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Cincinnati manager releases parking plan, details major development project


Cincinnati’s City Manager has laid out a plan to let a public/private partnership lease and operate some the city’s parking garages and all the city’s parking meters.  

Now City Council has to decide whether to approve it.  

The city would partner with the Greater Cincinnati Port Authority and four other companies to operate the system.  

City Manager Milton Dohoney, Jr. addressed the issue of parking rate Tuesday during a presentation to Council’s Budget and Finance Committee.

“No private operator has authority to set rates, no private operator has authority to expand hours,” Dohoney said.  “That’s something I said repeatedly as I moved around the city to groups, and I’m saying it right here.  It’s built into the deal and we are very comfortable with that.”

The city would receive a $92 million upfront payment entirely financed with bonds issued by the port authority.  There would also be annual payments estimated to start at $3 million a year.  

The partnership would invest $98 million in parking facilities during the lease term.  

Port Authority Executive Director Laura Brunner said there’ll be local control of all decisions.

“Including the location of meters, any potential removal of meters, the addition of meters, any closures for events and emergencies, the hourly rates, days of operation, hours of operation, and designation of meters for persons with disabilities,” Brunner said.

Officials said no parking rates would increase until technology upgrades are complete.  Future hikes would be capped at the greater of 3 percent or the annual cost of living rate.  

Downtown parking meters would be enforced from 8 am until 9 pm.  Neighborhood meter hours would be 7 am until 9 pm.  

The popular ten minutes free would remain in some business areas and Sundays and holidays would be free.  

Rates for garages and lots would not see any initial change for the first hour or monthly fee, but other hours could be adjusted closer to market rates.  

The manager also presented plans for how the city would use the initial $92 million dollar payment.  Those include stabilizing the city’s general fund budget through 2015 and providing a local match to build an interchange at 71 and Martin Luther King Drive.

Another $12 million would be set aside to complete a deal at Tower Place Mall and at the Fourth and Race site.

The Tower Place project would have 20,000 square feet of ground level retail space and 500 new parking places above the retail.

The old Pogue’s garage would be demolished and replaced with a 30-story mixed use high rise.  There would be more than 1,000 parking spaces.  It would include 300 luxury apartments and 15,000 square foot independent grocery store.

Council will hold a public hearing on the parking plan Monday evening at 6 o’clock at City Hall.

Jay Hanselman brings more than 10 years experience as a news anchor and reporter to 91.7 WVXU. He came to WVXU from WNKU, where he hosted the local broadcast of All Things Considered. Hanselman has been recognized for his reporting by the Kentucky AP Broadcasters Association, the Ohio Society of Professional Journalists, and the Ohio AP Broadcasters.