Cincinnati Recreation Needs Lots Of Money For Basic Repairs

May 9, 2017

Cincinnati Recreation officials say they need $94 million in the next six years just to repair and maintain current facilities.  

At the same time, the city's budget is expected to include only about $15 million for that work.  

But even with needed repairs, Recreation Director Daniel Betts told a City Council committee Tuesday, all the facilities are safe.

"In spite of what we are going to share with you today here in terms of our capital need and where we are at in terms of dollars to maintain and keep up the great assets that we have, we will not open a facility if it's not properly ready to be utilized by the public," Betts said.

The city has 23 recreation centers, 23 swimming pools and a host of other courts, fields and playgrounds.

Council Member Christopher Smitherman said the deferred maintenance can't continue.

"The bottom line here is that none of these costs are going away," Smitherman said. "They're getting bigger as we go out in the outer years because the cost of material, the cost of labor continues to go higher."

It's a problem facing many city agencies.   

A report released last month finds Cincinnati needs more than $100 million to replace obsolete and inadequate facilities for general fund departments like fire and police.  

Council Member Charlie Winburn suggested recreation and other city departments hire a fundraiser to work with the local business community to seek private sector funds to address some of the deferred maintenance issues.