COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Dr. Amy Acton will exit RAPID 5 — a nonprofit project seeking to boost public access to central Ohio waterways, parks, and trails — a little more than a year after she was first named its CEO and president.

RAPID is an acronym for “River And Parks + Imagination + Design.” The “5” references the five big waterways in the region, including the Big Darby Creek, Scioto River, Olentangy River, Alum Creek and Big Walnut Creek. The Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission and Urban Land Institute of Columbus have collaborated on the project.

Keith Myers, RAPID 5’s chair of its board of directors, said on Tuesday that Acton was “invaluable” as the nonprofit got its feet on the ground.

“In short order, Dr. Acton led the successful effort to establish RAPID 5’s 501c3 status, form a Board of Directors and raise $3 million in startup funding and commitments,” Myers wrote in an email statement.

That board will now “lead the way” moving forward, both Myers and Acton said.

“It has been an honor to engage our community around this vision to connect us to nature and one another,” Acton wrote in an email statement.

Acton became a household name for many Ohioans during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. The former Ohio Department of Health director appeared alongside Gov. Mike DeWine at his daily press conferences — garnering both wide praise and some intense backlash during her tenure. Acton left the state agency in June 2020.

RAPID 5 itself also stemmed from COVID-19, when people were venturing into parks more frequently under shutdown orders.