Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Great Cincinnati Parks: The Smale Riverfront Park

Dear George,
I think the Cincinnati and Hamilton County park systems are terrific.  Since retiring, I spend more and more time there, usually with the sheepdogs.  Sometimes we go to Burnet Woods in our immediate neighborhood, sometimes to Miami Whitewater Forest twenty miles away, and other times to lots of points in between.  The newest gem in the system is the 45-acre John G. & Phyllis W. Smale Riverfront Park in downtown Cincinnati.  It's on the banks of the Ohio River, looking across toward Newport and Covington, with the Reds' Great American Ballpark to the immediate west and the Bengals' Paul Brown Stadium to its east.  Smale Park’s western boundary is next to the Roebling Suspension Bridge, completed in 1866.  Despite Cincinnati’s being a river town, we've always felt sort of disconnected from the water because of lack of ready access.  Smale Park changes all that, opening up the riverfront to pedestrians from the heart of downtown.   

Smale Park opened in May 2012, and sections are still under construction. Park costs are estimated to be $2.5 million per acre (a seemingly huge amount, though considerably less that the $17.6M per acre for Chicago's Millennium Park).  John G. Smale, former CEO of Procter & Gamble, gave the city a gift of $20 million for the construction of the park in honor of his late wife, Phyllis W. Smale, who had worked for decades to enhance the city park system.  The eventual total cost of the park will be an estimated $120 million.  Current features of the Park include the Walnut Street Stairway, Fountain, and Cascades; the Public Lawn and the Jacob G. Schmidlapp Stage; the Moerlein Lager House; the Black Brigade Monument, a tribute to African-American soldiers who fought in the Civil War; the Promenade; Tree Groves; the meditative Labyrinth; the Main Street Fountain; a Bike Trail; the Women's Committee Garden; and the Duke Energy Garden. Phase II of the Park will continue west of the Roebling Bridge and will include an elegant wooden carousel with 44 animal rides.  I’ve made a couple of photo trips to Smale Park in recent weeks.  Here’s how it’s looking these days.

The Walnut Street Stairway

The Cascades

The Cascades

Fountain near the Walnut Street Stairway

The Public Lawn

The Promenade

River View from the Promenade

The Roebling Bridge from Smale Park

The Jacob G. Schmidlapp Stage

The Moerlein Lager House

At the Black Brigade Monument (the Black Brigade exchanging a sword with Cincinnati's mayor)

At the Black Brigade Monument (mother and son) 

The Labyrinth

The Main Street Stairway

The Main Street Fountain

The Women’s Committee Garden

SOURCES: www.mysmaleriverfrontpark.org; www.yelp.com ("Smale Riverfront Park") 

G-mail Comments
-Vicki L (8-7): Hi David,  Seems like age 76 is a very 'out and about' time for you. Thanks for sending along your always interesting blog.…  Say hi to Katja and 'the kids' ..... let's try to muscle in a phone call sometime after my brood departs (8/25).   Love, vicki

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