Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Lawn Clippings: Smale Riverfront Park (Phase 1)

Memorial Day Weekend is already behind us, and so the unofficial mark of Summer begins!  And thus comes the first installment of our family's review of all the city's parks.

• • • • • • • • • •

Louis G. & Phyllis W. Smale Riverfront Park (plan), Cincinnati, Ohio.

I frightened guests at two local pools this past weekend, but it's a personal best for me to even think about removing my shirt on the first holiday opening.  Luckily for onlookers at the initial development of Smale Riverfront Park, I didn't have my suit handy to make it a trifecta.  Nevertheless, we trudged through the 90+ degree heat to scope out the new digs.

Here are a few highlights of our first trip to the new playground along the water's edge (click on the images to view larger w/ captions):

Cincinnati has been awaiting the opening of this new section of the riverfront - "Cincinnati's front yard" - and so far, the results are fantastic.  It's amazing to think that this is just the beginning!

Interestingly, many times the reality of the final project doesn't live up to the expectations I've built in my mind around the initial, exalted concept illustrations (used as lures to develop the project).  But in this case, just the opposite has happened - the park itself has outdone the sketches!

Let's review what was initially planned (Overview + Phase 1):

Overview + Initial Planning, Smale Riverfront Park (2009).

Phase 1 Update, Smale Riverfront Park (April 2012).

Phase 1 Map, Smale Riverfront Park.

Walnut Street Stairs + Bike / Visitors' Center, Smale Riverfront Park.

Schmidlapp Stage & Event Lawn (concept), Smale Riverfront Park.

Tree Grove (concept), Smale Riverfront Park.

Tree Grove + Labyrinth (concept), Smale Riverfront Park.

Now compare these illustrations with visitors' photos (i.e. my full photo set), and then check out the amazing new centerpiece of this long-awaited project for yourself!

Notes: It was in the 90s on Monday, so we didn't spend a huge amount of time outside.  Here are the things we missed: Black Brigade Monument, Tree Grove + Labyrinth (only from afar), Bike Mobility & Visitors' Center + Bike Trail, The Women's Garden, and Main Street Garden.
For next time.

• John G. & Phyllis W. Smale Riverfront Park main site.

• Learn more about Smale Riverfront Park at Sasaki Associates + meet the designers.

• Construction updates for the park here + video updates here.

• Support Cincinnati's Front Yard at Cincinnati Parks Foundation.

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