In 2014, a fire decimated Athens’s Union Street during the Thanksgiving holiday. An entire city block of some of the city’s oldest buildings was badly damaged—six businesses were destroyed and nearly 40 Ohio University students were displaced from their upper-floor apartments. After the smoke cleared, Mayor Patterson saw an opportunity for rebirth—and BDT joined with the City to execute a new plan.
The fire stopped at the corner of Union and Court Streets, just across from the termination of Ohio University’s Campus Green. Mayor Patterson’s initial idea—extending the school’s beautiful green space into a pedestrian corridor—would have eliminated too many parking spaces, so BDT designed a modified streetscape. The result integrated improved infrastructure (i.e.: a new storm sewer line), retained parking spaces, widened the pedestrian walkway, and added patchwork bricks. The new design also added user-friendly sidewalk additions—branded bike racks, benches, parking kiosks, and landscaping.