• What now for Cincinnati parks projects?

    From Garrison Hilliard@21:1/5 to All on Sun Nov 8 18:34:13 2015
    XPost: rec.bicycles.misc, rec.bicycles.tech

    A plethora of parks projects around the city once again find
    themselves unfunded after the failure of the Cincinnati parks levy
    last week.

    City leaders still grapple, meanwhile, with $55 million worth of
    maintenance work that leaders say is badly needed across the parks
    system.

    What now for the parks?

    City Council is about to begin its update for next year's budget, and
    Mayor John Cranley, who proposed the parks tax that was turned down by
    voters, said he will recommend raising the parks' capital budget from
    roughly $1.7 million to $4 million.

    Not so fast, said Councilman Charlie Winburn, chairman of Council's
    budget and finance committee.

    "I want to hear from the Park Board," said Winburn, noting that
    Cincinnati's parks are rated highly nationwide. "It's not like our
    parks are falling apart."

    Winburn said he will ask that park leaders come to a public meeting in
    coming weeks. He wants them to explain exactly what maintenance work
    is needed in the park system and what those leaders see as their
    priorities.

    As that process begins, leaders of projects that had been set to
    receive as much as $87 million in funding from the parks levy are left
    to regroup. And overall, the parks face a future without what would
    have become an annual added funding source in perpetuity.

    For some planned projects, a path forward exists.For others, the
    future is unclear. And one councilman believes any future parks
    projects require more public input than had occurred in the planning
    of the parks levy.

    At least one project, a renovation of Ziegler Park in Over-the-Rhine
    and Pendleton, will go on as planned. Managers hadn't depended on $5
    million headed their way had the levy passed.

    But another downtown project could be in big trouble. Lytle Park,
    currently a giant hole in the ground while highway work is done on the
    tunnel beneath it, was also set to get $5 million.

    Once the tunnel is completed, "we will fill in the hole," Parks
    Director Willie Carden said last week. "But there is no money to
    implement the Lytle Park master plan."

    What about all those trail

    projects proposed around town?

    Four trail systems around Cincinnati had been in line for a huge chunk
    of project funding $39 million if the levy had passed, but
    supporters aren't giving up.

    "We have too much to gain to stop working hard on these projects,"
    said Robin Corathers, executive director of Groundwork Cincinnati. Her
    group has been constructing one of the trails, the Mill Creek
    Greenway, since 2009.

    In early 2014, before the levy was proposed, leaders of the four
    trails, Wasson Way, Ohio River West, Mill Creek Greenway and Oasis
    Trail, began working on a plan to connect their projects into a
    44-mile loop around the city. That effort is called Cincinnati
    Connects.


    Financial support from the levy would have jump-started the project,
    said Corathers, whose organization is spearheading the regional
    effort. Nonetheless, the group will announce its preliminary design
    plans and cost/benefit analysis later this month, as planned.
    Fundraising will begin as well.

    Corathers calls Cincinnati Connects a legacy project that would
    benefit public health, create a transportation alternative for
    pedestrians and bicyclists and act as an economic driver.

    "We want that for everyone, not just the affluent neighborhoods,"
    Corathers said. "We hope once City Council and the city administration
    is briefed they will integrate this into the city's plans."

    Area trail efforts also have a new resource going for them. Green
    Umbrella, a nonprofit organization that supports and advocates for
    outdoor recreation, has a new regional trails coordinator. Wade
    Johnston began in that role in March and has a background in planning
    and project development.

    Local, state and federal funding is limited and competitive, Johnston acknowledged. If the groups work together, they will have a better
    shot, he said.

    "There other sources out there," Johnston said. "One option we haven't
    explored enough is corporate support."

    What about Smale, Burnet

    Woods and the other park projects?

    If the levy had passed, four park renovation projects would have
    received funding: Ziegler and Lytle in the city's basin, Inwood Park
    in Mount Auburn and Burnet Woods in Clifton.

    The $30 million Ziegler project is being coordinated by Cincinnati
    Center City Development Corporation, better known as 3CDC. The project
    includes a new pool, sprayground, revamped green spaces and basketball
    courts and a garage. Planning began more than two years ago and would
    be paid for with equity that 3CDC receives from new market tax
    credits, tax increment financing in Over-the-Rhine and private
    fundraising.

    As for the others, Parks Director Carden said there is no money
    available.

    That goes for completing Smale Riverfront Park, too. There is still
    one phase yet to be completed at the park between Cincinnati's
    professional sports stadiums that includes a marina and constructing a
    hard edge along the park, akin to Serpentine Wall.

    The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has offered $1.8 million in funding
    for the marina. In order to secure that money, the city must come up
    with $1.5 million by next year, Carden said.

    The Park Board will implement the Parks Master Plan as funding becomes available, Carden said. That plan does not include some levy projects,
    such as a park near Westwood Town Hall and preservation of the
    historic King Records studio in Evanston.

    The Cincinnati Parks Foundation has played the lead role in raising
    private dollars from corporations and individuals for parks capital
    projects. Executive Director Jennifer Hafner-Spieser said the
    organization remains committed to fundraising and other parts of its
    mission such as conservation and youth programming.

    With the levy's defeat, the foundation has initiated a strategic
    planning process to determine how it will proceed in its support for
    projects and deferred maintenance needs, Spieser said.

    Will parks levy failure create a new level

    of public scrutiny over parks projects?

    No matter what, Cincinnati City Councilman Chris Seelbach said,
    projects and their funding must be discussed at length with the
    public.

    Lack of public input was a significant criticism of the parks levy.

    Seelbach says he's pushing for the first discussion to be about the
    Wasson Way trail project. That project has been in the works for about
    four years and entails turning an old railroad track that runs from
    Avondale through the city's East Side into a hike and bike trail.

    A majority of City Council has said it will work together to see that
    the project is completed. Seelbach said this project is important
    because it could also preserve a future route for light rail some day.

    Time is of the essence, too, because Norfolk Southern railroad, which
    owns the track, has offered the city an the option to buy about half
    of the length of the 7.6-mile proposed trail. But that offer, which
    would cost $11.7 million, expires in less than two years.

    Seelbach suggested a series of ideas for funding, including a
    temporary property tax or using money from the city's sale of the Blue
    Ash airport, which is expected to net the city more than $20 million.
    None of that should happen without community support, he said.

    "There's going to be pluses and minuses for all the options," Seelbach
    said. "If people can come up with other ideas, let's encourage that."

    That's a process, Seelbach said, that could be used for any of the
    proposed levy projects.

    http://www.cincinnati.com/story/news/2015/11/08/what-now-cincinnati-park-projects-levy/75207286/

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  • From AMuzi@21:1/5 to Garrison Hilliard on Mon Nov 9 06:13:07 2015
    XPost: rec.bicycles.misc, rec.bicycles.tech

    On 11/8/2015 6:34 PM, Garrison Hilliard wrote:
    A plethora of parks projects around the city once again find
    themselves unfunded after the failure of the Cincinnati parks levy
    last week.

    City leaders still grapple, meanwhile, with $55 million worth of
    maintenance work that leaders say is badly needed across the parks
    system.

    What now for the parks?

    City Council is about to begin its update for next year's budget, and
    Mayor John Cranley, who proposed the parks tax that was turned down by voters, said he will recommend raising the parks' capital budget from
    roughly $1.7 million to $4 million.

    Not so fast, said Councilman Charlie Winburn, chairman of Council's
    budget and finance committee.

    "I want to hear from the Park Board," said Winburn, noting that
    Cincinnati's parks are rated highly nationwide. "It's not like our
    parks are falling apart."

    Winburn said he will ask that park leaders come to a public meeting in
    coming weeks. He wants them to explain exactly what maintenance work
    is needed in the park system and what those leaders see as their
    priorities.

    As that process begins, leaders of projects that had been set to
    receive as much as $87 million in funding from the parks levy are left
    to regroup. And overall, the parks face a future without what would
    have become an annual added funding source in perpetuity.

    For some planned projects, a path forward exists.For others, the
    future is unclear. And one councilman believes any future parks
    projects require more public input than had occurred in the planning
    of the parks levy.

    At least one project, a renovation of Ziegler Park in Over-the-Rhine
    and Pendleton, will go on as planned. Managers hadn't depended on $5
    million headed their way had the levy passed.

    But another downtown project could be in big trouble. Lytle Park,
    currently a giant hole in the ground while highway work is done on the
    tunnel beneath it, was also set to get $5 million.

    Once the tunnel is completed, "we will fill in the hole," Parks
    Director Willie Carden said last week. "But there is no money to
    implement the Lytle Park master plan."

    What about all those trail

    projects proposed around town?

    Four trail systems around Cincinnati had been in line for a huge chunk
    of project funding $39 million if the levy had passed, but
    supporters aren't giving up.

    "We have too much to gain to stop working hard on these projects,"
    said Robin Corathers, executive director of Groundwork Cincinnati. Her
    group has been constructing one of the trails, the Mill Creek
    Greenway, since 2009.

    In early 2014, before the levy was proposed, leaders of the four
    trails, Wasson Way, Ohio River West, Mill Creek Greenway and Oasis
    Trail, began working on a plan to connect their projects into a
    44-mile loop around the city. That effort is called Cincinnati
    Connects.


    Financial support from the levy would have jump-started the project,
    said Corathers, whose organization is spearheading the regional
    effort. Nonetheless, the group will announce its preliminary design
    plans and cost/benefit analysis later this month, as planned.
    Fundraising will begin as well.

    Corathers calls Cincinnati Connects a legacy project that would
    benefit public health, create a transportation alternative for
    pedestrians and bicyclists and act as an economic driver.

    "We want that for everyone, not just the affluent neighborhoods,"
    Corathers said. "We hope once City Council and the city administration
    is briefed they will integrate this into the city's plans."

    Area trail efforts also have a new resource going for them. Green
    Umbrella, a nonprofit organization that supports and advocates for
    outdoor recreation, has a new regional trails coordinator. Wade
    Johnston began in that role in March and has a background in planning
    and project development.

    Local, state and federal funding is limited and competitive, Johnston acknowledged. If the groups work together, they will have a better
    shot, he said.

    "There other sources out there," Johnston said. "One option we haven't explored enough is corporate support."

    What about Smale, Burnet

    Woods and the other park projects?

    If the levy had passed, four park renovation projects would have
    received funding: Ziegler and Lytle in the city's basin, Inwood Park
    in Mount Auburn and Burnet Woods in Clifton.

    The $30 million Ziegler project is being coordinated by Cincinnati
    Center City Development Corporation, better known as 3CDC. The project includes a new pool, sprayground, revamped green spaces and basketball
    courts and a garage. Planning began more than two years ago and would
    be paid for with equity that 3CDC receives from new market tax
    credits, tax increment financing in Over-the-Rhine and private
    fundraising.

    As for the others, Parks Director Carden said there is no money
    available.

    That goes for completing Smale Riverfront Park, too. There is still
    one phase yet to be completed at the park between Cincinnati's
    professional sports stadiums that includes a marina and constructing a
    hard edge along the park, akin to Serpentine Wall.

    The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has offered $1.8 million in funding
    for the marina. In order to secure that money, the city must come up
    with $1.5 million by next year, Carden said.

    The Park Board will implement the Parks Master Plan as funding becomes available, Carden said. That plan does not include some levy projects,
    such as a park near Westwood Town Hall and preservation of the
    historic King Records studio in Evanston.

    The Cincinnati Parks Foundation has played the lead role in raising
    private dollars from corporations and individuals for parks capital
    projects. Executive Director Jennifer Hafner-Spieser said the
    organization remains committed to fundraising and other parts of its
    mission such as conservation and youth programming.

    With the levy's defeat, the foundation has initiated a strategic
    planning process to determine how it will proceed in its support for
    projects and deferred maintenance needs, Spieser said.

    Will parks levy failure create a new level

    of public scrutiny over parks projects?

    No matter what, Cincinnati City Councilman Chris Seelbach said,
    projects and their funding must be discussed at length with the
    public.

    Lack of public input was a significant criticism of the parks levy.

    Seelbach says he's pushing for the first discussion to be about the
    Wasson Way trail project. That project has been in the works for about
    four years and entails turning an old railroad track that runs from
    Avondale through the city's East Side into a hike and bike trail.

    A majority of City Council has said it will work together to see that
    the project is completed. Seelbach said this project is important
    because it could also preserve a future route for light rail some day.

    Time is of the essence, too, because Norfolk Southern railroad, which
    owns the track, has offered the city an the option to buy about half
    of the length of the 7.6-mile proposed trail. But that offer, which
    would cost $11.7 million, expires in less than two years.

    Seelbach suggested a series of ideas for funding, including a
    temporary property tax or using money from the city's sale of the Blue
    Ash airport, which is expected to net the city more than $20 million.
    None of that should happen without community support, he said.

    "There's going to be pluses and minuses for all the options," Seelbach
    said. "If people can come up with other ideas, let's encourage that."

    That's a process, Seelbach said, that could be used for any of the
    proposed levy projects.

    http://www.cincinnati.com/story/news/2015/11/08/what-now-cincinnati-park-projects-levy/75207286/

    --- news://freenews.netfront.net/ - complaints: news@netfront.net ---


    I have no opinion on the specifics but coincidentally I'm
    listening to Cunningham on WLW at the moment.

    --
    Andrew Muzi
    <www.yellowjersey.org/>
    Open every day since 1 April, 1971

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