If you live in Cincinnati, you’ve probably been to a Cincinnati Park. Whether you’ve visited Smale Park on the river or Owl’s Nest Park in East Walnut Hills, Mt. Airy Forest on the west side or Rawson Woods in Clifton (or any of the other parks around the City of Cincinnati), you’ve enjoyed the diversity and beauty of these top-rated parks.
Maybe you’ve been to Riverfest at Sawyer Point or a concert at the bandstand at Burnet Woods. Maybe you’ve had a picnic in Mt. Airy Forest or you’ve hiked in California Woods. Even if you’ve spent a lot of time in Cincinnati Parks, there are five things you might not know about them:
1. There are a lot of parks! Five regional parks, 70 neighborhood parks, and 34 nature preserves make up the green spaces covered by Cincinnati Parks. 70% of Cincinnati residents are no more than a 10-minute walk from a park no matter which Cincinnati neighborhood they live in.
2. Cincinnati Parks cost 300,000 residents only about $36 a year, or ten cents a day, in general fund dollars to pay for all of the tremendous benefits they provide. I’m not sure if you could get more for 10 cents anywhere else.
A few examples of what your ten cents covers:
- Fishing at a two-acre pond in Burnet Woods that's stocked with Fathead Minnows, Hybrid Bluegill, Channel Catfish, and Largemouth Bass.
- The Farmer’s Market in Stanbery Park, held Saturdays from May-September, featuring local farmers' and other purveyors’ fruits, vegetables and handmade products.
- Horse trails, a kid-friendly treehouse, rental space for parties, picnic areas and a 120-acre arboretum, featuring more than 5,000 plants, including one of the finest dwarf conifer collections in the Midwest. There are also collections of Ohio plants and trees like azaleas, dogwoods, crabapples, and more.
3. Cincinnati Parks are accessible. It’s important for everyone to have access to parks. Regardless of physical ability, you can enjoy what they have to offer. For example, the treehouse in Mt Airy Forest is the only treehouse in Ohio that is universally accessible; people who use wheelchairs are able to enjoy it just the same as everyone else. There are plenty of other Cincinnati Parks features that are accessible, including Smale Riverfront Park, Ault Park Gardens, all playgrounds, and the Bettman Sensory Garden and Pathway, among others.
4. Cincinnati Parks are designed to bring communities together. Whether you are at a huge gathering like Riverfest or a concert in Washington Park, or even just teaming up like the University of Cincinnati Men’s Basketball program did with the Walnut Hills Redevelopment Foundation, Certified Excellence and GrindFit to clean up and improve the park and basketball courts at Nassau Park.
5. Cincinnati Parks help conservation efforts. Trees and other plants are important. They keep stormwater from causing things like landslides and provide clean air and shade. In order to help advance conservation efforts, Cincinnati Parks has several programs to help Cincinnatians:
- Street Trees: Cincinnati Parks also maintains urban forestry. Street trees, maintained by Cincinnati Parks, helps reduce heating and cooling costs for neighborhood residents, abates stormwater, reduces erosion, increases air quality and decreases noise and visual pollution.
- Stormwater Mitigation: Cincinnati Parks partners with local neighborhoods to mitigate stormwater. For example, the Rapid Run Park project was designed to keep 15 million gallons of stormwater out of the sewer system, which helps prevent overflows into the Mill Creek.
- Fall Releaf: This program helps residents whose streets are too narrow for a street tree, or who have utility lines that conflict with trees. Eligible residents and property owners are provided a tree to plant in their front yard, providing the beauty and energy-saving benefits street trees bring. Funding from the Duke Energy Foundation and the Cincinnati Parks Foundation allow Cincinnati Parks to provide the trees to Cincinnati property owners at no cost to them. To date, 18,000 trees have been planted by this program. If you’re interested in the ReLeaf program, you have until October 4 to apply for this year. Simply head to the Parks’ website to sign up.
Whether you are looking for a memorable experience, recreation, programming, an opportunity to give back or a healthier environment, Cincinnati Parks are there to help.
You can find your new favorite park at Cincinnatiparks.com.