Workers prep for Smale Riverfront Park Grand Opening

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Construction workers are preparing Smale Riverfront Park for a Grand Opening ceremony planned for Friday Evening.

Phase I of the project includes illuminated fountains, a labyrinth, walkways, gardens, a bike rental shop, event lawns, a stage, and the Moerlein Lager House.

Community members are invited out to celebrate starting at 6:15 Friday evening.

The event will include bands, face painting, ice-cream, jugglers, and more. Rozzi's famous fireworks will also go off to celebrate the grand opening.

The park is being constructed with the help of city, state, federal and private funding sources.

Project officials say in addition to providing leisure space, the park will also provide flood mitigation and erosion control along the Ohio River.

The park is expected to bring 1.1 million new visitors to downtown.

The 45 acres of green space will ultimately stretch from the Great American Ball Park to Paul Brown Stadium.

Future phases of the project will extend the park west of the Roebling suspension bridge and include playgrounds, a carousel, gardens, fountains, and a boat dock.

The park is expected to cost $2.5 million per acre.

Phase I of the park is estimated to cost $600,000 per year for the city to operate. Officials are hoping costs will be offset through restaurant and café revenue, special event fees, tax support, endowments and other funding sources.

Parking for visitors is located on Mehring Way. Bike racks are also available.

The park is named after John G. and Phillis W. Smale. John Smale was a former Chairman of Procter and Gamble and gifted $20 million dollars to the Cincinnati Parks foundation in the spring of 2011 as a tribute to his late wife.