Spanning the whole of Hamilton County, Great Parks often operates more like a small city than a traditional park district. There are dozens of projects underway every day to improve the parks for current and future generations of guests. These projects can range from building a new shared-use trail to fixing an aging sewage system to reforesting a riverbank. They are a mix of critical infrastructure items in need of maintenance and new projects generated by the public through an extensive master planning process. All are funded through a combination of levy funds, earned revenue and philanthropic support. Learn more about projects taking place near you or find out the current status of a project below.

Active Projects

  • Sharon Lake Improvement/Dredge Project

    Severe sediment accumulation, harmful increases in nutrient values and aggressive aquatic vegetation is threatening the health of the 35-acre lake. The solution is to remove the excess sediment from the lake via dredging. Dredging Sharon Lake will not only let park guests continue to enjoy all recreation opportunities at Sharon Woods, but also will improve water quality and restore aquatic habitat.

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  • Glenwood Gardens to Winton Woods Trail

    This 3.6-mile trail will connect two major Great Parks and extend the existing West Fork Mill Creek Greenway Trail to 9 miles of continuous trail. The project also includes improving access to an adjacent bus stop. The project is currently in design with trail construction expected to begin in spring 2025.

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  • Shaker Trace Nursery Improvements

    Shaker Trace Nursery in Miami Whitewater Forest is one of few places in our region that grows native plants for ecological restoration projects. Needed improvements to the facility will increase seed production capacity and expand the role the nursery fulfills in educating the community about native plants, ecology and restoration.

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  • Sharon Centre Outdoor Playground

    A new outdoor playground at Sharon Woods will offer an upgraded and welcoming play experience for all users. Construction of this $3 million utterly unique playground is expected to start in spring 2024, with the playground open for public use in fall 2024.

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  • Columbia Connector

    The 1.6-mile Columbia Connector trail will tie the Little Miami Scenic Trail to other segments of the 34-mile CROWN regional trail loop, including Wasson Way. Phases 1 and 2 were completed in 2020, and construction of the final Phase 3 is expected to begin in spring 2026.

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  • West Region Blueway & Trails System

    Design has begun on the development of a master plan for the West Region Blueway and Trails System. The system will include both land and water-based trails along the Great Miami and Whitewater rivers, and will link communities and parks extending from the Butler/Hamilton county border to the Ohio River.

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  • Shaker Trace Inner Loop Trail Upgrade

    This popular 1.4-mile trail at Miami Whitewater Forest has been impacted safety issues caused by flooding from a nearby creek. Design on an upgraded section of paved trail will begin in early 2023, with the goal of re-opening the entire Inner Loop trail to the public by fall 2023.

  • Mountain Bike Skills Course

    Already a popular destination for mountain bikers in the region, Mitchell Memorial Forest is gaining a new mountain bike skills course and quarter-mile skills loop trail that will add more trail mileage while providing a safe place for beginners to try out this exciting sport. Great Parks secured a $68,000 Recreational Trails Program (RTP) grant through the Ohio Department of Natural Resources to help support this $160,000 project. Planning is currently underway, with new amenities expected to be open to the public in early fall 2024.

  • Mill Creek Triangle Trail

    Great Parks is excited to be a partner in the Mill Creek Triangle Trail Feasibility Study, a multi-jurisdictional effort to develop a 40+ mile regional trail network in central and northern Hamilton County. The vision of this project includes connecting people to each other and to local amenities, including Winton Woods, Glenwood Gardens and Sharon Woods parks.

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  • Shawnee Lookout Stream Restoration

    Before it was a park or golf course, Shawnee Lookout was an area continuously inhabited for 10,000 years by several groups of indigenous people. This archeological district is undergoing a stream restoration where the golf course construction had previously buried streams and added culverts. Restoration will begin in Fall of 2024 and includes: daylighting of headwater streams, removal of culverts and asphalt, removal of invasive plants, reconnecting the stream to the floodplain, planting the riparian buffer with native plants and seeds, and creating a sustainable trail. This project is funded and managed in part, by The Nature Conservancy through their in-lieu fee mitigation program. Other partners include the Ohio History Connection and tribal members advising on preservation of the cultural aspects of the site.

Upcoming Projects

  • Little Miami River Access

    Enhancements to the existing river access site at Bass Island in Newtown will make getting boats in and out of the water even easier. The plan, which is currently in design phase, includes an improved parking area, drop-off loop and path to the river. Extensive natural and cultural resource considerations along this national and state-designated Scenic River will impact when the construction on this project can begin.

  • Sharon Woods Harbor Revitalization

    The harbor at Sharon Woods serves as major center of activity in one of our most-visited parks. Input and ideas from the community will help reimagine this space with better boating, fishing and play experiences and enhanced gathering spaces. The project is expected to kick off in spring 2024, with design occurring during construction of the Sharon Lake Improvement Project.

  • Avoca Natural Surface Trail

    A new, approximately 2-mile natural surface trail at Avoca Trailhead will allow both walkers and bikers to explore the forested floodplain adjacent to the National Scenic River. The trail is part of a proposed, multi-agency, braided network of natural surface trails along the Little Miami Scenic Trail that will offer opportunities for mini excursions off of the paved trail. Construction is expected to begin in August, with the trail open for use in late fall 2024.

Completed Projects

  • Beechmont Bridge Connector Trail

    The Beechmont Bridge Connector Trail opened to the public on September 21, 2022. This critical connector ties the 78-mile Little Miami Scenic Trail into the Lunken Airport trail and Ohio River Trail to downtown Cincinnati.

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  • Disc Golf Course Upgrades

    New tee pads, baskets and signage – as well as realigned holes and new landscaping – at Woodland Mound disc golf course allow for better play for both new and veteran players. The full course re-opened to the public on September 16, 2022, with landscaping and signage improvements scheduled to wrap up later in the fall.

  • Embshoff Woods Wastewater Treatment

    This project included demolishing the park’s failing wastewater treatment facility and connecting restrooms into the nearby MSD sewer line. It was done to reduce future maintenance costs and provide a more reliable and environmentally sound sanitary system for park staff and guests. The project was completed in August 2022.

  • Music Garden

    Located in the Highfield Discovery Garden in Glenwood Gardens, construction began in August 2022 with a formal grand opening on June 8, 2023.

  • Werk Road Property Master Plan

    Planning for Great Parks’ newest park, located in Westwood, included extensive public engagement to ensure this greenspace is a true community asset. A concept master plan was approved in October 2023 that establishes a long-range vision for the 23-acre property.

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  • Woodland Mound Fitness Equipment

    Versatile equipment and an accessible quarter-mile path were designed with input from a local outdoor fitness class. The final phase of this new amenity was completed in November 2023 and allows park users to come up with creative exercises that will challenge the body and mind.

Upcoming Events

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