Hillside Trust working to promote and preserve scenic Columbia Parkway

The Hillside Trust has been working with the city of Cincinnati over the past several years on a series of studies and projects that are meant to highlight and preserve Cincinnati’s hillsides in a way that is not only responsible, but practical for all members of the community.

In 2007, the Hillside Trust completed a comprehensive study of the city’s scenic views.  In that study the non-profit organization determined that there were some 93 scenic views both from the tops of hills looking down, and from the basin looking up at the hills.

Not only did that study identify Cincinnati’s most scenic views, but it also recommended some action steps for the city to take in order to help preserve the views.

Eric Russo, executive director of the Hillside Trust, often cites the uniqueness of Cincinnati’s hills as a point of pride for Cincinnatians.  Russo says that the preservation of the city’s hillsides is not only beneficial to those directly involved, but also is a benefit for the whole region as the hills could potentially serve as a tourist draw and differentiate Cincinnati from other markets.

Since the Scenic View Study was completed in 2007, the Hillside Trust has been working steadily on a more detailed analysis of the Columbia Parkway and River Road corridors.

These corridors serve as major transportation routes along Cincinnati’s riverfront and are both located along the base of major hillsides.  This location gives both corridors dramatic vistas and scenery that are simply unmatched in most areas around the country.

“I would say it’s one of the top 10 scenic urban drives in America,” says Russo about Columbia Parkway that runs along Cincinnati’s eastern riverfront.

The corridor studies have focused on land elevations, allowable building heights based on current zoning districts, and building typologies that would work well with the environment.  The goal is to encourage the creation of a uniform zoning code along such corridors so that the scenic views and hillsides are preserved without restricting development either.

The Hillside Trust has presented initial findings to the Cincinnati Planning Commission and will report back to the Planning Commission at their June 19 meeting that will be held at 9am at the Centennial Plaza Two located in downtown Cincinnati at 805 Central Avenue.

Pending a decision from the Planning Commission, those findings will then move on to City Council for a full discussion and public hearing.

Writer: Randy Simes
Source: Eric Russo, executive director, The Hillside Trust
Photography by Randy Simes
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