by Andy Brownfield
Head of community group sends letter opposing parking privatization
One of Cincinnati’s largest neighborhoods and business
districts is adamantly against a proposed plan to lease the city’s
A Dec. 7 letter to the mayor from Clifton Town Meeting
President Peter Schneider calls the plan “baffling,” “short sighted” and
The city administration wants to lease all Cincinnati
parking meters, garages and surface lots for 30 years in exchange for an
upfront payment of at least $40 million and a share of the profits.
The city wants to use $21 million of the upfront payment to help close a $34 million hole in the upcoming budget.
Schneider writes that the proposal is bad for business,
making it harder for customers to find cheap or free parking near retail
areas like Clifton’s Ludlow Avenue corridor.
He also worried that a private operator would ratchet up
the price for parking, making the facilities “unidirectional ATM’s (sic) benefiting a third party that provides minimal or no value to the
Schneider also complains that Cincinnatians have not been given details of the deal or the opportunity to weigh in on it.
“It is unconscionable that the City administration would
allow a similar plan (to the citizen-defeated red-light cameras)
affecting parking meters and services be railroaded through City Hall
without the appropriate sunshine and input of the populace,” he wrote.
He also compares the proposal to Hamilton County’s
mishandling of the stadium deals, claiming that a similar long-term
lease is unwise.
Schneider ends the letter by admitting that there are some
aspects of outsourcing that could be beneficial, such as private
management of surface lots or garages or maintenance, but the idea of
privatizing everything goes too far.
by Andy Brownfield
Committee members want to change way contracts are written to ensure fair wages
A City Council committee wants Cincinnati’s leadership to
investigate whether workers in a Clifton Heights development project are being paid
what they’re supposed to.
The Strategic Growth Committee on Wednesday passed a motion
asking the city administration to report back on wage payments to workers on
the U Square development. The project includes a parking garage as well as
residential and commercial units.
Under Ohio law, workers on projects funded by cities must be paid
a prevailing wage, which is equivalent to the wage earned by a union worker on
a similar project.
The city only has money invested in the garage, and the state of Ohio recently ruled that
workers on other parts don’t have to be paid prevailing wage.
Council members Wendell Young, Cecil Thomas and Laure Quinlivan
produced a video in which they interviewed carpenters who said they were being
paid less than the prevailing wage.
At issue is a letter from developer Towne Properties that says
the company will pay all workers prevailing wage anyway. Arn Bortz with Towne
Properties said his company cuts a check to subcontractors respecting that
agreement, so if workers aren’t being paid the proper amount it’s their fault.
City Solicitor John Curp told members of the Strategic Growth
Committee that under city and state law, the subcontractors are not required to
pay workers a prevailing wage on parts of the project that are not getting
public funding. He said the letter from the developer does not hold the weight
as a legal contract.
Young, Thomas, Quinlivan and Councilman P.G. Sittenfeld all
expressed the need to overhaul the way the city enters into development
contracts to better protect workers.
However, City Manager Milton Dohoney hinted that overzealous
requirements for high wages could chase off some development projects.
He said that a project like U Square is tied to the Clifton
location because of its proximity to the University of Cincinnati, but the city
can’t be too restrictive when it comes to businesses that could expand
Dohoney said the city also doesn’t currently have the manpower to
do the kind of aggressive enforcement that the council members were asking for.
Councilman Young countered that he would like to see the city be
as aggressive with enforcement as they are with making economic development
“We want to change the rules of the game to make sure everyone is
treated equal,” Young said.
0 Comments · Wednesday, November 7, 2012
Some members of City Council during a
special joint committee meeting Nov. 1 agreed that the city needs to
take a hard look at the way it inspects projects done with taxpayer
money, but they took no action other than discussing allegations that
workers were being underpaid at the University Square development in
by Jac Kern
Odds are if you’re
reading this, you already know all about the 11th annual music
festival descending upon OTR and Downtown Cincinnati this weekend. MidPoint
Music Festival runs tonight through Saturday, bringing more than 100 local,
regional and national musicians to the city. If you still haven’t gotten
tickets, planned your schedule and read interviews with artists, find all that
good stuff here.
There’s more to
MPMF than hopping from venue to venue and discovering your new favorite band
(though that is an awesome aspect). The MidPoint Midway, which takes over
Twelfth Street between Vine and Walnut, is not only the box office location
(where you can still purchase three- or one-day tickets) but also features the
returning Box Truck Carnival, poster expo, photo booth, food court and more.
Here, MPMFers can enjoy box truck gallery exhibits, improv shows, an arcade
and more interactive activities between concerts each day.
Just down the
street at the School for Creative and Performing Arts, the Midland Film
Institute presents the first MidPoint Film Festival, featuring local,
independent and cult films (ahem, Human
Centipede double feature). It’s a great sign that MPMF has
expanded beyond music to incorporate art, film, theater and more entertainment
— there’s quite literally something for everyone, from children to hip kids to
old timers. Read more about the carnival and film fest here.
When you’re all
MPMF-ed out, there’s even more happening around town.
Amid the MidPoint
action, Night Owl Market returns to the parking lot at Main Street and Central
Parkway. Grub out on goodies from local food trucks like SugarSnap!, New
Orleans To Go and C’est Cheese from 8 p.m.-3 a.m. Friday and Saturday. Vendors
will also be on hand hawking goods each night.
Remember our cover
story on the area steampunk trend? The antiqued-futuristic creatives who
brought the Steampunk Symposium to Cincinnati present Pandoracon Friday-Sunday.
Whether you’re into comics, sci-fi, anime, cosplay or anything in between,
there’s a nerd in all of us that wants to come out and play at Pandoracon. Meet
fantasy artists and authors, geek out in the game room, dress in costume, watch
sideshow circus acts and stop by what are sure to be some of the craziest hotel
parties — all at Blue Ash’s Crowne Plaza Hotel. There are tons of events all
weekend long, so go here for more info and tickets.
This weekend is
locals’ last chance to celebrate Oktoberfest this year with Newport on the
Levee’s festival running Friday-Sunday. Enjoy live music, traditional dancers
and all the beer and schnitzel you can stomach. Find a full rundown of events and menus here.
From UC students
and grads to retired hippies to skater kids, Clifton has been home to many of
us at one point or another, and the neighborhood holds special memories for
most who have visited. Make more during A Weekend in Clifton, a celebration of Ludlow Avenue and its surroundings. The street will be closed
from 6 p.m. Friday-Sunday to accommodate Cliftonfest — featuring vendors, live
music and artists — and the 10th annual StreetScapes street-painting
Residents, nearby businesses lament delayed reopening of Clifton IGA
16 Comments · Wednesday, May 9, 2012
In January of 2011, Keller’s IGA on Ludlow
Avenue closed its doors, leaving Clifton
residents devastated. For those who believe “devastated” to be too
strong of a word, simply ask residents how much the store is missed orb visit the numerous posts on Facebook asking about the
store’s reopening or watch the YouTube videos of the passionate pleas to
Ohio Gov. John Kasich to save the store.
0 Comments · Wednesday, March 28, 2012
Since it’s such a huge, kick-ass music
festival that spotlights the newest and best of the local, original
music scene from several genres, we thought we’d give you a little heads
up on next week’s Clifton Heights Music Festival so you can make plans
0 Comments · Tuesday, February 28, 2012
Singer/songwriter Holly Spears celebrates the release of her first full-length album, Heartache to Hope,
at the 20th Century Theater in Oakley this Friday.
Three Democrats battle for the new 31st Ohio House District
4 Comments · Tuesday, February 21, 2012
Fascinating, diverse, progressive — those
are just a handful of words that are being used to describe the new 31st
Ohio House District. Consisting of Amberley Village, Clifton,
Clifton Heights, Evanston, Madisonville, Hyde Park, Northside, Oakley,
Silverton, St. Bernard and Walnut Hills, the district contains many
walks of life, including a healthy liberal population.
Timetable is fuzzy, but project could begin in spring
1 Comment · Wednesday, January 19, 2011
As the redevelopment of Clifton Heights continues to occur, another area neighborhood is also preparing for a complete renovation. Corryville, which is located directly next to Clifton Heights and is home to many University of Cincinnati students, will be experiencing various changes during the coming year. The first will be the complete reconstruction of a popular shopping center called University Plaza.