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Macy's HQ redevelopment, GCWW leak program and more win approval from City Council

cincinnati city hall
Jason Whitman

Cincinnati Council approved several measures Wednesday, including new video equipment for the Citizen Complaint Authority, a development agreement for a Downtown project, and a new program for Greater Cincinnati Waterworks.

CCA interviews

Cincinnati's independent police oversight board will soon start video recording all investigative interviews. Council voted to appropriate $21,800 to purchase equipment and software for the Citizen Complaint Authority.

CCA Director Gabe Davis says audio recordings are already current practice.

"This is a step that's long overdue," Davis said. "It certainly is in line with best practices around the country for these investigations. And it's going to enable us to ensure that we have complete and accurate and full interviews that we do when we bring police officers before us to answer allegations made against them."

The funds were already part of the CCA budget but required council action to move from one part of the budget to another. The equipment should be purchased and in place early this year.

Macy's development

Council unanimously approved a development agreement for the former Macy's HQ building Downtown, including a 25-year tax exemption. The project will create 338 apartment units on several floors of the office building, priced at "market-rate" rents: $1,350/month for a studio, $2,150/month for a two-bedroom.

Council members and Mayor Aftab Pureval praised the project, calling it a "home run" for the city.

The developer will save an estimated $10,790,844 over 25 years. In exchange, they will pay a total $8.2 million to Cincinnati Public Schools and $3.7 million to the city's fund for streetcar operation and maintenance.

GCWW leak program

A new program will soon offer Cincinnatians a break on large water bills caused by an outdoor service line leak. Council passed an ordinance Wednesday approving the plan.

"Last year, we had 394 customers formerly report a private service line leak," said Tony Searls, commercial superintendent for Greater Cincinnati Waterworks. "And so with the program cap of $1,000, we estimate last year would have [cost] $394,000."

Searls says an outdoor leak on a private service line often goes unnoticed until the huge bill arrives. Customers who fix the leak within 30 days will be eligible to have much of the extra charges forgiven.

Convention center district

A roadmap for developing a "convention center district" in downtown Cincinnati passed easily through council Wednesday, after passing through committee last week.

Hamilton County commissioners are set to consider a similar proposal Thursday afternoon.

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.