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Hopes For Replacing Music Hall Bridge Fading Fast

Howard Wilkinson
Only the support beams of the pedestrian bridge remain.

The Music Hall Revitalization Committee is no longer pursuing a replacement for the recently-demolished pedestrian bridge between Music Hall and the Town Center Garage.

It appears highly unlikely the city of Cincinnati will step in to pay for a replacement.

In a memo Monday to the mayor and City Council, City Manager Harry Black says he has been told the $1.6 million pledged by private donors for the project "has been taken off the table, meaning the cost of the project would now fall primarily to the city."

Building a new bridge across Central Parkway from Music Hall to the Town Center Garage and the building where CET is located would cost between $6 million to $8.2 million, Black says. Cincinnati Public Radio is located on the second floor of the CET building.

"This is substantially higher than originally believed," Black says.

The original estimates for a replacement bridge were between $2 million and $3 million.

Black is seeking additional direction from City Council on what to do next. A council majority has said it wants the bridge replaced. But that council majority believed the project would cost far less and have support from private donors.

"If a decision is made to pursue this project with city capital dollars, the city administration will take the next step of presenting funding scenarios for your consideration, all of which will involve cutting funding from other capital projects in the pipeline or underway,'' Black writes in his memo.

Black says if council decides not to do that, the city administration will make arrangements to remove the support beams and "continue to actively pursue conversations with 3CDC and other partners about a large redevelopment of this corridor, including additional accommodations for pedestrians."

Black also says in his memo that the city has begun preliminary discussions with 3CDC in order to evaluate a larger redevelopment of the entire block where the Town Center Garage is that "would accommodate existing users of the site and provide a gateway between Over-the-Rhine and the West End."

Howard Wilkinson is in his 50th year of covering politics on the local, state and national levels.