Monday, April 12, 2010

Cincinnati Riverfront Park receives $1M gift from Schmidlapp Trusts

At a ceremony on Friday at Eden Park, the Cincinnati Park Board received a $1 million gift from the Jacob G. Schmidlapp Trusts to create the new Jacob G. Schmidlapp Stage and Event Lawn, part of the first phase of Cincinnati Riverfront Park.

Heidi Jark, vice president and manager at the foundation office at Fifth Third Bank, presented the first of two $500,000 checks to Cincinnati Parks Director Willie Carden, Jr., who then passed the check to Board President Marian Lindberg.

"This has put us a mile and a half of where we thought we would be at this point as far as the development of this park is concerned," Lindberg said. "I think this is a continuation of the Jacob Schmidlapp philosophy of community involvement."

Schmidlapp, once president of Fifth Third precursor Union Savings Bank and Trust Company, was one of several partners who established the Cincinnati Model Homes project, responsible for the creation of more than 400 units of low-income housing in the region. As a philanthropist, he was known to have given away millions of his own dollars to fund the arts, health and social services initiatives, education, and community development projects.

The trusts that he established are now in their 108th year.

"Jacob was a very simple man who had a very simple vision, and that was to better the community around him -- to give people the opportunity to do good and to make sure that people had what they needed to succeed in life," Jark said. "And one of the things that he always believed is that we live in a great city here in Cincinnati. And he was really committed to making sure that the city had everything it needed so that it could serve its citizens in the best way."

"Now we have a name for this lawn because of this wonderful gift," Carden said. "What we're doing is bringing the legacy of Mr. Schmidlapp to Cincinnati Riverfront Park, to Greater Cincinnati, and to our region."

The new Jacob G. Schmidlapp Stage and Event Lawn will be adjacent to the Moerlein Lager House to the east, the performance stage to the west, The Banks to the north and Mehring Way to the south. Phase I will also include a bike and mobility center, water features, a tree grove and gardens, a labyrinth, and a monument to the Black Brigade of Cincinnati.

The lawn will be able to accommodate up to 3,000 people and will serve as a green roof to the parking structure below.

The first phase of Cincinnati Riverfront Park is on budget and scheduled to open in spring 2011, according to Cincinnati Parks.

Carden said that the ceremony was a celebration of something "truly spectacular".

"This is why this park is so special – private-public partnerships," he said. "What this million dollars will leverage is a new, great 'great room' for Cincinnati."

Previous reading on BC:
Project manager takes viewers on video tour of Cincinnati Riverfront Park (3/25/10)
Voinovich affirms his support for Cincinnati Riverfront Park (3/22/10)
Park Board seeking artists for Cincinnati Riverfront Park (11/11/09)
Fund established for riverfront park, public artists named (9/21/09)
Cincinnati to enter agreement with Army Corps on riverfront park (7/1/09)