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Commissioners Consider Stadia Proposals

Bill Rinehart
Commissioners listen as County Administrator Jeff Aluotto, (right), presents a list of the county's major capital needs and requests.

Hamilton County Commissioners are looking at whether the county can afford to contribute to two proposed sports venues. FC Cincinnati wants a new soccer stadium and US Bank Arena's owners are planning renovations to that facility.

Commission President Todd Portune says the county has a lot of other obligations but could be a part of the funding.

"Private equity has to drive whether the developments get done," he says.

Portune says such an idea can be overwhelming considering everything the county is already doing. "I know that we can benefit from a new arena. There's no doubt about that. We can also benefit from keeping FC Cincinnati in Cincinnati. But those elements have to be managed in the context of how they fit and where they fit with all of this other stuff," he says.

This "other stuff" is other projects the county is involved in including renovating Union Terminal, building a new crime lab, and maintaining Great American Ball Park and Paul Brown Stadium.

County Administrator Jeff Aluotto presented a look at different projects already underway or proposed like the expansion of the Duke Energy and Sharonville convention centers and the capping of Fort Washington Way.

Commissioner Chris Monzel says he's interested to hear more about US Bank Arena and FC Cincinnati but isn't sure the county should pitch in.

"We have two facilities already and I think that's two too many, personally. I don't feel it's a county core function that we should be involved with," he says.

Those two facilities, Paul Brown Stadium and Great American Ball Park, were financed with a half-cent sales tax voters approved in 1996.

Bill Rinehart started his radio career as a disc jockey in 1990. In 1994, he made the jump into journalism and has been reporting and delivering news on the radio ever since.