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Cincinnati Park Levy Supporters Turn In Lots Of Signatures

Jay Hanselman

An effort to put a levy on the November ballot to support Cincinnati Parks got a major boost Friday.  

Volunteers announced they had collected more than 21,000 petition signatures.  They only need 5,969 to make the ballot.  The campaign turned in 17,907 of the signatures, the maximum allowed by state law.

Mayor John Cranley said people were eager to help.  He also said park supporters chose a grassroots approach.

“Because it was a small tax increase, that we should lead by grassroots, should lead asking the citizens to ask for this petition,” Cranley said.  “We knew that that would be the first sign as to whether there was support for a park levy or not.”

The Hamilton County Board of Elections must now validate the signatures.  Then city council will have to vote to place the levy on the ballot, but that's a formality.  

If approved by voters, the park levy would cost $35 for every $100,000 of property value.  It would raise an estimated $5.2 million a year.  

Meanwhile, local attorney Tim Mara sent out a press release Friday opposing the levy.  

The proposed Cincinnati Parks Levy is, in actually, a proposal which could devastate our park system. The proposal is a scheme to open up our treasured parks to development for the profit of a few. Although some of the projects listed by levy proponents – such as the bicycle trails - are worthy of public support, much of the tax revenue would be used to destroy acres of trees in our parks to provide sites for restaurants, beer gardens, and other so-called improvements which should have no place in our historic city parks.