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Cincinnati officials want feedback on how to conduct a new economic disparity study

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The first of five public meetings about a new Cincinnati economic disparity study is Wednesday afternoon.

City officials want to get public feedback before putting out a request for proposals to find the right consultant to conduct the study.

Economic Inclusion Director Laura Castillo says the study will look at whether the city is consistently working with businesses owned by women and minorities.

LISTEN: Are women- and minority-owned businesses getting their fair share from Cincinnati?

"I think that there's a very big benefit to ensuring that before we even launch the disparity study or the RFP, we've got people talking about the study, we've got people involved in the study, and we're doing everything we can not to just inform people, but to listen to their feedback," Castillo said.

The last disparity study was completed less than a year ago and looked at city contracting from 2016 to 2020. The study found that while eligible firms in the region owned by women or minorities ranged from 10% to 25% of all firms in industries the city utilizes, the city was paying out less than 5% of its contracting dollars to those firms.

Castillo says the new study will expand the calculation for how many minority- and women-owned business are available in the region.

"We're really hoping that folks come share their stories, share their experiences, and then ultimately we work on putting forward not just an RFP that incorporates community thought, but then also potential recommendations for what we can do as the Department of Economic inclusion to boost our outreach, boost our conversations with folks," Castillo said.

Five total public meetings are planned between now and the end of August:

  • Wednesday, July 10 at 3 p.m. — Walnut Hills Library
  • Thursday, July 25 at 6 p.m. — virtual
  • Wednesday, July 31 at 10 a.m. — City Hall
  • Thursday, August 15 at 3 p.m. — Price Hill Library
  • Wednesday, August 28 at 10 a.m. — virtual
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.