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Cincinnati Park Board pumps brakes on planting roses in Ault Park after environmental concerns

Posted at 2:55 PM, Oct 17, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-17 18:51:11-04

CINCINNATI — The plan was to plant roses in Ault Park.

An anonymous donor gifted $1 million to plant the flowers in several sections across the park, but the Cincinnati Park Board has paused that project after a citizen raised concerns about how the move would affect native plants and pollinators.

Julie Rimer, who frequents Ault Park, said uprooting certain species in the park for a rose garden would be “like logging the Amazon.”

“Over a four year period old fashioned roses, climbing roses, and other kinds of roses will be planted in these beds in place of all these native flowers,” Rimer said.

Rimer expressed her concerns at Thursday’s Cincinnati Park Board meeting. Hours later, the board said the project is now paused.

Rocky Merz, business services division manager with Cincinnati Park Board, said he understands the concerns about uprooting the current species of plants.

“We’re going to engage with the donor, our friend at the parks foundation and the community, visit the plans and really come up with a plan that addresses everyone’s concerns,” Merz said.

Some work has already been completed; crews have removed a few plants and have blocked off some parts of the park with a green barrier.

The native plants are staying for now. Park officials said they’ll continue planning, and the project will take shape over the next several years.