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Video: River Island Park: New Name & Hopeful Attraction For Columbus

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COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI) — As small ripples of water gush alongside the sand, this empty space along Columbus’ Island, may one day become a man-made beach.

“River Island Park is what we’re going to refer to the city’s portion that they own, their portion that we’re developing. It’s located across the river from the river walk. There’s an opportunity for the city to go after about $200,000 in grant funds, however the city will be looking at doing about $122,000 to make improvements on the Island property. What we will do at the portion that fronts the river is create a more sand-like beach where people can come down and enjoy it and also develop a board walk so you can have multiple uses using the board walk and also the sand that’s there,” said Christina Berry, Columbus City Planner.

Councilmen also plan to make the area wheelchair accessible. But there are still some areas that need work, like parking and traffic.

“The traffic part will really be left up to our engineers to look at the best way to mitigate that issue and how to address that, but that is a concern,” said Berry.

City leaders remain optimistic.

“I think it’s a great idea. I think it will encourage developers to have some type of interest in developing the island since we already have an Island Committee,” said Mayor Robert Smith.

“Parks are really great economic development drivers. They add value to a development and also it works so hard to attract a development there,” said Berry.

The application for the grant is due Monday. If all goes well, the project could take 120 days and they hope to begin this new park by January 2015.