Columbus Parks and Recreation and a local employer have unveiled the name of another sponsored space at NexusPark.
First Financial Bank is contributing $250,000 over five years to the project and has dubbed a space near the fieldhouse as the “Community f1RST Hub,” said Regional President Tony Gambaiani.
“It matches perfectly with our community-first approach,” he said. “We are committed to Columbus, have been committed to Columbus for several years now. And this is just an extension of that commitment to the community.”
The Community f1RST Hub is located near a connector between the fieldhouse and the former mall building, said Parks Director Mark Jones.
The space will have a few different uses, according to Associate Director of Sports Brady Buckley. This includes providing a place for community members to hang out or rent space for smaller events, as well as a concessions area for the fieldhouse.
Jones said that the space will also have TVs that can be connected to cameras inside the fieldhouse, allowing visitors in the hub to see the games going on inside.
He added that the hub could also host fundraisers and other community events.
“We think it’s going to be a really busy space,” Gambaiani said.
First Financial also is working with the Columbus Area Arts Council to commission a muralist to help beautify the Community f1RST Hub. A Request for Qualifications is available on the arts council’s website, and the deadline for submissions is Oct. 20.
According to the arts council, it is expected that an artist will be selected by Dec. 1, with a mural design finalized by the end of the year and final installation no later than Jan. 31.
The parks department is also involved with this project, city officials said.
Jones said that the Community f1RST Hub is expected to be complete around the beginning of January.
“It’s really close, right around the corner,” he said.
NexusPark is a joint effort between the city of Columbus and Columbus Regional Hospital to transform the former FairOaks Mall into a health, wellness and recreation center. The campus is expected to include parks department and community spaces, CRH facilities, restaurant and retail areas, and a fieldhouse.
Outdoor community park and gathering spaces are planned, and Dunham’s is expected to remain on-site under its current lease.