A field in Eden Park below Mirror Lake will get a facelift starting in the spring. What was once a water reservoir will be renovated to include picnic areas, a children's play area, a wetland and a walking loop that will wind throughout the park.
Interim Cincinnati Park Board Director Kara Kish says the space has been underutilized for years. It includes a single basketball court, which will stay, and is popular with rock climbers who traverse what remains of the reservoir walls.
"This project will create a walking loop around the perimeter of the field which will extend up to Mirror Lake, Seasongood Pavilion, to the (Cincinnati) Art Museum, Playhouse in the Park and will connect us to the city," Kish explains. "Improvements are going to include benches, picnic tables, trees placed along the walkways ... additional features will include a play environment, a shelter for wonderful picnics in the shade, a new landscape, a wetland with a boardwalk, and improved site drainage and a welcome kiosk which will depict the rich history of this reservoir with interpretive signage."
The area will be renamed the Tom Jones Commons after retired Procter & Gamble lawyer Tom Jones, who would take daily walks through the park from his Mt. Adams home. Now living in Florida, Jones says he wanted to leave something nice for his hometown.
"We stood right up on top of the (reservoir) wall and we looked down on this space and it was green and it was open but it was very empty, and thus the seed was planted," Jones remembers.
"One thing I really like about the new children's play area is it's going to be totally done by the park staff using their own design and using natural materials they're going to get not only from Eden Park but from other parks that they'll bring in and be very creative about creating this space for the kids."
He adds the rock climbing area will be enhanced.
Jones hints there could be future improvements, including solar "trees" that would generate enough energy to light the park and, possibly, a mini golf course.
The donation will also cover maintenance of the new spaces. The Park Board anticipates the renovations will be complete by late next fall.