Smale Riverfront Park - Under Construction
Construction for the new forty-five-acre Smale Riverfront Park is under way. It will be a park for the generations . . including fountains, walkways, gardens, event lawns, playgrounds and restaurants—will contribute to the emotional and physical health of its citizens; to the economic vitality of the region and to the exceptional quality of life and experience to be cultivated and enjoyed throughout the area.
The first piece of public art to be commissioned in Smale Riverfront Park will be a monument to Cincinnati’s little-known Black Brigade. The Black Brigade was formed in 1862 to construct barricades to defend Cincinnati from Confederate attack. Initially, members of the Black Brigade were forced into service. Then, after a public outcry, 700 African-American men volunteered for the service and formed The Black Brigade—which, with many others, successfully built the critical fortifications in Northern Kentucky.
The monument’s concept calls for it to be built into the earth, much like the original Black Brigade fortifications. It will consist of bronze statues and plaques, interpretive signs, and carved stones which will include the names of all 700 members of the brigade.
After over a decade of waiting, on May 18, Smale Riverfront Park will open with a bang, literally.
A firework display and local bands will commemorate the first phase of construction opening to the public. Phase 1 includes the Schmidlapp event lawn and stage, the Black Brigade Monument, the Bike, Mobility and Visitor's Center, The Smale Tree Grove and the first section of the bike trail. Other Phase 1 features, including the labyrinth, are expected to be open by the fall.
The first piece of commissioned art in Smale park, the Black Brigade monument, pays tribute to the often overlooked group of 700 African-American men who volunteered to build a barricade to defend Cincinnati from a confederate attack during the Civil War in 1862.
"It is a very significant moment in Cincinnati's and the country's social history," says Joyce Kamen, public information officer for Smale Riverfront Park. "Cincinnati was on the river that separated slavery from freedom and many of the men who volunteered ended up serving in the North's military."
The sculpture will have three life-size bronze sculptures, interpretive panels of the monument and several relief panels.
By PETER LATTMAN
Published: November 20, 2011
John G. Smale, who as chief executive led Procter & Gamble through a period of extraordinary growth, and then helped engineer a turnaround of General Motors as its chairman, died on Saturday at his home in Cincinnati. He was 84.
Mr. Smale ran Procter & Gamble from 1981 until 1990. During his tenure the company strengthened its position internationally, pushing aggressively into Eastern Europe and Asia. He also oversaw a series of major acquisitions, including the $1.2 billion purchase of Richardson-Vicks in 1985. The largest deal in Procter & Gamble’s history at the time, it brought the company well-known brands including Vicks cold medicine, Olay skin care products and Pantene shampoo.
He joined the company in 1952 after responding to an advertisement in a Chicago newspaper looking for brand managers. Starting in what was then called the toilet goods division, Mr. Smale earned his stripes managing Procter & Gamble’s new Crest toothpaste brand. He persuaded the American Dental Association to endorse the toothpaste, a pioneering agreement at the time.
His wife of 56 years, the former Phyllis Weaver, died in 2006. He is survived by four children, John Gray Jr., Peter, Catherine Anne Caldemeyer and Lisa Smale Corbett; and five grandchildren.
Mr. Smale was a major figure in Cincinnati’s civic and philanthropic circles. This year he made a $20 million donation to the city in his wife’s memory for construction of the Cincinnati Riverfront Park, which was renamed the Phyllis W. Smale Riverfront Park.