It may be the middle of winter, but volunteer leaders of Ault Park are thinking about warmer weather when much of a $350,000 grant will be put to work to restore the park’s five-mile hiking trail network and make improvements to the children’s playground.
“Our mission is to maintain and improve the park, encourage its use by the public, and cultivate community involvement,” said Jeff Levine, who in May 2022 was elected president of the 25-member board of trustees of Ault Park Advisory Council (APAC), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded in 1987 by a group of neighborhood volunteers, including current trustee Rob Kranz.
Levine, a corporate litigation attorney at the prominent Cincinnati law firm Strauss Troy, has served on APAC’s board for five years, and his presidency will last until April 2024. A University of Cincinnati College of Law graduate, Levine also volunteers as a lecturer on entrepreneurship and financial literacy at Walnut Hills High School, his alma mater. In 2019, he was named a member of the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber’s “Cincy Next” Class 6, the chamber’s premier leadership program which focuses on connecting and developing the region’s most talented future leaders. In 2022, he was named a member of the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber’s “Cincy LEAD” Class 1, the chamber’s premier leadership program for rapidly-advancing leaders in their respective organizations.
The grant for the 220-acre Ault Park located in Mt. Lookout, the fourth-largest park among Cincinnati’s more than 350 parks, was made by the State of Ohio. It will supplement a full slate of 10 activities — many of them fundraisers to support Ault Park — planned for 2023, beginning on February 23 with a whiskey-tasting event. According to Levine, APAC’s fall/winter 2022 private fundraising campaign has already exceeded $20,000.
Besides planning the restoration of Ault Park’s trail network and playground equipment, APAC has also facilitated the installation of free public Wi-Fi service at the Ault Park Pavilion. The nonprofit board works closely with staff leaders at Cincinnati Parks to achieve mutual goals for the treasured neighborhood park. APAC’s board oversees the park’s endowment, manages fundraising, finance and marketing activities, synchronizes capital improvement projects with local officials, and liaises with benefactors.
APAC’s operations have always included the organization of various fundraiser events throughout the year. Some of its more recently completed initiatives include the replacement of the park’s old cherry trees, the addition of an outdoor exercise circuit, and the revival of its gardens.