In celebration of Cincinnati’s Ezzard Charles Day on October 6th, Cincinnati Parks Foundation Executive Director Jennifer Spieser and Cincinnati Parks Director Kara Kish visited sculptor John Hebenstreit for a look at his work. Sculpting in the Northside neighborhood, Hebenstreit has been adding the finishing touches to the Ezzard Charles statue, which will be installed in Laurel Park next year. The team also inspected new artist renderings for the Ezzard Charles plaza where the statue will be erected. Designed by CHAATRIK Architecture & Urban Design, the plaza is inspired by a boxing ring and includes storytelling elements of Charles’ life and legacy.

“I have spent the last year learning about the life of Ezzard Charles and the incredible impact he made on the community. But to stand in front of the sculpture brings the legend to life. You can feel his strength and his character. His impact will be felt by all those who visit Laurel Park, no longer just through story. but reflected in this true-to-life sculpture,” said Kish.

Others in the community have already been impacted by the power of Charles’ story and have joined the cause. Cincinnati Bell committed to installing free public WiFi in Laurel Park. This WiFi will connect an estimated 25% of West End households who are without reliable access to the internet. MadTree Brewing has committed to planting over 100 trees in the park and surrounding neighborhood. Expanding the tree canopy will help combat the negative effects of climate change and heat island effect.

The statue is expected to be installed in 2021, and fundraising is going on now. You can help make a positive impact in the West End by donating to our GoFundMe campaign for individual donors. (For donations over $1,000, contact: )