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Cincinnati Council Hears About OTR Project & Police Surveillance Cameras

Update May 10, 2017: The planned mixed-use development at Liberty and Elm streets in Over-the-Rhine will move forward. Cincinnati Council voted 8-1 in favor of the project.

Vice Mayor David Mann cast the lone dissenting vote. Several other council members such as Yvette Simpson and Kevin Flynn voted yes while holding their proverbial noses, saying while they don't care for the project's design, they don't support the idea of changing city requirements this late in the game.

Original Post May 8, 2017: Cincinnati Council could decide the fate of an Over-the-Rhine economic development project Wednesday.

The $25 million plan calls for renovating four historic buildings and adding a new structure at the northwest corner of Liberty and Elm.

It would include about 16,000 square feet of commercial space and 124 market rate apartments.

The project has divided the OTR community.

Opponents list several concerns including having local retailers in the commercial space, the building's height, the project's design, and a lack of affordable housing units. There are also worries the first phase of the project doesn't include garage parking, only a surface lot. The original plan did include a parking garage, but developers told a council committee last week no banks would fund that.

Supporters say the project could be good for the area because it would bring additional business to Findlay Market.

City Council is being asked to approve a tax exemption for the project and to sell a piece of city-owned property to the developer.

Meanwhile, the Law and Public Safety Committee heard Monday about technology being used by the police department.

CPD now has about 500 surveillance cameras monitoring areas of the city. It also has access to a number of cameras operated by private businesses and residents.

Assistant Chief Dave Bailey says it does make a difference.

"If you believe the estimates, upwards of 75 times a day the average person is caught on some type of surveillance camera whether that's a public camera or a private camera," Bailey said. "And I think that estimate is probably a little conservative."

Bailey says, in the future, the monitoring of those cameras could be incorporated into the department's communications section where 911 calls are received and officers are dispatched.

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.