08 June 2010

Week Off and Washington Park

In an attempt to get some work done (and to enjoy my evenings) I am turning my internet browser off for about a week... so no posts for a bit after this.

Before I go, A few thoughts.

First, has the weather been awesome here or what? That early Sunday morning rain storm cleared the humid air out and made for some of the most beautiful weather ever to be had in Cincinnati. Look for the oppressive humidity to return later this week. The only solution for the humidity is... the pool.

We have joined a pool club, and totally enjoy it. We are finding a new summer community to hang with, but are feeling a bit disconnected from our downtown neighbors more already.

Secondly, my wife and I, and a neighbor met with the manager of the Washington Park reconstruction. I guess we were squeaky wheels enough to merit a meeting in which we discussed many of our concerns. We discussed the removal of some trees and we got very specific. My wife especially pushed for the saving of a particular large Linden tree and the Catalpas near the new playground. The guy acted sympathetic, but we didn't get anywhere.

Same with the playground. I wanted to push for more stuff for older kids, but they had already travelled to different cities to see successful playgrounds and had made up their minds on the different play equipment. I still would like some traditional swings, a long rope swing and some ball play stuff like tetherball, basketball or small soccer goals. But none of that is included.

The weirdest aspect of the Park is the elimination of the on-street parking surrounding the park on all 4 sides. What is so strange is that the curb will remain where it is, which means that there will just be 50-60 empty parking spaces surrounding the park. To me, if they are serious on this issue, they should just move the curb out eight feet and create a wide, 20' brick sidewalk all the way around the park, with bollards at the curb. The way it is currently planned, the "no-parking" is just signage, and could be easily changed later.

Generally I like the plan, especially the oval lawn. The overall weakness, I think is that the park features are inward facing, and the perimeter of the park has no seating or assembly areas. I think that this (and the parking issue) are a response to the current problem of people partying while sitting in their cars. I agree that this is sometimes a problem, but I believe it is more a policing problem, not a reason to have empty asphalt surrounding the park.

UPDATE: Picture of said Linden Tree:


Unknown said...

Mike (and Catherine, Martha, et al.), thanks for your efforts -- though it seems officials were deliberate in waiting to unveil plans until any public suggestions for changes would come too late. With new playground, replacement of pool with sprayground, etc., there seems to be an assumption that people over age 10 don't need to exercise and have fun. We'll never make a dent in the obesity epidemic if it keeps getting harder for whole families and communities to recreate together (as opposed to parents sitting on the sidelines while their young kids play). And yeah, minimum maintenance and short-term impact (e.g., a photogenic playground that's actually not all that fun) always seem to trump maximum benefit and long-term enjoyment. Can't we try another way?

Radarman said...

I have mixed feelings about Catalpas. They, like Ailanthus and Mulberry, are urban opportunists, crowding out higher class growth like your Linden. It would be nice to see some of the new Elm varietals.

CityKin said...

People think of them as dirty, but kids love the huge catalpa leaves and the bean pods. I think they are a step above Mulberries and fara above Ailanthus. I've heard Ailanthus's called stink trees or weed trees and I would never argue for saving one of them as they also are pretty fragile and short-lived

Dave said...

Did you get a sense that there was an scheme to maximize the municipal underground parking revenues by eliminating the parking around the perimeter of the park?

McEwan said...

I love catalpas.

And thanks for working on that other stuff, too ;)