This project successfully renewed and expanded a disinvested urban park in Cincinnati’s historic Over-the-Rhine neighborhood. Following the fortunes of the neighborhood, use of the park declined, and its facilities deteriorated over the latter half of the 20th century.
Today, the neighborhood is enjoying a renaissance, and the City of Cincinnati, its Recreation Commission and Park Board, and the Cincinnati Center Development Corporation (3CDC) saw an opportunity to further the neighborhood’s comeback by revitalizing Ziegler Park. A series of community workshops, led by glaserworks and landscape architects Human Nature, Inc. produced the following objectives for the new Ziegler Park:
- Improve the park’s role as a desirable neighborhood destination, an urban oasis and a recreational hub
- Create a diverse urban gathering place for the neighborhood
- Complement the mixed use neighborhood that surrounds the park
- Celebrate the park’s urban context and linkages with major assets
- Satisfy the social and recreational needs and desires of the community
- Serve as a catalyst for community revitalization
- Provide a place that is welcoming and safe for everyone
- Address the community’s need for parking
The new 1.4 acre urban park includes:
- Aquatics facility – deep-water pool, climbing wall and sprayground
- 400-car underground parking garage, topped with a large, open play field and track/promenade
- Play areas for structured and unstructured play
- Basketball courts, ping pong and game tables, and bocce and futsal facilities
- Bike share stations
- A variety of seating and picnic areas
The new park spans two blocks, divided from north to south by Sycamore Street but joined by a new, formal, pedestrian path running east to west. The two halves of the park have different functions but similar character. The east park contains parking and is mostly open to accommodate large events and games like soccer or football. The west park comprises the aquatics facilities, playgrounds, and smaller, defined seating and play areas.
Sycamore Street and the new east/west promenade connect the park to the cardinal points of the neighborhood, while its increased frontage should prove a boon to surrounding residences and businesses. A new connection to the local community center, located on the northwest border of the park, further strengthens the park’s identity as a neighborhood destination.