A large crowd gathered at City Hall yesterday afternoon to hear Cincinnati City Council's Budget & Finance Committee discuss a financing plan for the redevelopment of Washington Park
in historic Over-the-Rhine. After much discussion, the committee approved $14 million in public funding for the $47.4 million project by a 6-0 margin with Charlie Winburn (R) abstaining and both Leslie Ghiz (R) and Chris Monzel (R) absent.
The Budget & Finance Committee is comprised of the full City Council which will formally vote on the issue this Wednesday, June 30th. The public funding portion of the plan includes a $2 million capital grant, $500,000 from the Metropolitan Sewer District
(MSD), and $11.5 million from a Tax Increment Finance (TIF) District in Downtown and Over-the-Rhine which includes 300 acres of land and captures incremental gains in real estate taxes for improvements within the TIF District.
At the meeting, President and CEO of the Cincinnati Center City Development Corporation
(3CDC) Steve Leeper, stated that construction could begin by August 2010 and be completed by late 2011. Once complete, the renovated Washington Park will include a new $27 million, 470-space underground parking garage and a variety of other improvements including a new open lawn area, spray grounds, children's play area, plaza space across from Music Hall, dog park, and renovation of the park's historic bandstand.
"The Washington Park project is an important and critical next step in the overall, on-going renaissance of Over-the-Rhine," 3CDC stated. "This investment will return the park to its original stature as a beautiful, safe, public, green space with a variety of features for all neighborhood residents as well as visitors to enjoy."
The financing plan presented to the Budget & Finance Committee provides that the $14 million in public funding will be complimented by $25.5 million in private supportand $5 million from a State of Ohio Department of Development
Urban Redevelopment Loan and $2.85 million State of Ohio Capital Grant. Private financing components include:
It is estimated that the redevelopment of Washington Park will create 920 temporary construction jobs and spur private investment in the immediate area similar to the $125 million in private investment made surrounding Fountain Square following its renovation in 2005.
According to 3CDC, "The proximity of Washington Park, Music Hall, the new School for Creative and Performing Arts, the Art Academy of Cincinnati, the Ensemble Theatre and other arts venues, combined with the historical significance and Italianate architecture of OTR, will make the Park an entertainment and arts destination locally, regionally and nationally. It will stimulate additional private economic development, which will further improve the quality of life for the neighborhood and its residents."
Writer: Randy A. SimesImage Provided
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