Thursday, January 25, 2001

Group urges minor changes to Freedom Center design

By Ken Alltucker
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        A city advisory group Wednesday urged the creators of the $90 million National Underground Railroad Freedom Center to make minor changes to the building and surrounding park.

        Members of the Urban Design Review Board said the project design is progressing nicely, but said landscaping and exterior building changes are needed to better convey the message of slaves who struggled desperately for freedom.

        “You're going to have to make some magic,” said board member David Niland. “You need to go back to your intentions, your concept.”

        The group, appointed by Cincinnati City Manager John Shirey, has a powerful voice over down town's major developments because it must recommend approval of design.

        The board told landscape architect Martha Schwartz that a wall near an outside amphitheater needs minor design changes. Some board members were concerned that a darkened gray asphalt pathway leading to the museum would clash with the bronze and earth-tone exterior.

        The Freedom Center will be a key part to Cincinnati's $2 billion riverfront revival. It will join Paul Brown Stadium, Great American Ball Park and the Banks, a housing and entertainment development between the two sports stadiums.

        Construction of the Freedom Center is expected to start March 2002 for a 2004 opening.


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