Urban riverfronts are frequently separated from their downtowns with flood walls, levees or other physical barriers. Many of these man-made barriers accelerate water flow and limit public access or connectivity.
A key component of Piqua’s Placemaking Initiative, Lock Nine Park is a three-acre open space that connects Main Street and Water Street with the Great Miami River. The design lays back the levee wall and excavates Lock Number 9 of the Miami and Erie Canal. The 100’x14’x14’ lock space had been buried below ground since the Great Flood of 1913. The raceway will now serve pedestrians and cyclists moving along the canal corridor rather than 19th century boats. A performance pavilion, water feature and tree groves anchor the space which is revitalizing adjacent historic properties that once served industrial purposes and are being put back into productive use.
Unlike most small town or cities that removed 19th century canal infrastructure and limestone walls of the locks and dams, or elected to erect ersatz memorials or historical markers in their place, Piqua covered it over intact. This hasty decision at the beginning of the 20th century enabled the aged infrastructure to be excavated in the 21st. The artifact that contributed to the growth and prosperity of the community in the past is being transformed into an inviting contemporary public space at the river’s edge for the future. Construction of the park is underway.