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Cincinnati Park Board Votes Down CCAC Proposal For Burnet Woods

Burnet Woods
Wikimedia Commons
Two separate proposals from the Clifton Cultural Arts Center and the The Camping and Education Foundation sought to change part of the 90-acres inside Clifton's Burnet Woods.

Updated: 1:39 p.m.

A controversial proposal to let the Clifton Cultural Arts Center (CCAC) place a building inside Burnet Woods has been voted down 3-2 by the Cincinnati Parks Board. 

CCAC hoped to build a 25-35,000-square foot building inside the park after the Cincinnati School Board terminated its lease at its current Clifton location. The school district owns the building, and said it needed it to meet the neighborhood's need for a school. 

Opponents to the proposal feared development would destroy the habitat it provides for wildlife. "This facility belongs somewhere in a business district or other location in the Clifton area," local attorney Tim Mara said during a public hearing on the issue in June. "To use Burnet Woods for this purpose is setting a dangerous precedent. Park land is not vacant, idle land just sitting there. It serves a purpose until itself and needs not be used for other things." 

Three board members voted "no": Jim Goetz, Brad Linder and Susie Castellini. Linda Lee Thomas and Kevin Flynn voted in favor. 

"Twenty-three people spoke passionately and compellingly in support of CCAC's proposal this morning; 11 spoke in opposition," Leslie Mooney, CCAC's executive director, wrote on Facebook. "Thank you to all of you who wrote and spoke; your words were heartfelt and inspired. I will never forget them."

The Camping and Education Foundation also hoped to construct a 2,500-square foot "living building" in Burnet Woods; instead, the board voted for it to become part of the existing Trailside Nature Center.  

The CCAC says it will regroup and redouble its efforts in the coming weeks.

Jennifer Merritt brings 20 years of "tra-digital" journalism experience to WVXU.