Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Washington Park will expand

Cincinnati Public Schools (CPS) has agreed to a land transfer that will allow for the future expansion of Washington Park, according to a media release issued yesterday.

Details of the partnership between CPS and the Cincinnati Park Board, which would transfer the site of the former Washington Park School, are still being negotiated.

3CDC facilitated the deal that will allow for the construction of a 600-700 space underground parking garage and the expansion of the 6-acre park north to 14th Street.

CPS demolished the school in fall 2007 to create a temporary parking and staging area for construction of the new $72 million School for Creative and Performing Arts.

Citizens' groups and local agencies, including the Over-the-Rhine Foundation, had expressed concerns over what they felt was vague language contained in a 2003 agreement in which the City sold 4.6 acres within Turkey Ridge Park (BIRD'S EYE) to CPS for construction of Riverview East Academy.

In exchange, CPS agreed to transfer 13.8 acres of property to the Park Board, stating in the agreement that they would "use [their] best efforts to investigate the possibility of transferring surplus school properties in Over-the-Rhine to the City to be controlled by the Park Board for greenspace".

Concerns over the contract language likely have been put to bed.

"We are very grateful to CPS and its administration for working with us to make this important land transfer," says Willie Carden, director of the Park Board. "Expanding green space in an urban park is an opportunity that doesn’t come along every day. This will not only enhance the beauty of Washington Park, it will serve as a national model for other urban neighborhoods."

The planning and design effort will be led by the Park Board and 3CDC with input from the Washington Park Master Plan Steering Committee.

Costs for the planning and design will be paid by 3CDC.

A construction timeline for the project will not be set until further input is gathered from the community and a final plan is approved.

Image credit: 3CDC

Previous reading on BC:
Dohoney says City will enforce agreement over CPS land (5/8/08)
Morgan says City, 3CDC 'diminishing rights of citizens' (3/31/08)
City reports on Washington Park greenspace (11/19/07)
OTR Foundation asks City to look into CPS contract (10/19/07)