Wednesday, October 8, 2003

Hill customized for sledding

Dirt for interchange project to offer fun in the interim

By Steve Kemme
The Cincinnati Enquirer

[IMAGE] Heavy trucks bring more fill dirt Tuesday to what will be a sledding hill in the Freedom's Voice Reserve park in West Chester Township.
(Michael Snyder photo)
| ZOOM |
WEST CHESTER TWP. - Wondering what the heck that new mountain of dirt towering above Cox Road is?

The 65-foot-high pile comes from the excavation of a 30-acre lake being created at the Freedom's Voice Reserve park. It eventually will be used in the construction of the eastward interchange at Interstate 75 and the Michael A. Fox Highway. No one knows when that project will get under way.

But, for this winter and probably a few more, the massive mound of dirt will be used for ... sledding.

In fact, workers are contouring the hill's north side, which faces Hamilton-Mason Road, for good downhill rides.

"We could have a nice sledding hill there for a good number of years," said Mike Muska, director of MetroParks of Butler County, which owns the site.

Drew Allwardt, 12, and his 9-year-old brother, Brad, were delighted when they learned they would have a nice, big hill nearby for sled-riding.

"That sounds great," Drew said. "That's better than the hill we ride down now."

The boys, who live on Butler-Warren Road, had been sledding down an 8-foot mound in their yard.

Their mother, Peggy Allwardt, was surprised the hill - of 700,000 cubic yards of dirt - would be used for sledding.

"I never would have guessed that," she said. "We kept looking at it, wondering what they would do with it."

The sledding hill will be graded and seeded before winter, said Ray Schork, who works for Bayer & Becker Engineers in Fairfield and is managing the development of Freedom's Voice Reserve. The park is located next to West Chester Township's Voice of America Park.

"We pointed the slope to the north because the sun is usually to the south and won't beat directly on it," he said.

The top of the dirt hill is the highest elevation point in Greater Cincinnati, Schork said. The hill is comparable in height to the Plunge, the 70-foot-high speed water slide at Paramount's Kings Islandthat is being discontinued.


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