A WALK IN THE PARK

By Annie Dunlap

Photos courtesy of Crawford Hoying


"Americans only love the college experience because it's the only time in their lives they live in walkable communities." I read this viral tweet on January 21st this year, and I've been thinking about it for months. Why is it that we look back on our college days with such nostalgia? Surely, it isn't all-nighters on the quiet floor of the library or 75¢ ramen. I would imagine that most, especially during COVID, would say that they miss the social life above all else. Our college campuses, unlike most American cities, are designed to foster community naturally.


Besides college, this sense of comfortable community can be experienced in European cities like Barcelona, Amsterdam, or Copenhagen. How would it feel to roll out of bed every day and walk to your local coffee shop, instead of jumping in the car for a not-so-quick trip to the Starbucks drive-through? For most Americans, driving is a necessary part of life. Grocery shopping, getting a haircut and going out to dinner often require at least a 10-minute drive. Research has shown that cities with high walkability are more economically prosperous, socially engaged, sustainable, and healthier, lending to a better quality of life overall.


For the last decade, the best option for central Ohio residents interested in a walkable, urban lifestyle has been downtown Columbus; though development and infrastructure has been slow-going and sporadic. But, on the northwest corner of I-270, in a suburb that is quickly becoming a megalopolis in it’s own right, savvy developers have worked with city planners to transform a highly visible intersection into an unrecognizable but endlessly appealing commercial complex.

On the other side of the stunning Link Bridge from Old Dublin (where Carfagna’s once occupied a tired strip center, for those old schoolers among you) is Crawford Hoying's Bridge Park development, one of Columbus' newest and most desirable neighborhoods. Salons, local boutiques, indie restaurants, bars, fitness classes, and more are all within walking distance from Bridge Park's apartment complexes and three-story townhomes. With its ample sidewalks and an abundance of amenities, the sheer foot traffic always present at Bridge Park could be mistaken for the Short North. The neighborhood has everything necessary for daily life - all without the need for a car.


Incorporating office space into the retail and entertainment district, Bridge Park is the ideal location for work as well as socialization. Wells Fargo, Updox, Kappa Kappa Gamma, and Verily all call Bridge Park home. Brick House Blue's Dublin co-working space is the perfect chance to get out of the house for those working from home.


Less time spent commuting means more time for personal wellness and quality time with friends. Walking everywhere naturally leads to a healthier lifestyle, and Bridge Park's variety of wellness-focused business and fitness class options build on this. Yoga Six, located a block away from Bridge Park's North Market, is the perfect way to unwind after a long day. They offer six different classes that range in difficulty and virtual and outdoor classes for those concerned about taking a class indoors. If cardio and lifting are more your thing, Mesh Fit Club in the heart of Bridge Park is the perfect place to meet all of your fitness goals. Mesh Fit Club's limited number of memberships makes it one of the most exclusive gyms in the Columbus area.


If you're more partial to pampering than closing your Apple Watch fitness rings, you'll be thrilled with Bridge Park's selection of businesses dedicated to self-indulgence. The Color Bar Dublin, Solaire tanning salon, Anthony Vince Nail Salon, and Spavia will fulfill all of your personal needs. You won't need to get behind the wheel, even for retail therapy. Bend fitness boutique, J. Hilburn Custom-Made Men's Clothing, and Apricot Lane Boutique are all within walking distance from Bridge Park's residences. The Shoppes at River Ridge are just across Dublin Granville Road from the development.


But it isn't Bridge Park's incredible amenities that have earned its reputation as Columbus' "second downtown." The neighborhood's excellent and diverse selection of restaurants and nightlife genuinely make it the place to be. Start your night at one of the four Cameron Mitchell restaurants within a mile radius, grab a bite from the North Market's new Bridge Park location, or dine at Vaso on the rooftop of the Marriot AC Hotel Dublin.


There's no need to head home after settling your dinner tab as Bridge Park's nightlife is lively (and growing). Iconic Pins Mechanical Co. has a prime location in the neighborhood's heart, and 16-Bit Bar + Arcade is right next door. For the craft beer connoisseurs, Urban Meyer's Pint House and Seventh Son's newest venture, Getaway Brewing, are sure to satisfy your craving. Those searching for a more exclusive night out will find it at No Soliciting, a high-class members-only restaurant and bar with annual dues of $1,000.


The most exciting aspect of Bridge Park is its future. The North Market, which already includes innovative businesses like the zero-waste refill store Reuse Revolution, will soon be fully open with over a dozen merchants. Columbus-based co-working space COhatch plans to open its doors later this year, and its recent acquisition of Mesh Fit Club will give COhatch members free access to gym facilities. Restore Cryotherapy, Bates and Brown Barber, and an all-new Cameron Mitchell restaurant will join the Bridge Park neighborhood soon, with many more restaurants and merchants planning to move in.


The Bridge Park neighborhood is already Columbus' most exciting new neighborhood and its most livable. Operating under the ethos that communities should be built for people, not cars, Bridge Park's developers have set the standard for walkable living in our city. I cannot wait to ditch my car for the day and enjoy a gorgeous summer Saturday spent at the local farmer's market or dining and shopping with friends.

Bridge Park is located along Riverside Drive and West Dublin Granville Road in Dublin. For more information, visit bridgepark.com.

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