Monday, August 16, 2010

Washington Park reconstruction to begin with careful excavation

The $47.3 million reconstruction of Over-the-Rhine's Washington Park is expected to begin on Tuesday.

Crews will begin installing temporary fencing around a two-acre section at the north end of the park that currently houses the playground and pool.

Project partners 3CDC and the Cincinnati Park Board have hired archaeological and historic preservation firm Gray & Pape to carefully assess and excavate the section, which contained an Episcopal and a Presbyterian cemetery prior to the City's acquisition of the property in 1855.

That work will begin next Monday, and any human remains that are found will be catalogued and reintermed at Spring Grove Cemetery and Arboretum.

The excavation process should take about a month, and the remainder of the park, including the 14th Street surface parking lot and the restroom building, will remain open.

3CDC will provide weekly updates to the media on its excavation findings and next steps beginning on August 30 at 4 p.m. at Emanuel Community Center, 1308 Race Street.

A large investment

Eventually, the north end of the park will contain a $27 million, 450-space underground parking garage with a green roof, allowing the park to expand from six to eight acres.

Within the remainder of the park, $20.3 million will be invested in a 37,000-square-foot event lawn and stage, a centerpiece fountain, picnic tables and seating, a dog park, children's playground, walkways, restrooms, a concession building, and new lighting and irrigation. The historic bandstand and other important architectural elements will be restored and retained.

The project is expected to create 920 construction jobs. A primary contractor has yet to be named.

Work is scheduled for completion in November 2011.

The redevelopment of Washington Park is expected to complement 3CDC's work in the surrounding neighborhood. Phases one through four of its Gateway Quarter project have resulted in the development of 246 residential units and just over 121,000 square feet of commercial space in Over-the-Rhine.

Previous "Washington Park" stories on BC:
Washington Park rezoning allows parking garage (8/9/10)
Washington Park receives $5M for garage, outreach reception planned (7/27/10)
Cincinnati committee approves $14M package for Washington Park (6/28/10)
Dohoney: City addressing Washington Park issues (10/10/08)
Washington Park homeowners 'no longer willing to accept' park nuisance (9/10/08)