Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Duke Energy Garden newest Smale feature

This year's additions to Smale Riverfront Park are in full swing.

Twelve oversized family swings, suspended from undulating pergolas overlooking the Ohio River, to be exact.

The attraction, located east of the park's Main Street Fountain and Plaza, is part of the new Duke Energy Garden, which was dedicated yesterday morning by the City of Cincinnati, Duke Energy, and the Cincinnati Park Board. The garden also includes large trees and landscaping, walking paths, and granite seating areas.

The swings received significant funding through a $250,000 gift to the Park Board and the Cincinnati Parks Foundation by Dianne and J. David Rosenberg. The Duke Energy Foundation contributed $450,000 to the garden project.

Cincinnati Park Board President Otto Budig, Jr. joked about the swings' immediate popularity.

"It's very clear that we're going to have to issue 15 minute tickets for these swings," he said.

Vice Mayor Roxanne Qualls agreed, saying that the Duke Energy Garden will enrich the lives of everyone in Cincinnati – and the region.

"It took no 'energy' to be able to move it," she said. "We're going to see people throng down to this park due to this newest addition."

"I think it will be a huge success, and one of the most popular parts of the park," said Cincinnati Parks Foundation President Judy Dalambakis. "This is a game changer for this City."

An economic engine

Phase I of Smale Riverfront Park opened one year ago and has already been cited by economists as being a meaningful contributor to the economic growth of the riverfront and Downtown. The United States Army Corps of Engineers estimates that the park will attract 1.1 million new visitors annually.

More than $42 million already has been raised or leveraged to build the park.

"It's already an economic engine," Budig said. "It's bringing people from the City, and from the region. There are numbers we've never seen before."

Additional features scheduled to open this year will more than double the size of the park.

The Women's Committee Garden, located just west of the labyrinth, will open later this month. An extension of the Ohio River Trail to Paddlewheel Park will be completed this fall.

And next spring, the Heekin/PNC Grow Up Great Adventure Playground will open west of the John A. Roebling Suspension Bridge. A 1,000-foot transient boat dock is scheduled for completion in May 2015.

Carousel, the future up for view

All of these features are highlighted in a spring 2013 construction update by Project Manager Dave Prather – including the first concept renderings of the glass-enclosed carousel building that will be installed in 2015.

Last month, the City issued a call for letters of interest from prospective firms to develop and manage the two-story 5,000-square-foot building, which would also be used as a 300-seat banquet/meeting center and would include fountains, a plaza, restrooms, and park maintenance facilities. It would be built along the north side of Mehring Way, in the vicinity of the alignment of Vine (Rosa Parks) Street.

Carousel Works, of Mansfield, Ohio is working with ArtWorks on the carousel's design (chime in here), which should be completed later this spring.

Until the park's finished, you can see an animated "flyover" video of what the 45-acre park will look like when completed, narrated by Cincinnati Parks Superintendent of Planning and Design Steve Schuckman.


1. Riverwalk.

2. Awesome. Pay me $63,873/hr to do this.

3. From a swing.


5. Pshtt..."labels", right?


7. Macro attempts....


9. This one turned out best.


Previous reading on BC:
Video: Smale Riverfront Park to more than double in size this May (3/18/13)
Dohoney: Parking Modernization Plan opens revenue stream, keeps City control (2/21/13)
Cincinnati riverfront plan wins national award (1/11/13)
Smale project manager details continuing construction in video update (12/19/12)
Duke Energy provides $450K for Smale garden (10/31/12)