OTR Stakeholders To Decide If The Neighborhood Should Get More Attention

Feb 5, 2020

Some Over-the-Rhine residents will begin voting later this month on whether to set up a special improvement district (SID) in the neighborhood.

The initial area for the OTR SID would be south of Liberty, between Central Parkway and Spring Street.

The SID would be funded by property owners in the district with an assessment on their annual property taxes. Those same owners would elect a board of trustees and decide what additional services would be provided. Those include things like litter pickup, graffiti removal, snow removal, and beautification projects.

Definition of a special improvement district provided to the Hamilton County commissioners.
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A similar SID has been in place for the downtown Central Business District for 20 years.  That district now contracts with 3CDC to provide services, and before that it was handled by Downtown Cincinnati Inc. (DCI) Probably the most noticeable part of that program are the downtown ambassadors.

Greg Olson is the co-chair of a group that's been working on the OTR special improvement district. He briefed Hamilton County commissioners on the proposal Tuesday, since the county would have buildings in the SID, and the county has the option to participate.  The county does participate in the Central Business District SID.

"It's basically intended to make this destination very guest friendly, but also very friendly for the businesses and the residents that live in that area," Olson said.

Letters and ballots will be sent to effected OTR property owners on Feb. 18. The voting will likely last for 60 days. The proposal must be approved by 60% of property owners in the proposed SID. If property owners approve, Cincinnati City Council must also vote on it.

3CDC estimates the budget for the OTR SID at $775,000. Of that amount, $125,000 would be contributed by 3CDC and community partners.  The remaining $650,000 would come from property owners.

That assessment is based on 25% street frontage and 75% on the county auditor's assessed value.  That is approximately $2.03 per linear front foot and $1.20 for $1,000 of market value.

Examples of how much OTR property owners would pay to participate in the the proposed special improvement district.
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In 2017, a working committee of OTR stakeholders began looking at creating a SID. Several years ago, the OTR Chamber did a similar study, but it found property values would not support such a district.  But that's changed with the increasing property values in the neighborhood.