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No Resolution In CPS/3CDC Parking Dispute

Jay Hanselman

It's still uncertain where students, staff and teachers will park when classes resume next week at Cincinnati's School for the Creative and Performing Arts. A City Council Committee met for more than an hour Tuesday but nothing was decided.Cincinnati Public Schools (CPS) says it has a deal with the Cincinnati Center City Development Corporation (3CDC) to park at Washington Park.

Board Member Melanie Bates says the district gave up space it owned with the understanding the school could have parking in the Washington Park Garage.

"We gave up our space so that we could have a common space, or else we would have kept our space. We would have had one-third of Washington Park," she says. "Some people in the community aren't clear why we built a school without parking; well, according to this agreement this is why we did that."

CPS says 3CDC agreed to give the district up to 250 parking spots at a below-market rate. The sides have renegotiated the rate twice, with the second deal expiring this year.

3CDC's Steve Leeper says the organization has held up its part of the deal and now needs those spots for other people.

"Passes were in fact provided at a below-market rate, and at no time was there an agreement to provide CPS spaces in perpetuity," he says. "That's never been written in anything we've ever had and it's never been discussed."

Leeper says 3CDC is offering CPS 60 spaces in the Washington Park Garage, and making up the balance with spots in the Town Center Garage behind Music Hall and the YMCA's flat lot.

Attorneys for the city of Cincinnati say the city can't compel 3CDC to give up the spaces.

Council Member Chris Seelbach implored the sides to compromise, and Council Member P.G. Sittenfeld suggested if the sides can't work something out, it will likely be up to a judge to decide.

Students return to classes at SCPA on Aug. 15.

Senior Editor and reporter at WVXU with more than 20 years experience in public radio; formerly news and public affairs producer with WMUB. Would really like to meet your dog.