Public/private partnership benefits an entire community
Neel-Schaffer provided engineering planning and design services for the Columbus Riverwalk, an example of how a public/private partnership can create a facility to benefit the entire community. Main Street Columbus, a non-profit public/private partnership, began planning the park in 1999.
The Riverwalk is a concrete walking/biking path that meanders along the banks of the Tombigbee River. It runs 1.25 miles from Riverside Park located at Second and Main Streets in Columbus through a wooded area along the river. Land based access to the trail is limited to designated areas, while river traffic is accommodated by a pier.
In addition to planning and design, Neel-Schaffer assisted the City in obtaining funding for the project through the Mississippi Department of Transportation in the form of an enhancement grant through TEA-21.
The total cost of the project was $1.8 million, with the City and Lowndes County contributing $137,000 each. Several private landowners contributed property, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers provided a long-term lease that made the project economically feasible.
The City provides full-time operation and maintenance activities for the Riverwalk. Assistance is provided as needed by the downtown Columbus crew. In addition, the Columbus Police Department provides security with assistance from its Auxiliary Force and COP Bicycle Patrol.