Chattahoochee RiverBlasting: A Whitewater Milestone - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Chattahoochee RiverBlasting: A Whitewater Milestone

From the Uptown Columbus and the River Restoration Committee

COLUMBUS, GA - The Chattahoochee river is exposing its belly. The diggers are in. The rocks are being moved. Construction is under way.

Uptown Columbus and the River Restoration Committee celebrated a major milestone in their efforts to bring whitewater to our community with a RiverBlasting.

September 22, on the banks of the Chattahoochee River – overlooking construction, rapids and kayakers and rafters rushing downstream – they noted the incredible efforts taken so far and how close they are to seeing their vision become a reality.

John Turner, often referred to as the father of the whitewater project, said, "My name is John Turner and my river is the Chattahoochee! And it's your river. It's our river. For the last 13 years we've poked and probed it, mapped it, surveyed it, photographed it, studied it, computer modeled it, and talked about it. Now we're actually doing something about it and that's a big deal."

The RiverBlasting drew a crowd of approximately 200 community leaders and supporters from both sides of the river including Columbus Mayor Teresa Tomlinson and Phenix City Mayor Sonny Coulter, Columbus City Manager, Isaiah Hugley and Phenix City City Manager, Wallace Hunter and US Army Corps of Engineers, Col. Stephen Roemhildt.

Richard Bishop, President of Uptown Columbus, drew everyone's attention to the River, where a group of kayakers and rafters burst on to the Chattahoochee from below the Eagle & Phenix City Dam, thrilling onlookers with the excitement of whitewater rafting and kayaking. "I can't believe how fun this is going to be. I can't wait to get in it myself and I can't wait to see the landscape of Uptown progress as we bring visitors from all over the region."

The project will be the longest urban whitewater venue in the world (2.5 miles) with opportunities for rafting, whitewater, kayaking, tubing, river surfing and other water activities.

The river's restoration component will bring back its historic and environmental function, restoring the fall line habitat which is expected to benefit a number of threatened species including shoal bass, mussels and the shoal spider lilies.

The project is expected to generate a total economic impact of $42M, with more than $2M from new sales and hotel/motel tax revenue, creating more than 700 new jobs.

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