The annual Columbus Day celebration outside of Union Station took on added significance Monday. It was the 100th anniversary of the statue honoring Christopher Columbus at the crowded and confusing Columbus Circle.
That traffic circle is getting a complete makeover, and some hope the statue will, too. It was dedicated 100 years ago by President Howard Taft.
“It was unveiled in a rather grand ceremony right on this very spot back in 1912,” said Patrick Korten of the National Columbus Celebration Association.
In recent years, though, its grand fountain has fallen into disrepair. There is no water in the fountain.
It becomes a homeless camp at night and the fountain pools draw piles of trash instead of sightseeing tourists.
The major, long-term renovation and redesign of the traffic circle already under way should help redirect tens of thousands of vehicles each day and protect thousands of pedestrians who also overwhelm the area.
The street reconstruction project is due to be finished next February, but the Columbus statue will have to wait a while longer.