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City Manager: No More Concrete Benches Will Be Removed From 3rd Street

No more concrete benches along Third Street in Downtown Cincinnati will be removed, and those that have been taken out will be replaced.  

The city took action last month after complaints from several groups.
"Specific concerns were raised related to the ability of individuals to sit or lay behind the benches, creating a visual barrier for patrol officers," City Manager Harry Black wrote in a September memo. "It has been determined people are using this space behind the benches to engage in lewd and lascivious activities."

Black spoke before city council's Neighborhoods Committee Monday to address the issue.

"Once the replacement benches are in they will be installed, and that will cease any additional activity with respect to those physical benches," Black said. "We may want to take another look at it, but for right now once these benches are replaced we're done with this particular situation."

The replacement benches are expected to be more transparent to prevent the visual barrier.

Advocates for the homeless criticized the bench removal.  They said the city took away a safe haven for those residents.

"All sorts of cities try to do things like curb panhandling and sleeping instead of actually tackling the real problems of homelessness and poverty," said Josh Spring with the Greater Cincinnati Homeless Coalition.

The city manager has a group of working on addressing increasing complaints about panhandling in Downtown and Over-the-Rhine.