After years of planning and construction, the first phase of a major park along Cincinnati’s riverfront will open next month.
The Cincinnati Park Board will hold a grand opening ceremony for Phase I of the Smale Riverfront Park on May 18. It’s located along Mehring Way between Walnut Street and Joe Nuxhall Way downtown, near the Roebling Suspension Bridge.
A brief dedication ceremony will begin at 6:15 p.m., followed by a free concert featuring various local bands.
Also, there will be jugglers and face painters to entertain children and free ice cream while supplies last. At dusk, there will be a fireworks display.
The $120 million park’s first portion includes fountains, walkways, a bike center, gardens, a large event lawn and stage, a labyrinth, the Black Brigade Monument, a tree grove and restaurant.
A paddle wheel park and public landing to accommodate boats will be built and open by spring 2013.
Built with a combination of local, state and federal funding, the 45-acre park will extend from the east at Great American Ball Park to Paul Brown Stadium to the west, when fully completed in 2015.
The park’s design began with several public meetings and focus groups held in 1998.
The Cincinnati Parks Department and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are overseeing the park’s design and construction. Once completed, the Cincinnati Park Board will operate the venue.