansas Avenue and to gain more inspiration. After seeing what the city of Topeka accomplished, Coen was inspired to provide something that the community is missing: a centralized outdoor event space.

“Farmers markets, craft shows, beer festivals and food festivals” are just a few the “to come” events that will hopefully suit the community’s entertainment needs, according to Coen.

Although university representatives contacted by The Campus could not confirm the space would be used for university events, Coen believes this spot is perfect for combined OU and community events such as the annual Business Fusion Expo.

For now, it’s an empty plot of land. But imagine yourself, upon the project’s completion, meandering through scenic gardens, stopping to pick up some fresh produce from the farmer’s market while enjoying both the sun and sense of community that the Downtown River Plaza will most certainly provide. 

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