Denied historic landmark status, Price Hill building will be demolished
A Cincinnati Council committee voted 5-3 Tuesday to deny historic landmark status for a vacant building in West Price Hill, clearing the way for a new youth workforce development center.
The Boys & Girls Club of Greater Cincinnati wants to buy and demolish the former Radel Funeral Home, also called the Schulte House. The West Price Hill Community Council filed an application for historic designation, halting the sale. Director of Price Hill Will Rachel Hastings says her group wants to renovate the building, and says they suggested other sites for the workforce center.
"We are going to be potentially losing an asset when there are vacant lots immediately next door," Hastings said. "We've been trying to find a win-win solution and we hope that council can continue to work with us on that."
The Schulte House is located next to the current Boys & Girls Club center on Glenway Ave. CEO Bill Bresser told council members they looked at over a dozen other properties in Price Hill but none met their needs for the workforce center.
"Placing it just a few blocks away would create transportation issues for our families," Bresser said. "And we want to use existing club amenities, like the gym, and share staff."
Bresser says the Schulte House is not in good condition and it's not feasible to renovate it into what they need. He says if the historic landmark status were granted, the Boys & Girls Club would not have built the center in Price Hill.
The council vote is the final step in the application process for local historic landmark status.
The city's urban conservator evaluated the application and recommended granting historic status; but the Historic Conservation Board voted in October to recommend denying the request, saying the building doesn't meet the criteria for architectural significance. The City Planning Commission later agreed with a 4-1 vote.
"I'm certain that the experts of the Historic Conservation Board and the Planning Commission have all done their due diligence in arriving at a decision," said Council Member Meeka Owens. "This went through the necessary process of this private business matter. At this moment, I am not convinced that the governing bodies' decision should be overturned."
The ordinance would have required a super majority (six votes) to pass because it went against the recommendation of the Planning Commission.
Council Member Jeff Cramerding, a Price Hill resident, said council should save the building.
"A consideration is why did the commission disagree with the expert opinion of our staff member?" Cramerding said. "I think we all know what that is, and it is an issue of equity. There are two Cincinnati's: there's a standard for Hyde Park and Clifton and there's a standard for Price Hill and Avondale."
The council committee heard nearly three hours of public comment before voting 5-3 against the measure:
- In favor of granting historic landmark status: Council Members Jeff Cramerding, Mark Jeffreys and Jan-Michele Lemon Kearny
- Opposed: Council Members Reggie Harris, Scotty Johnson, Victoria Parks, Meeka Owens and Liz Keating
Boys & Girls Club officials say this was the last barrier to their plans for the workforce center and they will move ahead with the $3.5 million project.