City’s latest attempt to enliven riverfront is literally under the bridge


By Patrick Keck - pkeck@aimmediamidwest.com



Once the rocks are removed from this area underneath the Grant Bridge and concrete is installed, 1st Ward Councilman Sean Dunne says an "active space" can be created for passersby. Photo courtesy of Sean Dunne.

Once the rocks are removed from this area underneath the Grant Bridge and concrete is installed, 1st Ward Councilman Sean Dunne says an "active space" can be created for passersby. Photo courtesy of Sean Dunne.


PORTSMOUTH — From the campground rental spots to the recently introduced Master Plan, the City of Portsmouth has been attempting to create a buzz around its Ohio riverfront resource.

First discussed during last week’s City Managers session, 1st Ward Councilman Sean Dunne mentioned the latest idea in leading more people along that area.

“I think it would be a great conversion of space,” he said during the March 8 meeting. “When it’s the summer and it’s hot, if you’re cycling on Front Street, it gives you a space to cool down.”

The space Dunne referred to is under the Grant Bridge, right in between the Dog Park and Shawnee State University. The shaded spot would keep visitors out of the rain or the heat, he projected it being at least 10 degrees Fahrenheit cooler underneath the bridge leading into Kentucky.

Dunne said the Ohio Department of Transportation has already given the city permission to use the area as a social space, but will not allow food to be cooked there due to safety concerns. Food trucks can be parked near, but not directly under the bridge as per the ODOT request.

Work would be needed to remove the rocks and then put concrete down, City Manager Sam Sutherland saying an estimate of approximately $13,000 for the concrete.

The idea came to him from other cities like Cincinnati bringing life to sparsely used spaces, Dunne said during a Friday interview. Now moved on to the City Managers’ agenda, Mayor Kevin Johnson added that he supported the idea.

“What we have to continue thinking about in my view is activating these different space to provide new activities and maybe even host events for people in our downtown,” said Dunne.

Looking for ways to get SSU students out in the community, he described the area as an ideal outdoor seating space for friends to hang out or take a break between classes.

“A lot of these things we’re doing, I don’t think any of us would claim is the one and only game changer of the downtown,” Dunne said, also a humanities professor at the university. “What we’re instead trying to do is develop a variety of different activities and a variety of different spaces.”

Once the rocks are removed from this area underneath the Grant Bridge and concrete is installed, 1st Ward Councilman Sean Dunne says an "active space" can be created for passersby. Photo courtesy of Sean Dunne.
https://www.portsmouth-dailytimes.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/28/2021/03/web1_IMG_5061.jpegOnce the rocks are removed from this area underneath the Grant Bridge and concrete is installed, 1st Ward Councilman Sean Dunne says an "active space" can be created for passersby. Photo courtesy of Sean Dunne.

By Patrick Keck – pkeck@aimmediamidwest.com

Reach Patrick Keck (740)-353-3501 ext. 1931, by email at pkeck@aimmediamidwest.com, or on Twitter @pkeckreporter.

© 2021 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved.

Reach Patrick Keck (740)-353-3501 ext. 1931, by email at pkeck@aimmediamidwest.com, or on Twitter @pkeckreporter.

© 2021 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved.