June 3rd, 2013 By Jayna Barker | Arts | Posted In: Architecture

Park Board Accepting Design Ideas for Riverfront Carousel

New carousel at Smale Riverfront Park to express Cincinnati's character and history

carouselGlass enclosure for the new carousel
Construction is underway for a 1,661-square-foot glass-enclosed carousel to sit at the foot of Vine Street overlooking the Ohio River, and ArtWorks is currently working with Cincinnati Parks and the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County to gather input from Cincinnati residents for possible design ideas.

The Carol Ann’s Carousel was named to honor the life and philanthropy of Carol Ann Haile, according to the information page at mysmaleriverfrontpark.org, and is being funded by a $5 million donation from the Carol Ann and Ralph V. Haile, Jr./U.S. Bank Foundation. 

It will sit in a tree-lined plaza amongst a two-story staircase, water cascade and a series of water curtains. The plaza’s lower level will hold a conference center and offices, which will open up to Mehring Way and overlook the lower area of the park. The riverfront carousel is slated to open May 2015.

There will be 44 animals and characters featured on the carousel’s platform, and community engagement sessions are currently being hosted in order to gather as many ideas as possible. The public is invited to share their ideas until June 9, when later the park design team will decide on the final designs based on the city’s suggestions.

Carousel Works of Mansfield, Ohio, the world’s largest wooden carousel manufacturer, will hand carve and paint each animal and character chosen. Ideas are also being gathered for several mural scenes to be painted on the carousel. Jonathan Queen, a local artist, will paint based on what citizens deem what makes Cincinnati unique — its parks, traditions, landmarks. 

This riverfront icon will offer a standard two-minute ride and operate year-round.



06.05.2013 at 10:24 Reply

It's a shame that there's been NO long term planning in this!


The modern design will look worn and dated in 10 years. For that matter, most of the buildings that make up the Banks are going to look depressed and dated in 10 years. (The drab gray on a couple of them is just down right depressing!) 


Great they got funding to build it, but who pays for it over the long term? And just how much will this cost the residents of Cincinnati? (Those water works fountains are great if you run a mall and can pass that expense off to the tennants! But in a public setting? There's the cost to check the water, the cost of the water, the electricity to run them AND the lights, the light bulbs, etc...They're too expensive! Besides? Just how many kids are living at the Banks?)


There's no easy access parking--unless you want to pay to park in an over flow cassino lot? Parks should be free and easy to access!


Then again? Someone mind explaining to me just WHY does the riverfront need a labyrinth, a carousel, steps, an elevator, fountains that need to have the water checked 3 times a day and with lights??? This park is out of control and lacking a long term vision for what people NEED, not what some fool in the city is building as a shrine to make a mark! And the bottom line is who's going to use it and how much is it going to cost? Again, questions that NO ONE in the city has addressed! This park is the street car's twin seperated at birth!