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Reece promises 'One Hamilton County' in 2023 State of the County Address

Hamilton County Commissioner Alicia Reece
Becca Costello
/
WVXU
Hamilton County Commission President Alicia Reece gave her first State of the County Address on January 25, 2023.

Hamilton County Commissioner Alicia Reece says the county has never been stronger. Reece delivered her first State of the County address Wednesday night.

This is her first year as President of the Board, a position that rotates among the three members. The last few State of the County addresses have been canceled due to the pandemic.

“The condition of Hamilton County has never been stronger, has never been more inclusive, has never had this kind of money in savings before — we are strong in Hamilton County,” Reece said.

Reece says the motto she’s pushing is One Hamilton County, “where all citizens can afford to live here, raise a family here, relocate here, open a small business here, grow here, retire here and thrive here.”

Reece announced the creation of a One Hamilton County round table with elected officials that will meet on a quarterly basis.

She says county officials are committed to making government more accessible, highlighting the re-launch of the 513 Relief bus. The mobile assistance bus (formally named the Hamilton County Equity and Resources Mobile Tech Bus) will officially launch Thursday morning; the first iteration used a vehicle borrowed from UC Health while the county’s purchase was on back order.

513relief bus
Becca Costello
/
WVXU
The Hamilton County Equity & Resources Mobile Tech Bus, also called the 513 Relief bus.

Commissioners also set aside $2.5 million in the latest budget to establish the first-ever satellite office for county operations. The office will be in what’s currently an empty warehouse at 525 Northland Blvd. in Forest Park. It could be open by the end of the year.

“We’re on the way to better connect people [in] the northern part of our county,” Reece said.

The commissioner also announced the county is exploring the creation of a “state of the art comprehensive youth amateur sports facility.”

“We have people winning and everything from baseball, soccer, basketball, rugby, volleyball, gymnastics, cheerleading, tennis, and the list goes on,” Reece said. “But what we're missing out on is a $91 billion industry called youth amateur sports … we're not in the tourism game if we're not in the US amateur sports game.”

The county budget includes $200,000 for a feasibility study. Reece announced the creation of a committee to guide the process, made up of representatives from the Port of Greater Cincinnati, the Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, and youth athletes.

Reece highlighted recent announcements for grant funding to replace the Western Hills Viaduct and build a companion to the Brent Spence Bridge.

On environmental issues, Reece says one thing is a clear priority: the Cincinnati Police gun range in Evendale. The Village of Lincoln Heights has lobbied for years to move the gun range. Near-constant gunfire can be heard nearly everywhere in the community.

“That’s an environmental injustice,” Reece said.

Commissioners have set aside $15 million to build a new facility that would host both the Cincinnati Police gun range and training space for other area law enforcement. The City of Cincinnati also set aside $2 million for that purpose. Reece teased an announcement of even more funds for the project.

“United States Senator Sherrod Brown on Monday is going to announce some money,” Reece said. “We're almost there.”

Reece touted the Cincinnati Black Music Walk of Fame, an attraction at The Banks she proposed nearly two years ago. Originally slated to be complete in July 2022, Reece said Wednesday the grand opening will be July 22, 2023.

At least one new musician will be inducted into the Walk of Fame this year: Louise Shropshire, credited with writing the famous song “We Shall Overcome.”

Reece says the most important message of the 2023 State of the County address is that the people of Hamilton County are first.

“There may be things that we didn't expect to come toward us; we're going to shift, we're going to make it work, but we're going to stand up for the citizens of Hamilton County.”

Becca Costello grew up in Williamsburg and Batavia (in Clermont County) listening to WVXU. Before joining the WVXU newsroom, she worked in public radio & TV journalism in Bloomington, Indiana and Lincoln, Nebraska. Becca has earned numerous awards for her reporting, including from local chapters of the Associated Press and Society of Professional Journalists, and contributed to regional and national Murrow Award winners. Becca has a master's degree in journalism from Indiana University and a bachelor's degree from Cincinnati Christian University. Becca's dog Cincy (named for the city they once again call home) is even more anxious than she is.