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2 Council Members Have A Plan To Prevent Displacement Of West End Residents

fc cincinnati groundbreaking
John Minchillo
Project leaders, local politicians and members of the community participate in a formal groundbreaking ceremony on the new stadium in the West End for FC Cincinnati, Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2018.

Updated: Wednesday, 9:37 a.m.

Two Cincinnati City Council members are offering a solution to make sure some West End residents don't lose their housing because of the new FC Cincinnati soccer stadium.  
P.G. Sittenfeld and David Mann offered a solution in a City Council motion Tuesday.

"We move that FC Cincinnati, fulfilling its publicly stated commitment not to displace residents of the West End, arrange to make its building at 1559 Central Avenue available to provide safe, quality, affordable housing for any current residents of 421 Wade Street—located just feet away—in addition to continuing to provide housing for current residents of 1559 Central Avenue," the motion stated.

The Central Avenue building is not currently in the footprint for the stadium project, but the team would like to add Wade Street land.  That could mean residents in a building owned by the team could be without housing.

Mann worked with Sittenfeld on city funding for infrastructure work needed for the stadium project.

"This isn't something that we find acceptable," Mann said. "This is one solution; there may be other solutions. But human beings are going to be impacted, they've got to be treated like human beings who deserve to live in our city and in the West End."

Sittenfeld said people need to put themselves in the shoes of the residents who will be displaced.

"Another part of the initial deal that David and I brokered included public pledges and declarations by the team that people would not be displaced from where they live," Sittenfeld said. "We took those statements very seriously then, and we still do now."

FCC needs a zone change to add land on Wade Street to the stadium footprint and, right now, unless housing is protected for nearby residents, there are not enough council votes to approve that zoning issue.

Many nearby residents attended a public meeting Monday night complaining they've been told they must leave their housing by the end of the month. Late Tuesday, some West End residents released a letter they sent to FC Cincinnati General Manager Jeff Berding demanding to meet with him about the issue. "We are committed to only meeting with FCC or any of their partners as a group, we will not be split up," the letter said.

A team representative said no one will be without a home.