City Planning

2013 National Planning Excellence Award

Jan. 10

Central Riverfront Plan Receives 2013 National Planning Excellence Award

A riverfront that many thought would never get redeveloped has been recognized by the American Planning Association as the 2013 National Planning Excellence Award winner in the Implementation category.

Cincinnati Central RiverfrontThe Banks Public Partnership (the City of Cincinnati and Hamilton County) nominated the Cincinnati Central Riverfront Plan, beginning with the reconfiguration of Fort Washington Way through completion of the first wave of The Banks Project development. All 18 APA National Planning Excellence Award recipients will receive their awards in April in Chicago.

The American Planning Association is an independent, not-for-profit educational organization that provides leadership in the development of vital communities. APA and its professional institute, the American Institute of Certified Planners, are dedicated to advancing the art, science and profession of good planning -- physical, economic and social -- so as to create communities that offer better choices for where and how people work and live. The prestigious APA national awards program is the profession's highest honor.

Based on a plan drafted in 1997 under a joint effort of the City of Cincinnati, Hamilton County, and OKI Regional Council of Governments, the first wave of central riverfront redevelopment activity (from 1998 to 2002) reconstructed Fort Washington Way (the freeway separating the project area from the Central Business District), recapturing land and allowing two new sports stadia to replace the 1960s-era Riverfront Stadium and the construction of The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. The second wave -- The Banks Project, the signature riverfront development funded and executed by The Banks Public Partnership and Riverfront Renaissance joint venture of Carter and The Dawson Company -- broke ground in 2008 to create a 24/7 downtown neighborhood on the banks of the Ohio River. And at the same time, in 2008, the Cincinnati Park Board, with City and County support, broke ground on a new riverfront park, immediately adjacent to The Banks. Funded by a mix of State, City and Federal funds, and a significant amount of private funding, the new park -- Smale Riverfront Park -- was designed to be the new front yard for the region and the front door for downtown and for The Banks.

Entitled "Cincinnati, Ohio Central Riverfront Re-Birth Through Planning," the submission to APA reviews how an enlightened vision, excellent plan, and on-time implementation of the plan resulted in the transformation of the Central Riverfront's acres of surface parking and tired stadium. The results are now an emblem of great civic pride -- the new Fort Washington Way, Great American Ball Park, Paul Brown Stadium, intermodal transit center, spectacular riverfront park, 6,000 parking spaces topped with 300 apartments and 76,000 square feet of commercial space.

According to The Banks Project Executive John Deatrick, PE, AICP: "This honor from the American Planning Association is testimony to the tenacity and partnership of the City and the County elected officials and staffs in holding to their plan and to the vision of The Banks Working Group and the groups that came before them. When you add to that an enlightened developer and the countless hours invested by members of the federal and state financing partners, and the banking, development, construction, legal, leasing and marketing teams involved, it is easy to see why it is a success."

About The Banks

The Banks Public Partnership is a working partnership between the City of Cincinnati and Hamilton County. The Partnership's goal is to ensure timely, safe, efficient and inclusive management of the public infrastructure portion of The Banks project and deliver the best value for the public investment in parking facilities, street grid, streetscape and public park. With an investment of $128 million in the public infrastructure, the Partnership's work lays the foundation for the residential, dining, recreation and entertainment venues at The Banks—a new gateway to the Riverfront where the people of Cincinnati live, work and play.

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