Reprinted with permission from The Republic newspaper, October 13, 2022

Columbus is seeking construction bids for parks administrative and community spaces at NexusPark.

The Columbus Board of Works has voted to release a request for proposals for this work. According to City Director of Finance, Operations and Risk Jamie Brinegar, the RFP will be released this Friday, and the deadline to submit bids is Nov. 9.

The work is estimated to cost $12 to $15 million, he said.

“We’re hoping construction can start as early as late December, early January,” said Brinegar. The work will take place indoors, mainly in the former JCPenney area.

NexusPark is a joint effort by the city of Columbus and Columbus Regional Health to redevelop the former FairOaks Mall into a health, wellness and recreation center.

In addition to parks department spaces, the campus is also expected to include a fieldhouse, restaurant and retail areas and CRH facilities. Outdoor community park and gathering spaces are planned, and Dunham’s is expected to remain on-site under its current lease.

The total cost of the NexusPark project was estimated to be nearly $92 million, as of late June.

Columbus City Council voted in March of 2022 to use up to $11.5 million in bonds to fund parks and recreation spaces at the campus. The bonds are payable from a special tax levied on the Columbus Park District.

The city was later awarded a $6 million Regional Economic Acceleration and Development Initiative grant for NexusPark. According to state officials, only parks offices and community spaces will be funded through the grant. This includes parks administration offices, community conference rooms, youth multi-purpose rooms, low-cost fitness areas, a child watch area and a teaching kitchen.