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Smale Riverfront Park at the Banks

Location: Cincinnati, Ohio
Client: Cincinnati Parks
Services: Geotechnical

THELEN performed the geotechnical services for the Smale Riverfront Park. Our services were performed in different phases for various portions of the project. The following are the most recent 2 phases of the project: Site Walls and Boat Dock: The project site is located along the north edge of the Ohio River between the John A. Roebling Suspension Bridge and the Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati, Ohio. THELEN’s services consisted of performing nineteen (19) test borings – eleven (11) of the borings were advanced from a barge on the river, and the remaining eight (8) borings were performed on land, laboratory testing and preparation of a report of conclusions and recommendations.

Prior to the geotechnical report, the proposed development was to consist of a 1,400-foot long retaining wall supported on piles and a 1,000-foot long boat dock. The proposed retaining wall will begin at the river’s edge. A structure similar to the serpentine wall will then step up from the river’s edge wall to a walkway. A ramp will be located in the mid portion of the project and additional serpentine steps will be located to the west and east of the ramp section. A relatively flat walkway or a short, sloped section will then be constructed at the top of the existing retaining wall.

The proposed grading was to require up to 11 feet of newly placed fill in the portion of the walkway immediately adjacent to the river’s edge wall. It is noted that there are two (2) existing retaining walls to the north of the majority of the proposed river’s edge wall. The closest existing retaining wall consists of a large concrete pile-supported retaining wall and the upper northernmost retaining wall consists of a smaller concrete spread-footing cantilevered retaining wall. The proposed grading will require portions of those walls to be cut off near the western end of the proposed rivers edge wall. The existing river bottom will be dredged to create a minimum depth of water between the river’s edge wall and the boat deck.

Lot 22: This portion of the project involved constructing an elevated structural slab over an existing parking lot that is near the elevation of Mehring Way. The elevated structural slab will be at or near the elevation of Theodore M. Berry Way and the north approach of the Roebling Suspension Bridge, and will support a carousel and fountain. Additionally, the eastern half of the elevated slab will support approximately a 4-foot depth of soil for planting trees. At the west end of the structural slab will be a stairway to permit pedestrian traffic from the elevated slab and Theodore M. Berry Way at the northwest corner of the project site to Mehring Way at the southwest end of the project site. We understand that the lower level area beneath the elevated slab will consist of a reception hall, conference and office rooms, mechanical/electric control equipment, and storage.

THELEN’s services consisted of performing six (6) test borings, laboratory testing and preparation of a report of conclusions and recommendations. During construction of the Park phases, we have performed construction review services including augercast pile review, soil and concrete testing.


Work performed by Thelen Associates, Inc.