Great Parks of Hamilton County announces the execution of a contract with the Greenacres Foundation to acquire a 22-acre site located on Werk Road in Westwood. Formerly the homesite of the James N. Gamble family, the property is primarily open greenspace that Great Parks will cultivate into a future park and urban ecology center, connecting the community to nature, wellness, and conservation-based education resources.
“We are very excited about the opportunity to directly serve a thriving and diverse community within the city of Cincinnati,” said Great Parks CEO Todd Palmeter. “This urban preserve aligns with our master plan priority to expand park access to all users by providing nature-based resources in areas that are currently underserved.”
Cardinal Land Conservancy, a regional land trust, collaborated with Great Parks to develop an innovative proposal for connecting Westwood and surrounding neighborhoods to this natural asset. Great Parks has successfully applied for and been awarded funding through the Clean Ohio Greenspace Conservation Fund with the local match being provided in-kind by the Greenacres Foundation. This will allow the property to be acquired at no cost to the park district. To ensure the long-term success of the property, philanthropic partner Great Parks Forever is developing an ongoing support strategy through grants, private donors, and conservation-based organizations.
”Greenacres looked at several concepts for the future of this property and recognized that supporting Great Parks to make this property a permanent park would be consistent with the wishes of our founder, Louis Nippert, who was a Park Commissioner,” said Greenacres President Carter Randolph.
Once the acquisition is complete, expected in late summer 2021, Great Parks will engage Westwood residents, community organizations, and local schools to develop a final plan for the site.
Great Parks intends to protect the urban greenspace, as well as open up the potential for an urban ecology center to serve residents of Westwood and nearby communities and schools. The site provides significant ecological value in connecting a patchwork of habitats from the City of Cincinnati’s Mt. Airy Forest to greenspace along the Mill Creek, south to Great Parks’ Embshoff Woods near the Ohio River.
The property has multiple points of access and excellent walkability, being a short distance from Gamble-Nippert YMCA, Westwood Library, and five schools such as Westwood Elementary and Dater Montessori, where Great Parks currently presents nature education programming. It is also conveniently located on several Metro bus routes, providing a public transportation option for residents.
Great Parks has been protecting greenspace and providing recreational and educational opportunities to Hamilton County residents for over 90 years. As the largest landowner in the county, Great Parks encompasses more the 17,700 acres, with 83% of that in its natural state. Great Parks is the third largest park district in the state with 17 parks, four nature preserves, 78 miles of trails, and much more.