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Phase 1

3MenPic gazebo

The Big Picture

On July 8, 1938 President D. Franklin dedicated the Start Westward Monument that you see in East Muskingum Park today. The monument and pylons created by Gutzon Borglum, commemorate “Americanism” and the City of Marietta as the starting point for the pioneers and settlers heading into the Northwest Territory. Since that dedication day more than 80 years ago, the monument has deteriorated to the point that once sharp features have been lost. Wind, rain, snow, freeze/thaw and floods have taken their toll. Multiple repairs and attempts to slow the deterioration have caused more damage over time.

In 2019, the Start Westward Monument Society was founded, and the City of Marietta created the Start Westward Committee. Members of the community came together with the City to determine what could be done to restore, preserve and protect this monument that is so important to the City and to the history of the Nation. At the time of the dedication, ownership of the monument and the plaza were to be transferred to the National Park Service to become a National Historic Monument or Park. The transfer never occurred but members of the City’s Committee and the Start Westward Society have begun conversation with National Park officials to achieve the designation. The significance of the monument reflects on the surroundings and supporting facilities. The City, the Start Westward Committee and the Start Westward Society expanded the scope of the investigation of the monument to include improvements to East Muskingum Park, the Museum District and the adjacent infrastructure. Improvements being considered include Front Street and Allen Street upgrades, new ADA compliant sidewalks, additional parking, shared-use-path widening and resurfacing, gazebo enhancements, restrooms, historic lighting and special signage.

Alternatives for the monument are currently being developed and will be presented separately to the public for comments and feedback.

Start Westward Phase 1


Start Westward Project Area – Phase 1

Phase 1 of the Start Westward Muskingum Park Enhancements Project extends from Putnam Street at the downstream end to the Washington Street bridge at the upstream end, plus the shared-use-path from the Armory to Muskingum Park. The limits also extend from the Muskingum River to the Front Street sidewalks away from the river.

The focus of this project are improvements to East Muskingum Park and Front Street that will support the future disposition of the Start Westward Monument that are currently being developed by the City of Marietta. The elements proposed to be included in Phase 1 were selected to not impact future alternatives for the monument.

The City applied for and received a $1.1 million grant through ODOT’s Transportation Alternatives Program for construction of Phase 1 Elements. These funds can be used for construction of project elements that are transportation related. Alternatives for the Monument are not part of this funding. Elements that are proposed for Phase 1 include:

• New curbs along both sides of Front Street from Putnam Street to Wooster Street. This work will be in advance of a separate City Project to resurface Front Street.
• Parallel Parking on Front Street within museum district.
• New sidewalk with ADA compliant ramps on the river side of Front Street from Putnam Street to Wooster Street.
• New access into Muskingum Park
• Historic lighting on both sides of Front Street from Putnam Street to Wooster Street.
• Modification of the gazebo to provide ADA access, and enhancement of gazebo to provide lighting and sound system.
• Rehabilitation of the river landing.
• Widening and resurfacing the shared-use-path in Muskingum part, and resurfacing the path from the Park to the Armory.
• Special City Way Finding Signage directing public to the Park and facilities.


Gazebo concept rendering

Project Status

Elements of the larger overall project have been developed conceptually to estimate construction costs and identify any issues that may result from the construction. Condition assessments has been performed on the Start Westward Monument, the four pylons the stone plaza area, the river landing, and the gazebo to develop more detailed replacement, rehabilitation and/or enhancement concepts. Initial concepts were used to apply for project funding, resulting in more than $1.6 million in grants. The City of Marietta recently applied for addition Transportation Alternative Program funds.

Alternatives for the Start Westward Monument and the Pylons are being developed in parallel with the other project elements. Each alternative will be developed to determine the probable total cost, the impacts to these critical elements and how to best fund the work. The alternatives will be presented to the public to obtain feedback.

Environmental studies are currently underway, and Consulting Parties are being identified. Upon completion of the studies, a report will be forwarded to Ohio’s State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) and the consulting parties for a concurrent 30-day review and comment period.

Moving forward, project milestones and associated schedule dates are:

February 2021 Virtual Public Meeting
March 2021 Comments Received
Fall 2021 Begin Phase 1 Construction
Fall 2022 End Phase 1 Construction

Virtual Public Meeting

Tuesday, February 23, 2021
Presentation at 6:00 p.m. followed by Q&A Session
Join Online:
Join by phone: 855-925-2801 code 9512

The City of Marietta is holding a virtual public meeting for this project. To comply with State of Ohio requirements limiting mass gatherings in response to COVID-19, the meeting will be conducted online or by phone only Tuesday, February 23rd, 2021 at 6:00 P.M., beginning with a project presentation and ending with a question and comment session. The purpose of the meeting is to explain the overall proposed project including improvements to East Muskingum Park and Front Street. Representatives from the City of Marietta, the Start Westward Committee and the Start Westward Society will be available to answer your questions and get your input on the overall proposed project.

The public can submit questions to the project team either during the meeting or later. Your attendance at the meeting would be greatly appreciated; however, all materials presented at the online meeting, including the presentation, exhibits, handout, and comment form, will be available on the project website during and after the meeting so they can be viewed at your convenience. If you do not have internet access and would like these materials mailed to you, please contact the individual below. We ask that comments be submitted online, by mail, or by email before March 23, 2021 to be considered during this phase of project development.

Individuals who require interpretation services or a reasonable accommodation to participate in this meeting should contact Woolpert Project Manager Ron Mattox no later than February 16, 2021 (contact information below). Public participation is solicited without regard to race, color, sex, age, national origin, or disability.

If you have questions or comments about this project or the meeting, please contact the project Team through these options:

Project Website:
Email to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Call: (740) 373-5495

Mail comment form or letter to:
Tina Lones
Marietta City Engineering Department
304 Putnam Street
Marietta, Ohio 45750

The public meeting comment period ends Tuesday, March 23, 2021.
We sincerely appreciate your involvement!

Historic Elements

The City of Marietta is proposing the improvement of several elements within Muskingum Park and along Front Street. Based on the Ohio’s State Historic Preservation Office there are National Register listed and eligible properties adjacent to the project area:

• Muskingum River Navigation Historic District (NR# 07000025)
• Marietta Historic District (NR# 74001646)
• Hamar Historic District (NR# 93000987)
• Ohio Company Land Office (NR# 70000523)
• Rufus Putnam House (NR# 70000524)
• W P Snyder Jr (towboat) (NR# 70000522) - designated as a National Historic Landmark.

In addition, three archaeological sites within the project area were determined eligible for inclusion in the NRHP.

As part of the project development process, the City of Marietta must consider the impact of construction on historic properties in the project area. If you are interested in becoming a consulting party to offer input on historic preservation, please complete the Application to Become a Section 106 Consulting Party, located here and forward to:

Tina Lones
Marietta City Engineering Department
304 Putnam Street
Marietta, Ohio 45750

Phone: 740-373-5495
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Applications must be submitted by March 23, 2021.

Park and Recreation Elements

The City of Marietta in cooperation with the Ohio Department of Transportation, proposes to make improvements to Muskingum Park and Front Street as part of this project. Phase 1 improvements include new curbs and historic lighting along front Street, new sidewalk along Front Street on the river side only, parallel parking spaces on Front Street, access to the park and ADA ramps at Scammel Street, widening the shared-use-path, improvements to the gazebo and rehabilitation of the river landing.

No permanent right-of-way is required. To facilitate construction activities, portions of the park will be temporarily closed at various times to facilitate construction activities and protect the public.

Muskingum Park is a recognized recreational property and is provided protection from adverse impacts associated with federal-aid transportation projects.  

The following measures are being implemented as part of the project:

• Access to East Muskingum Park will be maintained at all times during construction activities.
• Temporary construction fencing will be installed along proposed construction limits prior to the start of construction activities to protect this recreational property and the public.
• The contractor will be required to closely coordinate the construction schedule with the City of Marietta Engineers Office.

No other environmental impacts are anticipated for this project.

The environmental review, consultation and other actions required by applicable Federal environmental laws for this project are being, or have been, carried out by ODOT pursuant to 23 U.S.C. 327 and a Memorandum of Understanding dated December 14, 2020, and executed by FHWA and ODOT.

Click here for Marietta Floodplain Mapping 

Click here for Start Westward Floodplain Development Application

Click here for Marietta Start Westward Comment Sheet

Click Here for Start Westward Comments and Responses

Click here for Marietta Start Westward Aerial - Phase 1

Click here for Start Westawrd Monument pamphlet

Click here for Start Westward Report REVISED

Click here for Start Westward PowerPoint presentation

To see the recording of the February 23, 2021 Start Westward Virtual Public Meeting please visit:

The Northwest Ordinance of 1787 presentation July 15, 2021


For more information and to provide comments about the monument, please go to Start Westward Monument Society

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