Construction Pace Picking Up on $120M Smale Riverfront Park Project

As is often the case in construction, warmer weather brings greater progress on the site. This holds true for the $120 million, 45-acre Smale Riverfront Park.

According to project manager Dave Prather, work has picked up in recent months and significant elements of the ongoing phase of work are now becoming visible.

One of the elements that is very quickly nearing completion is the Heekin/PNC Grow Up Great Adventure Playground that sits immediately beside the Roebling Suspension Bridge, and is on schedule to open in spring 2015. Significant progress is also now noticeable on the Vine Street Fountains & Steps, which are almost identical to their existing Walnut Street counterpart, and the Anderson Pavilion.

In the latest video update from Cincinnati Parks, Prather walks viewers through all the progress and mentions that a great deal of additional work will be completed in the near future.

“It’s really starting to come into focus,” Prather said in the 15-minute video update. “The next time we film, which will be in late summer, you’ll see the slides and pick-up sticks in place, all the stone climbing walls will be there, and you’re really be able to get a feel on what we’ll have to offer in this next extension.”

One of the things significantly different about the portion of Smale Riverfront Park west of the Roebling Suspension Bridge is the Anderson Pavilion and Carol Ann’s Carousel. These two features will create the most significant building structure at the central riverfront park to-date, and serve as potential sources of revenue to maintain the sprawling park going forward.

The implementation of the full vision for the park will not come for several years, and is still seeking additional capital funding. Some capital funding help, however, has been found this year in the form of a $4.5 million grant from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The ongoing work is also being aided by $4 million from the City of Cincinnati that was approved last year following a one-time allocation of resources from a property tax supported bond increase in 2013. The recent budget quickly passed 6-3 by City Council, however, included no additional capital support for Smale Riverfront Park.

Project officials estimate that an additional $30 million will be needed to complete the park.

In April, the American Planning Association presented its National Planning Excellence Award for Implementation to Cincinnati for its execution of the Cincinnati Central Riverfront Plan, which included the reconfiguration of Fort Washington Way, and the development of The Banks and Smale Riverfront Park.

VIDEO: Mayeul Akpovi Takes His Photographic Magic to Lyon

We are pretty regularly contacted by readers who would like to submit a guest editorial or share their thoughts on something we have recently published, but it is not all that often that we are contacted by someone like Mayeul Akpovi.

Mayeul sent us a message on Facebook pointing us to his latest video, which is a blend of time lapse and hyperlapse photography techniques, of Lyon. The nearly three-minute video of France’s third largest city is, quite simply, stunning.

The Paris-based web developer describes photography as merely a passion of his, and says that he produced the video from some 8,000 pictures he took over the course of a five-day trip to Lyon earlier this month.

This is not Mayeul’s first jaw-dropping time lapse, cityscape video. In 2013 he put together a four-part series on Paris that was featured on The Urbanophile and profiled by the staff at Vimeo.

Who wants to chip in and buy Mayeul Akpovi a plane ticket to Cincinnati so he can work his magic in the Queen City? Or are there any local photographers out there willing to step up and see if they can hold a candle to his work? Feel free to ping us at editors@urbancincy.com if you do.

VIDEO: 63rd Annual DAAP Fashion Show Highlights Emerging Designers

The 63rd annual DAAP Fashion Show took place on April 25. The event is one of the region’s most anticipated fashion events each year, and is a celebration of the final work produced by fashion design students at the University of Cincinnati’s flagship College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning.

This year’s event was no different, as thousands packed UC’s Campus Recreation Center in the heart of Uptown.

While DAAP is most commonly known for its internationally acclaimed architecture and industrial design programs, its fashion design program was ranked by Fashionista.com as the nation’s 12th best. The program, in particular, is known for graduating a large number of designers that end up working for retailers almost immediately.

The 2014 DAAP Fashion Show was sponsored by Macy’s and the following video was produced by Ashley Kempher with UC’s Creative Services division. A complete set of photos from the show can be viewed here, here and here.

VIDEO: UC Students, Transportation Experts Pitch Their Ideas for Wasson Corridor

As part of UrbanCincy‘s ongoing partnership with the University of Cincinnati’s Community Design Center, we gathered interested members of the public at the Niehoff Studio in Corryville on April 17 to view the work of students studying the Wasson Corridor.

As with previous events we have hosted at the Niehoff Studio, a capacity crowd attended to not only view the student work, but also participate in a panel discussion with regional experts on the topic. At this event, UrbanCincy‘s Jake Mecklenborg moderated the discussion.

The topic of discussion and the proposals put forth by the interdisciplinary students carried even greater weight as the City of Cincinnati allocated $1.9 million for a variety of bike projects, including $200,000 for the Wasson Way Trail. The City has also recently made an offer to purchase the Wasson Corridor for $2 million from Norfolk Southern who abandoned the rail line years ago.

While the Wasson Way Trail envisions a recreational bicycle and pedestrian trail running along the Wasson Corridor, many now view it as a component of a multi-modal transportation corridor that includes a long-planned light rail line.

Mayor John Cranley’s (D) administration appears to be focused on investing in recreational bike/ped trails, which is good, but the development of the Wasson Corridor should include both the proposed recreational trail and room for light rail tracks.

Fortunately, what was once viewed as a project that pitted light rail advocates against biking advocates has changed drastically since UrbanCincy‘s controversial editorial on the matter in 2012. There now appears to be broad consensus from both sides that the corridor should be developed in a comprehensive, multi-modal fashion.

VIDEO: Springtime in Cincinnati Along the Banks of the Ohio River

April is winding down, and our good friend Brian Spitzig put together a time lapse video for us all to enjoy.

The nearly two-minute video showcases a number of unique perspectives, including breathtaking views of the Ohio River and its boat traffic. The video concludes at the banks of the river in Covington; looking back north toward a dazzling fireworks display at the conclusion of a Reds baseball game. Enjoy!