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Smale Riverfront Park Debuts Latest Additions

The final piece of this summer's Smale Riverfront Park construction is now open. Cincinnati Parks cut the ribbon Thursday on the Castellini Esplanade and the Portland Loo. The two sit just east of Paul Brown Stadium where Bob Castellini began his produce business.

"This area was once home to Cincinnati's produce market, which sprawled over 40 acres riverfront," says Castellini. "Back then it was known as The Bottoms and it was lined with cobblestone streets, old brick buildings and a maze of railroad tracks. At one time, nearly all the produce sold in the Greater Cincinnati area came through this bustling marketplace."

Castellini says he's impressed by how nice the entire riverfront looks now compared to the "dustbowl" it was 12 years ago. He moved his produce business away from The Bottoms in the 1990s.

The esplanade includes moveable picnic tables on wheels, set on rails in a tribute to the produce rail yards. There's also a granite-paved plaza that will used for farmers' markets. It connects Mehring Way to the Riverwalk.

Portland Loo

Credit Tana Weingartner / WVXU
The Portland Loo is just west of the Castellini Esplanade.

When nature calls, Cincinnati Parks now has an answer for you. The Portland Loo is a small, prefabricated metal restroom.

The company that installed it describes the Loo this way:

The restroom can be quickly removed during flood conditions or easily repaired onsite with its modular design. With a cleaning hose, janitorial supplies stored in the mechanical closet and protected with an anti-graffiti clear coat, the restroom is easy to maintain and can take a lot of abuse.

Senior Editor and reporter at WVXU with more than 20 years experience in public radio; formerly news and public affairs producer with WMUB. Would really like to meet your dog.