The Cincinnati Park Board received a $5 million donation from the Carol Ann & Ralph V. Haile, Jr./U.S. Bank Foundation today to construct the carousel at Smale Riverfront Park.
The money will not only fully fund the project, but it will allow it to be operational in time for the 2015 All-Star Game to be hosted at the nearby Great American Ball Park.
The project had been positioned to receive $4 million from the City of Cincinnati’s parking modernization and lease plan, but ongoing litigation and a forthcoming ballot referendum have left those funds in limbo.
According to park officials, the new carousel will be built at the foot of Vine Street on a tree-lined plaza filled with water features similar to those found near Walnut Street in phase one of Smale Riverfront Park.
The plaza will include a lower-level with a banquet center and park offices, and the upper-level will become the home of the glass-enclosed carousel.
“This carousel is a gift to the Cincinnati Parks Foundation honoring the life and philanthropy of Carol Ann Haile,” Tim Maloney, President/CEO of the Haile Foundation, stated in a prepared release. “The sparkle, whimsy and pure fun this carousel will provide is a direct reflection of Carol’s sparkling personality.”
In honor of Carol Ann Haile, the facility will be named the Carol Ann Carousel, and become an iconic feature of what will eventually be a 45-acre riverfront park.
While a carousel has been part of the Smale Riverfront Park plans for years, it comes on the heels of an announcement in Atlanta where a 180-foot ferris wheel will be built at Centennial Olympic Park.
Cincinnati’s 44-seat carousel, with folding glass door walls, will be open year-round starting in May 2015. Riders will be required to pay a small cost to ride, but the cost has not yet been determined.
So far park officials have completed a significant amount of work on the first two phases of Smale Riverfront Park, and will begin future phases as funding is made available.