Tuesday, October 10, 2000

New park aims to revive history

By Walt Schaefer
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        BLUE ASH — From the early 1800s through the 1930s, Highland Grove lured families to picnic, to dance and to enjoy the park's rides.

        “Back then, it was second to Coney Island” in Cincinnati-area amusement park popularity, said Blue Ash City Manager Marvin Thompson.

        A two- to three-acre park will be created near the location of the old park. New Highland Grove Park will cost about $400,000 to develop and will be along the west side of Kenwood Road between Pfeiffer and Creek roads.

        “We purchased eight lots and homes for about $900,000 for the right of way needed for the Kenwood Road widening project, but there will be remaining property not used,” Mr. Thomp son said. “We have decided to build the park there — named and designed with the old-time park in mind.”

        Construction cannot begin until late next year after the road widening is finished. Completion is anticipated by Memorial Day, 2002.

        Mr. Thompson said the new park will be situated in what was the right of way of a railroad spur line used to bring patrons to the old park daily. The original park was owned by the Cincinnati Lebanon & Northern Railroad, and there was an old railroad station on the site.

        “The park will be passive in nature but will feature a nostalgic look reminiscent of the old railroad-owned park,” the city manager said.

        Mayor Jim Sumner said park features will include a shelter designed as a railroad station, two gazebos built in a style reminiscent of gazebos at the old park.

        “Landscaping will include a ground-level flower bed clock similar to the clock that greeted visitors years ago at the original Coney Island,” the mayor said.

        “The thing I find most exciting about New Highland Grove Park is that it builds on Blue Ash's railroad heritage,” he said. “The original rail line is now owned by the Indiana & Ohio Railroad and it is still used. And it's a little-known fact that we once had an amusement park. So, we are building a wonderful park that brings together two elements of our community's history.”


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