Chatfield College Plans to Renovate OTR Park

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Students often use this park for art classes.

A triangular shaped park wedged between Kemp Alley, Liberty Street and Central Parkway may be getting a face-lift, thanks to Chatfield College.

Directly adjacent to the college’s new campus in Over-the-Rhine, the park currently has grass, some nice trees, and a few weather-worn concrete walkways, but neither furniture nor programming.  Chatfield College wants to transform it into a thriving green space to be used as an outdoor classroom and meeting destination, filled with year-round neighborhood and student activity.

“Now that our new state-of-the-art campus in OTR has been in operation for nearly a year, we believe that the revitalization of the park adjoining the campus is the next logical step in providing even more opportunities to our students and our Over-the-Rhine neighbors,” said John P. Tafaro, Chatfield’s President.

Planned improvements to the park include a sitting wall, park benches, landscaping, trees, and a paved focal gathering space as well as new sidewalks, and the resurfacing of the adjacent Kemp Ally, making a seamless transition between park and college campus.  The landscaping and architectural plan was designed in 2014 when Chatfield College partnered with Miami University’s Department of Architecture and Center for Community Engagement.  Miami students living and working in Over-the-Rhine actually designed the park renovations as part of a landscape design class.  The plans compliment the aesthetics of Chatfield’s recent building renovations, which won a Historic Preservation Award in 2015 from the Cincinnati Preservation Association.

The renovated park will offer Chatfield students and instructors an inspiring outdoor classroom, be a venue for community events, and inspire pride in students and community members.

“We believe that this green space project will benefit our students overall experience at Chatfield, as well as provide a wonderful resource to our neighbors in Over-the-Rhine,” said Patricia Homan, OSU, Chatfield’s OTR Associate Dean and Site Director.  “Green space is viewed as an essential part of the urban and collegiate infrastructure.  Studies indicate that areas where there are green spaces experience higher rates of community involvement and lower crime rates.”

Partial funding for the project has already been secured, and Chatfield has an agreement with the Cincinnati Park Board to move forward with the project as proposed as soon as the remaining funds are acquired and City Council has approved it.  Once initiated, construction should be completed within six months.

Sister Patricia continued, “In addition to offering attractive, outdoor learning and study space for our OTR students, this project is sure to make a positive impact on the surrounding OTR community. Urban green spaces are proven to increase positive social engagement, safety levels and property values in the neighborhoods where they are located.”

Chatfield College is a private, Catholic, liberal arts college offering the Associate of Arts degree in St. Martin and Cincinnati. An open enrollment college, Chatfield is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.  For more information, visit the website, at www.chatfield.edu, call (513) 921-9856 or e-mail admissions@chatfield.edu

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