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Commissioners Still Mulling Over Banks Concert Venue

Bill Rinehart
The county's Banks counsel, Tom Gabelman, reviews options for a concert venue with Hamilton County commissioners.

Hamilton County commissioners could vote in June on which company will build and operate a Banks concert venue. The Joint Banks Steering Committee recommended MEMI, the subsidiary of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, in early May, but commissioners haven't voted on that or talked with the city.

The county's Banks representative Tom Gabelman says ideally a decision should have been made two-and-a-half weeks ago.

"We're looking at construction starting in fall or winter of this year, Gabelman says. "Always tough to do in Cincinnati, but if you want to have this venue open by next fall, the time is now." 

Todd Portune is pushing for a decision soon. The Hamilton County commission president says even though the Joint Banks Steering Committee made a recommendation, the county and the city haven't made a decision.

"The retailers that are at The Banks already are expressing concerns about their expectations in terms of foot traffic that would be there year round," he says. "Whether those expectations are being met or not, whether our role with respect to all of that is being fulfilled or not, we need to advance this for a decision."

The county has to agree on a plan with the city since the two are partners in The Banks development.