Cincinnati Parks Foundation is currently fundraising to build a statue of boxer and West End hero Ezzard Charles. The bronze statue will stand prominently within a newly constructed plaza in Laurel Park. Local artist John Hebenstreit—previously selected to create the Black Brigade monument at the John G. & Phyllis W. Smale Riverfront Park—is sculpting the 13-foot statue, and local firm Chaatrik Architecture and Urban Design is developing the plaza.
This statue will join over 90 other pieces of public art throughout the Cincinnati Parks system. But even more than a statue, this project has ignited the community, building partnerships across the city. Each October, the Seven Hills Neighborhood Houses hosts the annual Ezz Fest celebration, which features live jazz music, free food for the neighborhood, and family activities.
MadTree Brewing has joined the project by committing to donate more than 100 trees to the park and surrounding area. These trees will expand the urban canopy in a neighborhood severely lacking in tree cover and will help mitigate the heat island effect. Cincinnati Bell has joined the project by committing to install free WiFi in Laurel Park, for the West End community. This will make Laurel Park the only Cincinnati Park completely covered with this modern feature.
The total project cost for materials, bronze casting, artist fees, plaza construction, and endowment is $275,000. The endowment will be used annually for maintenance and programming within Laurel Park.
Join The Excitement
If you would like to join the excitement around this project there are two ways to get involved!