CINCINNATI — College Hill will soon have a park that helps revitalize Hamilton Avenue while honoring a hometown hero.
The park will be located on what is now a gravel lot at 5923 Hamilton Avenue. Two buildings used to occupy the space but were torn down years ago. The College Hill Community Urban Redevelopment Corporation decided to develop the small park space, known as a pocket park.
"The pocket park provides us an opportunity to break up the business district, give a place for the community to gather, the new residents to have a place to go to," said Seth Walsh, executive director of the College Hill Community Urban Redevelopment Corporation (CHURC).
The cost was $500,000.
"We raised $380,000 through various means from the city of Cincinnati's grant programs," but finding the additional funding was difficult.
However, Walsh said someone recently approached him inquiring about the status of the park and what the name would be. Walsh said the couldn't move forward with the park without the rest of the money. The individual came back weeks later to say they had it.
"They had actually gone out to ten or 15 different College Hill families and had raised the money to name it after Patrick Wolterman," said Walsh.
Wolterman was a Hamilton firefighter who died Dec. 28, 2015, while responding to a fire detectives would later discover had been caused by arson. He grew up in College Hill, and many of his family members and friends still live there.
After Wolterman's death, the Hamilton Fire Department realized it didn't know a healthy way to grieve
"Everybody knows who Patrick is," Walsh said. "People are incredibly honored to have this ability to name the park after him."
It will be the Patrick Wolterman Memorial Park.
"We are so grateful to our family friends for coming together to honor Patrick's life and sacrifice with this monumental gift," his family wrote in a statement. "We do not know how to adequately thank them enough. This park will be a memorial to not only Patrick, but all of our fallen heroes. We are excited to see the continued revitalization of the College Hill business district and we cannot wait to see this park open to the public in the fall."
So far, plans for the park include a stage, green space and seating. It will be next door to the Marlowe Court apartments for seniors.
"it's gonna have a concrete pad around it that give an opportunity for food vendors, do farmers markets, et cetera," Walsh said. He also said residents had already requested a tree-lighting event during the holidays.
Meanwhile, business owners in the area see the park as a perfect addition to Hamilton Avenue. Jymii Crawford, the manager of Rasheedah's Café directly across the street from where the park will be built, said the business has grown since his mother moved it to College Hill five years ago. The park could increase foot traffic even more.
"If families are at the park and they get hungry and want something to eat, and or people just might be jogging or working out and may just need something to drink, we're for that also," Crawford said.
Walsh expects construction to begin in April with a grand opening of the park set for September.
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