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Former CPD District 5 HQ will be renovated into space for Cincinnati Parks workers

Tana Weingartner

The hotly debated site of the former District 5 headquarters for Cincinnati Police will be renovated into space for part of the Cincinnati Park Board.

CPD moved out of the building on Ludlow Ave about five years ago. Officers and FOP leadership complained of overcrowding and unhealthy working conditions.

Meanwhile, the current Parks Operations Center in Avondale is being sold to the CDC for a new occupational safety and health facility. City Council voted Wednesday to approve $1.45 million to renovate the Ludlow building into the new headquarters for the Cincinnati Park Board Natural Resources Team.

The funds are already part of the parks department's budget. It's not clear how much the total renovation will cost, something Council Member Mark Jeffreys has questions about.

"I know this was obviously a hot topic with District 5, moving them out of there because of health concerns," Jeffreys told the city budget director in committee this week. "So I just would love to get an understanding of how much is the cost of the total fix up."

RELATED: Cincinnati might reduce the number of police districts, avoiding cost of a new District 5 HQ

CPD moved officers and administration out of the District 5 headquarters after years of complaints and concerns ranging from parking to flooding to air quality. The city even faced a lawsuit from the widow of an officer who worked in the building for 12 years and later died of cancer.

The city gave the building a "clean bill of health" in 2016 after a series of environmental tests. Two years later, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health conducted a Health Hazard Evaluation to look at a potential "cancer cluster" among officers who worked in the building. Their analysis says evidence does not suggest the cancers identified in officers are associated with working there.

CPD District 5 is currently using part of a strip mall in College Hill, with crumbling ceilings and no secure parking lot.

RELATED: Council funds Columbia Parkway repairs over District 5 HQ

After years of debate about location and funding for a new District 5 headquarters, the city is now working on a Public Safety Facilities master plan that may recommend combining police districts, avoiding the $20 million to $30 million cost of a new facility. The city put out a Request for Proposals for the study and is evaluating the responses now.

Local Government Reporter with a particular focus on Cincinnati; experienced journalist in public radio and television throughout the Midwest. Enthusiastic about: civic engagement, public libraries, and urban planning.