Fix Columbia Parkway Or Fund District 5? Council Will Decide In Two Weeks

Apr 8, 2019

A Cincinnati Council committee is expected to vote in two weeks on how to pay for the $17 million worth of repairs needed to prevent landslides along portions of Columbia Parkway. But the city administration plan could mean the District 5 police headquarters would remain in College Hill, where it's been since March 2018.  

Assistant City Manager Chris Bigham addressed the issue during a meeting Monday.

"Under this plan, District 5 would remain at its current location for at least seven years," Bigham said. "Quite frankly it could be there in perpetuity. The thought is to use the $3.2 million in investments for that site so it could be the permanent home of District 5."

City officials said it's a solution that provides for police while freeing up about $6 million for Columbia Parkway.  

Some council members say they're not convinced.

Council Member Chris Seelbach said he doesn't want the public outreach on selecting a District 5 location to be lost.

"Hundreds if not thousands of people have worked on the solution for where to put District 5, and I would like to not put their work in the garbage," Seelbach said. "I'd like to somehow actually listen to what they've said and continue to further that path of community engagement to a final decision. Right now, it's between one in College Hill and one in Clifton."

The city has held hearings and meetings to get community feedback on where District 5 should be located. At one time, there were 37 sites under consideration.

There seems to be some discussion about finding alternative funding sources that could pay for the Columbia Parkway work while allowing District 5 to be built.

City officials say rehabbing the old permit center at 3300 Central Parkway in Clifton for District 5, which the city already owns, would cost about $10 million. The city has funding in hand to complete that work.  It's the money city administrators propose re-directing a portion of to Columbia Parkway.

Using the site on Hamilton Avenue would be about $22 million, and there's not enough money for that plan right now.