City Has 3 Options For Funding Columbia Parkway Repairs

Apr 15, 2019

Cincinnati Council could vote next week on a plan to fund the $17 million of work needed to stabilize land along Columbia Parkway and keep it from sliding. There are three competing proposals for how to do that.

Council member Chris Seelbach said officials should consider reserve, or emergency funds.

"It frustrates me that we're not considering more options that would have less impact on current capital needs, especially when those options are for emergencies just like this," Seelbach said.

Option 1

The details of Option 1, which is preferred by city administrators:

  • $6.2 million from District 5 police project, and the headquarters would remain in College Hill for at least seven more years or longer
  • $7.6 million in new 20-year general obligation bonds, to be paid back with property tax increase approved in January 2018 intended for District 5
  • $3.2 million in new six-year general obligation bonds, to be paid back with rent payments from Cincinnati Southern Railway lease

The other Columbia Parkway options would preserve about $10 million in funding for a new District 5 building. That would cover the project cost on Central Parkway in Clifton, but it's only half of what's needed if a new building is built in College Hill.

Option 2

  • $7.6 million in new 20-year general obligation bonds, to be paid back with property tax increase approved in January 2018 intended for District 5
  • $9.4 million in new six-year year general obligation bonds, to be paid back with rent payments from Cincinnati Southern Railway lease

Option 3

  • $13.8 million in new 20-year general obligation bonds, to be paid back with property tax increase approved in January 2018 intended for District 5
  • $3.2 million in new six-year general obligation bonds, to be paid back with rent payments from Cincinnati Southern Railway lease

But city administrators said options 2 and 3 could threaten future city capital projects and cause a problem with the city's borrowing limits.

Council member Greg Landsman said the group needs to vote next week on Columbia Parkway.

"I think the people would prefer that we vote in the manner which you all are allowed, or the administration is allowed, to get the RFPs (request for proposals) out, select partners and get the work done as soon as humanly possible," Landsman said.

Last month city officials announced plans to stop active landslides on Columbia Parkway between Bains and Torrence will cost at least $17 million and likely lead to lane closures on the major artery for up two years.

A series of new retaining walls and "soil nailing" will be used to secure the hillside, and officials hope those fixes will last for 30 to 50 years.

City officials said they hope to keep two lanes open, one in each direction, and that could increase to three or four lanes at times during the construction. There will also be times when all of Columba Parkway, or some sections of it, will be completely closed to traffic.

Since the first of the year, there have been at least seven landslides along portions of Columbia Parkway.