Design Competition: Fort Washington Way Decks

Decks Over Fort Washington Way To Connect Central Business District To The Banks

City To Open National Design Competition For Downtown Development

The Riverfront Plan of 2001 that established Smale Riverfront Park, The Banks and the two stadiums downtown is already considered a success.

Now, one more goal of the plan is closer to realization.

The City of Cincinnati, with non-profit and corporate support, is announcing a design competition, "Connect the Blocks," to establish a vision for the decks over Fort Washington Way between Main Street and Elm Street to connect the Central Business District to The Banks. The space could potentially be used as a park, commercial development, or entertainment district but is not limited to those uses.

The pile foundations for the decks were originally constructed during the improvements made to Fort Washington Way in the early 2000s, through a $10 million investment from the City of Cincinnati, Hamilton County, and private investors. Now, the City seeks to develop on those foundations.

"The Banks is well underway, downtown is growing, and now we must begin thinking about what we as a community want to see over Fort Washington Way to connect downtown and the riverfront," said City Manager Milton Dohoney, Jr. "We must first have a common vision of what we want, then we can establish the roadmap to get there."

The City will conduct a Call for Entries in a national design competition for design, architectural, and engineering experts to create design concepts and cost estimates for the decks over Fort Washington Way between Elm Street and Main Street. Local professionals will act as judges in the competition. Monetary stipends will be awarded to between three and five finalists to further refine their designs. 

In order to inform the designs, the public is invited to share ideas and opinions through an online survey.

Additionally, there are two scheduled public meetings:

  • Sept. 26, 2012, 6 p.m., at the Madisonville Recreation Center (5320 Stewart Road, Cincinnati, OH 45227)
  • Oct. 9, 2012, 6 p.m., at the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, Main Branch Tower Room (800 Vine St., Cincinnati, OH 45202)

The public will also be invited to review the finalists’ designs.

The Architectural Foundation of Cincinnati, Inc., a local 501(c)3 organization has agreed to act as a non-profit agent. Also, Craig Maier, President and CEO of Frisch’s Restaurants, and Richard Boehne, President and CEO of E.W. Scripps, Inc. will serve as corporate advocates of the competition, and are spearheading the fundraising for the finalists’ stipends.

The judges will select one winning design. The competition is expected to last 8 months in total. Future construction of this project is anticipated pending the availability of funding.