Tour of The Banks – February 2010

Earlier this month just a few hours before a February snow blanketed the Cincinnati area, UrbanCincy was invited on a hard hat tour of The Banks construction site. The event was hosted by Messer Construction as a way to get show off some of the recent progress made along the Ohio River. News was recently made about vertical construction starting above ground, but Messer has been diligently plugging away at the “dirty” work of the project for quite some time now.

As we went through the safety briefing, we were told that the project now stands at over 160,000 hours worked without a lost time accident which was clearly something of which the group was very proud. They have very strict controls in place to help ensure that all the workers are safe and able to put forth their fullest effort, and made sure we followed all their rules as we entered the work site.

After the briefing it was time for a tour, and while our photos from the trip will likely better show you the story of what we saw, the best way to describe this project is BIG. While that is probably evident if you drive by the site, it took on a whole new meaning as we walked around inside the garage.

Once everything is complete, there will be seven acres of parking and you will be able to go in at Paul Brown Stadium and emerge at Great American Ballpark. The best part of course is that these garages will be topped off with development and green space which give it a great multi-use functionality. For perspective, a similar (and much grander) project would be Boston’s “Big Dig.”

The other part of the story that became a bit clearer upon our visit was the difference between The Banks and Central Riverfront Park. While they share much of the same infrastructure, project manager Dave Prather was able to help draw a picture about what the park will offer. If you go past the site these days you will be able to see where the garage stops and everything south of that will be the park, while everything north is considered part of The Banks. According to Mr. Prather, Phase I remains on track with an expected opening in April of 2011 which includes the Moerlein Lager House.

Enjoy the pictures, some of which were taken by Jake Mecklenborg. Messer seemed interested in making these hard hat tours a regular event, so stay with UrbanCincy for more developments as progress on The Banks continue.