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Crime lab idea not D.O.A.; Memorial Hall benefactors revealed

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Hamilton County Commissioner Chris Monzel isn't ready to give up on the idea of turning part of the former Mercy Mt. Airy hospital into a new crime lab.

Last week, commission president Greg Hartmann said a vote was likely soon and indicated it didn't look promising.

Monzel says he's trying to find a public/private partnership to make it happen.

"In my mind, we have not nearly exhausted the idea of a public/private partnership for developing that site," says Monzel. "And I'm certainly not ready to dismiss the site as a solution to our crime lab as well as other facility issues. I'm continuing my efforts to investigate a public/private partnership at the site."

He also says he contact Coroner Lakshmi Sammarco Wednesday "to let her know that I'm not giving up on either this site, or some solution- be it there or be it somewhere else in the county- we do need to make sure we upgrade our coroner's facility as well as the crime lab."

Estimates for building a lab at Mt. Airy range from $20 to $40 million.

Memorial Hall announced gift

The pieces keep falling into place for Memorial Hall supporters.

Cincinnati Memorial Hall Society president Bill Baumann Wednesday revealed the Annie W. & Elizabeth M. Anderson Foundation is pledging $1 million toward the building's renovation.

The donation had been factored into the $7.8 million rehab plan, but until now the donor had been a secret.

The Anderson sisters had a connection to the building. A plaque honoring their great-uncle, and Civil War veteran, Nicholas Longworth Anderson, has been hanging in the main hall for more than 100 years.

Last week, Hamilton County Commissioners agreed to move forward with a public/private partnership deal to renovate the performance hall in Over-the-Rhine. That includes a $1.5 million contribution from the county.

Tana Weingartner earned a bachelor's degree in communication from the University of Cincinnati and a master's degree in mass communication from Miami University. Prior to joining Cincinnati Public Radio, she served as news and public affairs producer with WMUB-FM. Ms. Weingartner has earned numerous awards for her reporting, including several Best Reporter awards from the Associated Press and the Ohio Society of Professional Journalists, and a regional Murrow Award. She enjoys snow skiing, soccer and dogs.