Cincinnati Chamber unveils the new five-year strategic framework to foster regional growth

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Community Partners Release Plan to Reconnect Downtown to the Riverfront by Capping Fort Washington Way

At a briefing today, the City of Cincinnati and Hamilton County announced a plan to seek a federal planning grant from the Reconnecting Communities pilot program to build decks on top of Fort Washington Way, reconnecting the Central Business District with the Banks and the Ohio River by investing in a new regional amenity.

The plan, developed by the Cincinnati Chamber, KZF Design and WSP, builds on twenty years of planning and investment made when Fort Washington Way was originally constructed.  At the time of construction, Fort Washington Way was built to hold future decks that would reconnect our urban core and foster economic development.

“Business leaders wisely invested in foundations that make today’s plan possible,” said Jill P. Meyer, CEO of the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber. “We’re excited to present the community with a one of a kind regional asset that will spur economic development, create a vibrant space for the region, and take advantage of the incredible opportunity the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law offers to catalyze this long-planned for project.”

The City of Cincinnati is partnering with Hamilton County to pursue the planning grant from the Reconnecting Communities pilot program, a new program created under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) to reconnect communities that have been cut off by highway investments.

“Reconnecting our communities, and creating cohesive spaces that all residents can access and enjoy, has the power to unlock Cincinnati’s fullest potential,” said Cincinnati Mayor Aftab Pureval. “The Fort Washington Way planning grant is a major step towards making a transformational impact on the face of our city, and I’m excited by our collaborative work to pursue this incredible opportunity.”

“Uniting downtown with The Banks has been a dream for so long, it is time to make the decks a reality,” said Stephanie Summerow Dumas, President of the Board of County Commissioners. “Rarely do cities and counties have the opportunity to add multiple city blocks of prime real estate to their downtown campus.”

KZF Design and WSP partnered with the Cincinnati Chamber to develop the plan, building upon the successes of the Central Riverfront Urban Design Master Plan’s public engagement efforts to deliver this long-anticipated project.

Tim Sharp, Chief Strategic Officer at KZF Design, said the firm is “thrilled to be a part of building upon the framework of the Central Riverfront Master Plan creating a new regional asset which will ignite economic development for both our City and Hamilton County. KZF is proud of our commitment and contribution to Greater Cincinnati through our work on projects like Fort Washington Way, Smale Riverfront Park, and many others that help define our community. We eagerly look forward to being a part of making this transformative vision become reality in concert with our project partners.”

WSP USA has been involved with the design and construction management of Fort Washington Way since the late 1990s noted Jared Love, Assistant Vice President at WSP, adding, “WSP had a great team with the foresight to plan and build the infrastructure into the original project to allow for the development of these decks now. Our team is excited to further close the “gap” and finally complete the vision of connecting Downtown and the Ohio River. We are excited to collaborate with the Chamber, City, County, and KZF Design to make this a reality.”

The plan and Press Kit can be viewed online here:

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