The entire town, the whole region is in love with Washington Park.? Music, events, people all the time and all over the place – it has brought folk down who have not been in Cincinnati’s downtown or neighborhoods in years.
And I get a particular charge out of one particular part of it.? On a little rise near the beautiful water park that the children love, is a tall metal two-sided panel, supported on two poles, that celebrates Over-the-Rhine in honor of Cincinnati’s Bicentennial in 1988.? Oftentimes when I’m in the park, I will see folk bending down to read the history, and to look at all the pictures and etchings.? To see my words and my ideas, bringing to life facets of this fascinating neighborhood.
I worked for the Bicentennial Commission, meeting with neighborhood leaders and historians, and then searching out the images and writing 17 of the 50 panels done for neighborhoods round the region.? I am always tickled to see them, scattered as they are – one in Delhi, one near the river of the old neighborhood The Bottoms, in a park in Loveland, near City Hall in Lincoln Heights, and somewhere in Forest Park.
The OTR panel was especially poignant, with the drawings of all the church steeples in the ‘hood, and of key neighborhood leaders, done by a mostly homeless neighborhood resident with amazing talent.? Don kept wanting to improve the panel, add more to it, embellish it, make it better.? Weeks after the deadline, I finally had to literally take the drawings from him and give them to the folk who would actually prepare the etched metal.
What a beautiful piece of work he left for his neighbors – and now for all of us, as we enjoy the incredible park.