Cincinnati Rising: Smale Park

CINCINNATI - 9 News recently reported on downtown Cincinnati's rise back to popularity and fun , showcasing the many areas that have grown in the past five years, bringing more folks to the riverfront area.

Now, each week we'll dig deeper into what it is that's making the city so great to go back to, highlighting businesses, restaurants and new developments.

Read more: From ghost town to night-on-the-town, downtown's rise back to popularity and fun:

This week's feature is the opening of Smale Park.

Parks have long been a staple of the Tri-State community, with great views from Devou Park in Northern Kentucky, the history tied to Bellevue Park near UC's campus and the wide-ranging green spaces on the riverfront at the International Friendship Park and Sawyer Point.

Long had there been a gap between the two stadiums, an eye sore of rubble and overgrown vegetation, but as of May 18, no more.

The opening of Smale Park completes the look for the riverfront on the Ohio side of the river, beautifying a final piece of The Banks to invite more folks to come and enjoy the relaxing scenery in between the bridges.

Smale Park, located on Mehring Way across from the Christian Moerlein Lager House just south of the Freedom Center and east of the Roebling Suspension Bridge, is a project that added up to $40 million and took 15 years to finally complete Phase I.

Designers of the park hope people will come and be enticed to spend the day there.

"The Walnut Street steps and fountain, the challenge to designers, and I think they've met that challenge, to be a point of destination, not only to celebrate the start of our two major streets and Vine Street and Walnut Street, but being sort of Cincinnati's Spanish steps," said Dave Prather of Cincinnati Parks.

Phase I of the park features a majestic marble fountain at the Walnut Street steps, several sprinklers and water jets to run through, multiple seating areas, a large green space in front of a stage that will host live music, the Roebling lawn for picnics, the first section of a bike trail, a Black Brigade Monument, a variety of trees and plants at the Women's Garden and in the Main Street Garden and public restrooms. (See photos above)

Also part of the park's perks, you can bike, park and shower at the new Cincinnati Bike Center.

Workers say it's very convenient to shower if you bike to work.

"For tourists we offer guided tours on bicycles and on Segways as well, which are a lot of fun" said Stephen Cumberworth, an employee at Cincinnati Bike Center. "If you're looking to get your bike repaired or tuned up or just need some parts, something replaced, some accessories lights, locks or something like that. We can do that for you as well."

The park came to fruition thanks to a $20 million donation from the late John and Phyllis Smale, for whom the park was named. John Smale led Procter & Gamble through extraordinary growth as its CEO. 

Future phases of the park construction will expand the green space west of the Roebling Bridge adjacent to Paul Brown Stadium, and will include a cafe, a larger waterfall and fountain at Vine Street and a carousel merry-go-round.

Here's a virtual tour of what the park will look like when all phases are complete (Note to mobile and tablet users, go to a browser version of to see the video)


For more information on Smale Park, visit .

And come back to next week for our next Cincinnati Rising feature.

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