Smale Riverfront Park

Bill Rinehart / WVXU

Updated at 2:37 p.m.

The Ohio River continues to rise. The National Weather Service says as of midday Tuesday, it was at 55.2 feet and expected to rise to 55.5 feet before cresting in the evening.  Earlier forecasts put the crest at 56.1 feet coming early Wednesday morning.

Bill Rinehart / WVXU

Cincinnati park officials say there was nothing illegal, immoral or unethical about the way Smale Riverfront Park was constructed.

A recent Cincinnati Enquirer article questioned why some of the construction work was done without contract bidding.

Michael E. Keating

There was a lot going on in our region this week, on both sides of the Ohio. In Cincinnati, revelations about how the city's parks department managed construction of Smale Riverfront Park have prompted calls for a review of the department's compliance with city purchasing policies. And in Kentucky the 2016 session of the General Assembly is wrapping up its work.

Tana Weingartner / WVXU

The final piece of this summer's Smale Riverfront Park construction is now open. Cincinnati Parks cut the ribbon Thursday on the Castellini Esplanade and the Portland Loo. The two sit just east of Paul Brown Stadium where Bob Castellini began his produce business.

Bill Rinehart / WVXU

Cincinnati Parks has opened another section of the Smale Riverfront Park.  New sets of porch swings have been installed to the west of the Roebling Suspension Bridge.  Parks Board President Otto Budig Junior says the swings both tie people to the rest of the park, and separate them.

Jonathan Queen is the artist behind the unique animals found in the just-opened Carol Ann’s Carousel in Smale Riverfront Park along the Ohio River.

Tana Weingartner / WVXU

There are more fountains for kids to play in, and adults to enjoy, at Smale Riverfront Park. Cincinnati Parks cut the ribbon Tuesday on the Susan and Joe Pichler Family Fountains on the plaza next to Carol Ann's Carousel. There are water curtains, stair fountains, and a 'Splash and Play' area.

Bill Rinehart / WVXU

Cincinnati Parks has plans to make the region look good for the All-Star Game in July.  Parks director Willie Carden says the park district will increase the number of flowers around Great American Ball Park, including in the planters above Fort Washington Way. There will also be a floral display in Smale Riverfront Park arranged to look like the All-Star logo.

Ann Thompson / WVXU

Cincinnati Parks will open the newest section of Smale Riverfront Park this Saturday.  Eight more features will open by July.  Parks director Willie Carden says normally all the extra upkeep would strain his department's budget, but the department is trying to make the park self-sustaining.

Willie Carden, director of Cincinnati Parks, talks about some of the exciting new features at downtown’s Smale Riverfront Park and when they’ll open for the season with our Barbara Gray.

provided / USS Cincinnati Cold War Memorial Project

Hamilton County is still looking for the best place to build a veterans memorial featuring part of a Cold War era submarine. 

Commissioner Todd Portune says the sail of the USS Cincinnati should be near the Ohio River.

Tana Weingartner / WVXU

All the wooden characters are in place. They bob evenly, up and down, as the carousel spins. It won't be long until children's voices will bounce off the glass walls surrounding Carol Ann's Carousel at Smale Riverfront Park.

Installation is complete and crews are finishing the carousel building and surrounding grounds. A ribbon cutting is set for May 16.

Bill Rinehart / WVXU

While receding flood waters are leaving behind plenty of mud and debris, causing big clean-ups along the Ohio, work on Cincinnati's Smale Riverfront Park isn't being affected.

Mark Heyne / WVXU

The number of porch swings at Smale Riverfront Park is about to increase. 

The first set were opened in 2013, financed by a $250,000 donation from Dianne and J. David Rosenberg.  And the couple has made another, larger, gift for another set of swings.

According to Cincinnati Parks’ spokesperson Manda Hurdelbrink, the Rosenberg’s donated $750,000 for 13 more family-sized swings to be built on the west side of the Roebling Suspension Bridge and south of Mehring Way.  The swings will be part of the Great Lawn, which is still under construction.

This summer will bring the opening of Carol Ann’s Carousel, one of many new attractions at Cincinnati’s Smale Riverfront Park. Steven Schuckman from the City of Cincinnati’s park department talks about the locally designed ride with Barbara Gray.

Shark Girl didn't even have time to say goodbye before the Cincinnati sculpture was whisked away to New York. The Buffalo News reports the Albright-Knox Art Gallery bought the publicly-funded sculpture for an undisclosed sum of money from the artist who made it, Casey Millard.

Shark Girl had been displayed along Cincinnati's riverfront.

Tana Weingartner / WVXU

The Gardner Family Foundation is donating $2.3 million to develop a portion of Smale Riverfront Park. The money will be used to create a rose garden and nearly two acre tree grove.

Peggy Johns says the Gardner Family Grove and Rose Garden is a tribute to her late father Jim.

"My father loved Cincinnati," says Johns. "Roses were a passion for him all his life. My grandfather Gardner was a prize rose grower... and my dad learned how to take care of the roses growing up, that was his chore."

Ann Thompson / WVXU

Cincinnati Council is expected to vote Wednesday to issue $8 million worth of bonds to finish another portion of Smale Riverfront Park.  That borrowing likely will mean city homeowners will not see a decrease in a portion of their city property taxes.

Issuing bonds is essentially the same thing as taking out a mortgage on a house.  You get a large lump sum of money up-front and then pay it back over a long period of time.  The city sets aside a portion of its property tax revenue to make these payments.  

Wump Mucket Puppets ready for fall shows

Sep 6, 2013

Terrence Burke of the Wump Mucket Puppets is just back from the 2013 Puppeteers of America National Puppetry Festival and ready for a couple of local performances: September 15 at Smale Riverfront Park and September 28-29 at CliftonFest in Burnet Woods. He came by our studio to talk with Robyn Carey-Allgeyer about the festival experience and what folks will experience during these September performances.

Were you aware that a brand new carousel is coming to Smale Riverfront Park in 2015? It’ll be at the base of Vine Street with additional trees and water features. Community input is now being accepted for the carousel design, and one place you can see some of the history of Cincinnati parks and attraction is the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County’s downtown branch. Mark Perzel learns more about this exciting new addition to the riverfront, and how listeners can provide input, from Steve Schuckman with the Cincinnati Parks Department and Patricia van Skaik from the library.

Mark Heyne / WVXU News

Not only does the  Duke Energy Garden offer lush gardens, large trees, walking paths and granite seat walls, it has a great view of the Ohio River and Kentucky shoreline, which you can enjoy from family-sized porch swings.  Dianne and David Rosenberg gave $250,000 to the Cincinnati Parks Foundation and Cincinnati Park Board to provide significant funding for the swings.

The new garden is located adjacent to, and east of, the park's Main Street Fountain and Plaza.

Ann Thompson / WVXU

A new green space is coming to the Cincinnati riverfront. Duke Energy is donating nearly a half million dollars over three years to add a garden to Smale Riverfront Park.

Spokesman Blair Schroeder says the plan is create a 'front porch' feel to the city.

"In addition to the lush gardens and large trees, you're going to have your walking paths, you're going to have granite sea walls and, of course, the park will also have large, oversized, family-sized porch swings that are suspended so visitors will have a front row seat to the scenery that passes along the Ohio River."

Seven hundred very courageous men will be honored this weekend. Their service may have kept Cincinnati from falling to the Confederates in the Civil War.

Smale Riverfront Park

Aug 31, 2012
Ann Thompson / WVXU

Behind all the fountains and splash pools at Cincinnati’s Smale Riverfront Park, there is underground technology that saves energy and water. Take a tour with Ann Thompson in Focus on Technology.