Downtown Jacksonville can learn a lot about placemaking in public spaces by looking at two successful urban parks in Cincinnati, Ohio: Cincinnati’s Fountain Square and Washington Park.
Fountain Square is a park very similar in size to Downtown Jacksonville’s Hemming Plaza and was renovated in 2006. It is active space with tables, chairs, lunchtime crowds and events held every night throughout the summer. It is also the central gathering place for celebrations in Cincinnati including New Year’s and the “Light Up The Square” holiday event.
Another popular Cincinnati park, Washington Park, opened in August 2012. Washington Park is a grass park with a dog walk and a neighborhood feel, similar to Jacksonville’s Confederate Park.
Each park was renovated at a cost of $50 million, which included the cost to construct parking garages under them. Both have annual budgets of approximately $2.5 million, which are spent on security, programming, cleanliness, promotions and other activities. A major source of revenue comes from holding third-party events in these parks.
A Cincinnati Center City Development Corporation (3CDC) presentation given to the Urban Land Institute this fall provides great photos of Fountain Square and Washington Park. You can find the presentations at the links below:
Fountain Square Park presentation and photos
Washington Park photos presentations and photos
We believe both spaces provide great case studies for the reactivation and revitalization of Hemming Plaza. What improvements would you like to see made to Hemming Plaza?