Protecting Public Investment in Great Parks

Great Parks of Hamilton County welcomes over six million visitors each year to our destinations throughout the county. One of our major operating priorities is maintaining resources at these sites for future generations.

Much of our maintenance work focuses on aging infrastructure which has the potential to negatively impact the experiences of our guests and our work to protect conservation areas. Our Ten-Year Critical Infrastructure Needs study outlines projects that need attention, and the levy that Hamilton County voters approved in 2021 continues to make it possible for us to address them.

Whether it’s protecting a new attraction like the Columbia Connector, or simply enhancing the visitor experience at Embshoff Woods, our team keeps busy every month to protect the public investment made over many decades to make Great Parks what it is today.

Safeguarding the Columbia Connector

It has already been over three years since Great Parks cut the ribbon on the Columbia Connector multi-use trail in Columbia Township. This trail represented a $1 million investment by Great Parks to link Columbia Township to the Little Miami Scenic Trail and the growing network of trails in Greater Cincinnati and Hamilton County.

Fast forward to today, and an area just a few steps away from this new trail needs our attention. Toward the Little Miami River, a 10-foot-wide culvert pipe, installed over 100 years ago, has fallen into disrepair. As with so many other Great Parks infrastructure projects, water erosion is behind the damage, as it washes away the ground underneath the culvert.

damaged culvert
Great Parks of Hamilton County is repairing this culvert near the Columbia Connector

Great Parks recently stabilized this structure to prevent additional degradation, but a full repair is needed. We are in the initial stages of planning the work and identifying a contractor to begin the repair.

With a new trail up the slope from this culvert, this will be a critical step towards protecting an important investment for the local community and the region.

Repaving at Embshoff Woods

Embshoff Woods is a favorite for many West Side residents, popular for its fitness trail and disc golf course. Within walking distance of Delhi, it is a perfect neighborhood park. The parking lot here needed some work, though, with cracks that were in some cases three inches wide, corroded culvert pipes, and areas of erosion.

A team installed the new parking lot at Embshoff Woods in Fall 2023

The park was last repaved in the 1980s, so it was time for an upgrade. For safety and an improved guest experience, we repaved the lot in Fall 2023. During construction, it was determined that the main drive needed to be completely rebuilt with a new surface and an improved subgrade. Guests may have noticed caution tape and heavy equipment as we moved in to install the new surface before cold weather arrived.

Providing access to so many of the 18,000 acres at Great Parks means maintaining not only roads and shelters but also less visible infrastructure like plumbing and culverts. We thank the voters of Hamilton County for the financial support necessary to protect these investments for tomorrow.