RECREATION COMMISSION: The agency that operates the city’s recreational facilities recently was recognized as one of the best in the nation. The Cincinnati Recreation Commission (CRC) was reaccredited by the National Recreation & Parks Association, and is one of just 97 agencies nationwide to receive the distinction. To become accredited, an agency must comply with a majority of 144 standards related to the management and administration of lands, facilities, resources, programs, services and safety. The CRC is the first large urban recreation department in Ohio to receive accreditation. Established in 1927, the agency operates various facilities and programs including community recreation centers, athletic leagues, therapeutic programs for disabled people, after-school programs and summer day camps for kids and arts classes.
STATE GOP LAWMAKERS: Every time that you think Republican lawmakers couldn’t get more hypocritical, they come back and surprise you. This time it’s on the issue of “double-dipping,” when a public employee retires to collect his or her pension, then is rehired to another taxpayer-funded job so that person can also draw a paycheck.
As Bill Sloat reports on his Daily Bellwether blog, State Rep. Rex Damschroder (R-Fremont) has introduced a bill that would ban public employees from double-dipping but specifically exempts politicians. It seems Damschroder and his pals want to keep the perk. As the Progress Ohio blog noted, 11 Republican lawmakers who backed Senate Bill No. 5 received pensions from either or both of the two state public employee pension systems while also drawing a salary as a legislator.
MERCER COMMONS: We’re not quite sure what to think about the Cincinnati Planning Commission’s recent approval of plans to build Mercer Commons in Over-the-Rhine. On one hand, the neighborhood needs improvements and new residents to help it flourish. There’s certainly enough vacant buildings to accommodate any influx. On the other, 3CDC’s plan doesn’t exactly mesh well with surrounding architecture, as the city’s Historic Conservation Board pointed out. The $54 million project involves rehabbing 19 buildings and constructing three new ones between Vine and Walnut streets. When completed, it will include apartments, condominiums and retail space. We appreciate 3CDC’s labors, but it needs to be a better neighbor and not just steamroll over opposition. C’mon, 3CDC: You have enough TIF money that you should be able to afford tweaking your plans a bit.
THE ENQUIRER: Somehow, the region’s only daily newspaper can publish editorials lamenting when companies like Chiquita move away from Cincinnati without any irony. (Yes, it really did write that the region should be “pushing harder to encourage cultural diversity and bilingual education to have a workforce that will attract international companies to our area,” despite the fact that its editorial slant hampers such progressive virtues from taking hold here.) But The Enquirer is quietly about to eliminate up to 250 jobs itself, something you won’t read about in its pages. It plans on closing its Queensgate printing facility next year and contracting the work to either Dayton or Columbus, which is hardly what I would call community spirit. Maybe Publisher Margaret Buchanan can discuss that at her next Cincinnati Business Committee meeting.