New Smale Park opening to the public Friday

CINCINNATI - It appears the City of Cincinnati is trying to give Newport on the Levee a run for its money with the completion of yet another project along the banks of the Ohio river.

Smale Park, a project that added up to $40 million and took 15 years to complete, will officially open to the public during an event on Friday at 6:15 p.m.

The park will open at a dedication ceremony at Mehring Way between Walnut Street and Joe Nuxhall Way and will feature a concert, fireworks, free ice cream and much more. The public is invited to the free event.

For months there has been a lot of construction noise outside Lori Noelker Knight's apartment at Current at the Banks.

Knight has been able to watch the John and Phyllis Smale Riverfront Park come to life.

Thanks to a $20 million donation from the late couple, the first phase of the project is near completion.

"We all that live here at the Banks want it to happen quicker, but we know that things like this take time. The fountain is majestic. They were testing it last night with the lights. Just incredibly beautiful," said Knight as she walked her dog Grace along Mehring Way Wednesday.

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

"The Walnut Street steps and fountain is the challenge to designers and I think they've met that challenge is 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.

Big and little people can run through a fountain near a seating area near the Freedom Center and Roebling Suspension Bridge.

You can also bike, park and shower at the new Cincinnati Bike Center on Mehring Way.

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. A lot of fun. 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," said Stephen Cumberworth, an employee at Cincinnati Bike Center.

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