Reprinted with permission from The Republic newspaper, June 29, 2023

Crews working on the NexusPark project have started constructing the second of two 15-foot-deep storm water retention areas on the former mall property.

The retention areas, which are 219 feet long, 60 feet wide and 15 feet deep, are designed to capture the storm water that drains off the roof of the 150,000-square-foot fieldhouse, former mall structure and parking lot and filter it into the aquifer that supplies the city of Columbus with drinking water.

“They usually take two and a half to three weeks to install,” said Ken Maschino, superintendent at Taylor Bros. Construction, the construction manager working with the city on the project.

Next, workers will fill the retention area with 4 feet of crushed stone and then add plastic structures that will form tubes. After that, the whole retention area will be encased in crushed stone and wrapped in filter cloth “like a big burrito,” Maschino said.

Workers tentatively expect to start placing the crushed stone and some of the plastic structures by the end of this week and complete the retention area by the end of next week, Maschino said. Once installed, all that will be visible on the surface of the property is a manhole cover.

“The way it works is the storm water goes into all of those tubes and then it filters down through the soil and back into the aquifer,” Maschino said. “…It gets recycled into the groundwater and then we pump it back up in our wells.”

NexusPark is a joint venture between the city of Columbus and CRH to transform the former FairOaks Mall into a health, wellness and recreation center. The NexusPark campus is expected to include, among other things, an indoor sports facility, Columbus Parks administrative space and a CRH facility.