0 Comments · Wednesday, September 26, 2012
The Cincinnati Park Board voted Sept. 20
to end Park Rule 28, which allowed the Park Board to enact new rules by
placing signs on Washington Park grounds.
by German Lopez
Cincinnati Park Board ends allegedly discriminatory rules
The Cincinnati Park Board today voted to strike down signs enforcing rules in Washington Park. The vote ended Park Rule 28, which
allowed the Park Board to enact new rules by placing a sign on Washington Park grounds.
The signs, which the city could use to enforce any park rule as law, had recently come under fire by
homeless advocate groups. In a statement, Josh Spring, executive director of the Greater Cincinnati Homeless Coalition, wrote, “Park Rule 28 allowed opening for the back-room creation of the special rules in Washington Park that were written by an employee of the Police Department, a couple of Park Board employees and 3CDC employees — completely without the input of the public or any legislative body or process.”Before the Park Board vote, homeless advocate groups
claimed the rules were being written away from public view — in part by
private companies. Jerry Davis, member of the Homeless Congress, cited 3CDC's involvement in the rule writing as an example: “3CDC is a private corporation that does not answer to the
Citizens of Cincinnati. This private group should not get to decide
what rules are created and enforced. 3CDC is saying to the Citizens of
Cincinnati, ‘You pay the bills and we make the decisions.' "
Three Over-the-Rhine residents, including Davis, sued the Park Board on
Sept. 4 to put an end to the signs. In a statement announcing
the lawsuit, Spring claimed the park rules “discriminate against
certain classes of people” — specifically, the homeless and poor.
The Washington Park rules were different than rules at other
Cincinnati parks in a few ways: They did not allow “dropping off food or
clothing,” “rummaging in trash and recycling containers” or the use of
any amplified sound. Homeless advocate groups claimed these rules were
contrary to broader park rules that allow the sharing of food, permit
inspecting and removing items from trash and recycling containers and
only prohibit amplified sound if it disturbs the peace or safety of the public.
Homeless advocate groups said the rules hurt others
as well. Spring wrote in the lawsuit’s press statement, “If a family
decides to picnic in Washington Park and the parents hand their children
food, they would be in breach of these rules, or if a friend hands a
jacket to her walking companion, she would have broken these rules.”
Cincinnati Police Department Captain Daniel Gerard admitted
the rules were targeting the homeless when, according to documents
revealed by homeless advocate groups, he said, “Until the Drop Inn
Center moves, the line about food and clothing drop off being prohibited
is absolutely needed.” The Drop Inn Center is a homeless shelter.Despite the Park Board vote, the lawsuit will continue. The city will file to dismiss the lawsuit, but the city claims the lawsuit should never have been brought forward.“The issue was brought to our attention, we took a look at it and decided to take down the signs, yet they inexplicably decided to file a suit anyway,” said Aaron Herzig, deputy city solicitor. “That's not how it should work. The city looks at a concern and decides to take action, and there's no need for a lawsuit at that point.”Jennifer Kinsley, the attorney representing the three Over-the-Rhine residents suing the city, defended the lawsuit and its continuance.“We congratulate the city on doing the right thing by repealing Rule 28, but the lawsuit covers a broader range of topics than just that rule,” she said, citing statutory damages. She also said she's worried the Park Board ruling will not overturn rules already enforced by the signs: “It may and it may not. We've seen that the Park Board, 3CDC and others are willing to bend the law in order to make special rules for that park, so the status of the rules for that particular area are unclear at the moment.”Herzig says the rules on the signs were not enforced after the signs were taken down “weeks before the lawsuit.” He says the only rules remaining are the rules officially published by the Park Board.
0 Comments · Wednesday, May 9, 2012
After safety issues, shipping
complications and ongoing construction postponed its original May 1
opening date, the Cincinnati Bike Center at Smale Riverfront Park opened
its doors to the public Sunday, May 6.
0 Comments · Tuesday, April 17, 2012
After years of planning and construction, the first phase of a major park along Cincinnati’s riverfront will open next month. The Cincinnati Park Board will hold a
grand opening ceremony for Phase I of the Smale Riverfront Park on May
18. It’s located along Mehring Way between Walnut Street and Joe Nuxhall
Way downtown, near the Roebling Suspension Bridge.
1 Comment · Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Grumpy ol’ Dusty is at it again, jumping into his neighbor’s business. This time, the crotchety Hamilton County auditor wrote a memo to Cincinnati City Council members, advising them not to seek state funding for the city’s streetcar project because the county still is waiting on some cash for the not-quite-so-new-anymore Reds and Bengals stadiums. Ohio officials pledged about $80 million for the two sports facilities more than a decade ago, but county officials haven’t received the last $7.55 million of that amount.