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Big plans for parks and GABP for the All-Star game

CINCINNATI (Joe Webb) -- In one year and one week, Major League Baseball's All-Star game will be played in Cincinnati.

The game was last in Cincinnati in 1988.  Since then, it turned into a full-blown baseball convention that takes over a city for a full week.  Great American Ball Park will host a Minor League All-Star game, a celebrity softball game and the Home Run Derby all before the 2015 Major League All-Star game July 14, 2015.
   
The team has big plans for the ballpark and the city will be wrapping up some major work all-around it.  A couple of dozen locals will hit the ground in Minneapolis later in July to check out what they're doing right and wrong for this year's Major League Baseball All-Star Game.  Reds chief operating officer, Phil Castellini, said he's got lots of questions about logistics, organizing volunteers and handling crowds.  He's also got lots of things already in the works.

"Beautification of the ballpark, projects in the off season to get it looking as good as it can. Certainly around the city there'll be activation, signage. Like the world choir games. It was hard to go anywhere and not know it was going on. The All-Star game will have that same feel in the city," said Castellini.
   
Starting at the airport and extending downtown, a sign and logo of the 2015 game will be unveiled at Great American in August 2014.  Outside the ballpark, much of the neighborhood has been a construction zone for several years.  Big pieces of that work, specifically the parks, will be finished by May and June 2015.

"Where the parks used to end at the public landing there's a whole chain of parks that will go through the site all the way to the football stadium. Almost three miles of continuous trails and walkways and green space."
   
Including a playground, additional fountains and the crown jewel, Carol Ann's Carousel on the north side of Mehring Way.  It opens in may 2015.  Castellini said he gets on the All-Star game merry-go-round next month.

Steve Schuckman of Cincinnati Parks said, "We'll pretty much start planning full-time Aug. 1 through execution next year."
     
The All-Star game also has a week long fan fest, which will be like having Redsfest for all 30 teams.  That will be at the convention center.  In every All-Star game city, Major League Baseball also builds what it calls "Legacy Projects."  Each year that brings at least a million dollars in improvements, most of them to existing youth baseball facilities.

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