Thursday, March 11, 2004

Battery park moves closer

Fort Wright structure built during Civil War

By Travis Gettys
The Cincinnati Enquirer

FORT WRIGHT - During the Civil War, Union forces built batteries along Northern Kentucky hillsides to protect Cincinnati from Confederate attack.

The city of Fort Wright, along with Northern Kentucky University and the Behringer-Crawford Museum, aim to protect one of the few remaining batteries in the area and establish a park at the site.

The Cincinnati design firm Human Nature Inc. presented several ideas Wednesday to City Council, which asked architects to make the park available for use as soon as possible.

"We could make it available for picnicking and trails almost right away without a lot of effort, and then build the rest over time," said landscape architect Chris Manning.

The city and its partners could know later this month if they've been approved by Scripps Howard Center for Civic Engagement for a $45,697 grant, which the three applicants would match with $31,000 of labor and other contributions.

Public use might generate interest for future grants, said landscape architect Gary Wolnitzek, and the park could be built in phases.

Human Nature designers would incorporate area history with elements of nature at the site, Manning said, showing council examples of the company's work at Theodore M. Berry International Friendship Park and Voice Of America Park.

For example, Manning said, landscaping at the latter park incorporates circular patterns, which mimic radio signals radiating from Voice Of America.

"You have this notion of a center where messages are broadcast around the world," he said.

In addition to battlements at the proposed park, designers have studied trees and a house at the site, said architect Jim Warner.

A planned excavation by NKU students could uncover other elements to be used in the park's design, he said.

The site's natural landscape will make it relatively easy for designers to inexpensively develop desired features, Wolnitzek said, including a planned amphitheater.

"The topography is set up perfectly for that," Wolnitzek said.

The park will likely be designed for passive activities, rather than sports.

Planned walking trails would wind past the hilltop battery, where hikers could have a view south to the AA Highway and north to Cincinnati, said City Administrator Larry Klein.


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