17:13 PM

Ohio State physical distancing project extends to Columbus Commons

Partnership helps reinforce safe and healthy behavior off campus

Dozens of circles and Buckeye leaves now dot the grass at the John F. Wolfe Columbus Commons in the heart of downtown.

The circles are a continuation of a physical distancing activation that started on the Oval on the Columbus campus of The Ohio State University. The project is a collaboration between multiple university departments and the Columbus Downtown Development Corporation (CDDC).

“Ohio State is a partner with and a part of the Columbus community. Our students, faculty and staff live, work and play in this community, so we appreciate the partnership with the CDDC and others to help encourage safe and healthy behavior on and off campus,” Ohio State President Kristina M. Johnson said.

A team of university staff and contractors helped paint the 146 circles and 39 Buckeye leaves on the commons grass fields Friday morning. Each circle in the six-acre park is 8 feet in diameter and a minimum of 15 feet apart from the other circles. The goal is to visualize a safe distance from others for those enjoying time in Columbus Commons.

While the park has limited programming because of the COVID-19 pandemic, fitness classes and food trucks still draw people to the area.

“Columbus Commons has been a community gathering space in the heart of downtown since it opened 10 years ago,” said Guy V. Worley, CEO/president of the Columbus Downtown Development Corporation, the nonprofit organization that operates John F. Wolfe Columbus Commons. “Even though people aren’t able to gather as they did in previous years, we’re proud to partner with The Ohio State University to showcase a visual representation of how you can safely connect with others as we all navigate this new normal.”

In addition to the painted circles, digital billboards that read “‘O’ Marks the Spot” are lit up at Columbus Commons to encourage visitors to use the circles and engage on social media using the hashtag #TogetherAsBuckeyes. 

Ohio State is also working with additional community partners to explore expanding the project to other parks in the central Ohio community.

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