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PNC Foundation donates nearly $500K to Smale Park construction

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CINCINNATI - The PNC Foundation, the philanthropic arm of PNC Bank, committed close to a half-million dollars in funding toward the continuing construction of the Smale Riverfront Park Thursday.

The foundation is donating $450,000 to the park for an interactive children's playground, which will be known as the PNC Grow Up Great playground. The playground is tentatively planned to be east of the Roebling Suspension Bridge, which bisects the park.

The donation is part of the foundation's signature cause, Grow Up Great, which is a $350 million initiative to enhance early childhood education and school readiness, according to PNC.

The roughly $120 million park is part of Cincinnati's effort to revitalize the riverfront and downtown. Civic leaders hope The Banks, the Horseshoe Casino and the park will help make the riverfront the destination spot developers want it to be.

Phase I of the park, which opened in 2012, includes the Walnut Street Fountain and Stairs, the Black Brigade Monument, the labyrinth, the east tree grove, the Main Street Fountain, the event lawn and bike center.

Work on Phase II park features is expected to begin in 2013, with the construction of the Vine Street Fountain and Stairs and the Cincinnati Carousel. Most of the construction done this year will be conducted east of the Roebling Suspension Bridge.

Funding for the park includes a mixture of federal, state, city and private funds with approximately $80 million in public funds and $20 million in private for the 45-acre park.

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