Cincinnati poised to acquire historic King Records site; more news

Cincinnati City Council today is likely to approve a landswap between the city and Dynamic Industries for the music site

click to enlarge The former site of King Records in Evanston - Nick Swartsell
Nick Swartsell
The former site of King Records in Evanston

Hello, Cincinnati. Today is the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. as he stood with striking sanitation workers in Memphis. That trip was part of King’s increased focus on the economic plight of African-Americans and other oppressed groups, which he dubbed the Poor People's Campaign. During his final speech the night before his death, King urged the nation to “develop a kind of dangerous unselfishness.” A half-century later, that message is as important as ever.

Ohio’s opioid epidemic shows no signs of stopping, and as it continues, more and more children of those addicted are finding themselves in foster care. But a Hamilton County court wants to get addicts clean and keep them with their children  — something that can be invaluable for the future of those families. Check out this week’s cover story for an in-depth look at the court and the people it serves.

• Cincinnati City Council today will give final approval to a plan that would investigate the rift between Mayor John Cranley and City Manager Harry Black. Council's Budget and Finance Committee passed that plan this morning, 8-0. Every member of council except for Jeff Pastor, who asked to be excused, sits on the committee. Fact-finding around the Cranley-Black rift would be led by councilmembers Tamaya Dennard and David Mann, who would report their findings back to the rest of council and then release them to the public. Stay tuned for more on that plan.

• The state of Ohio has released its recommendations for so-called “Opportunity Zones,” a new program created by tax reform passed last year by Republicans in Congress. Several large, low-income swaths of Cincinnati have received that recommendation, including much of Avondale, Evanston, the West End — where FCC general manager Jeff Berding promised to push for a zone as the team mulled a stadium there — and parts of the Price Hills, among other neighborhoods. You can read more about the program, which provides capital gains tax cuts in exchange for development investment, in our story here.

• Cincinnati City Council today is set to seal the deal on a land exchange with Dynamic Industries for the site of the historic King Records studio in Evanston. Council’s Economic Growth and Zoning Committee yesterday OKed the land swap, and the deal looks likely to clear full council today, no sweat. The city’s acquisition of the site is the culmination of more than a decade’s worth of work from community groups like the Evanston Community Council, which would like to see the building turned back into a studio and used as an educational site. You can read more about the arrangement in our story here and more about the history of the site in this story.

• Cincinnati-based grocery giant Kroger is facing a boycott threat from civil rights leader Jesse Jackson after the company closed two stores in low-income, predominantly black neighborhoods in Memphis. Jackson is also railing against the closure of another store 75 miles away in Clarksdale, Miss. As noted above, that call comes on the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s assassination in Memphis. Jackson was with the civil rights icon during his fateful visit to the city.

“Kroger wants to maintain the right to leave and then destroy competition,” Jackson told media outside one of the stores. “That’s mean for them to reduce us to a desert. It’s mean and evil and we intend to fight back.”

Kroger says those stores lost more than $6 million over the past four years, and that there are other grocery stores near the shuttered locations.

• Whether you like this next bit depends on how you feel about Columbus, which is apparently Cincinnati’s twin, according to this New York Times story. The piece examines job opportunities and needs and found that Cincinnati and Columbus rate an 82 out of 100 in terms of matching. Cincinnati also pairs closely with Louisville, Cleveland, and Kansas City (tell that last one to our streetcar, though).  

• Will Ohio Gov. John Kasich challenge President Donald Trump in the 2020 GOP presidential primary? Kasich is term-limited next year, and has been a consistent critic of Trump’s since the 2016 presidential primary, when he was the last candidate standing against The Donald. Kasich could take on Trump directly via the GOP, or could presumably run as an independent against him in the general election. Or he could not run at all. So, what’s it gonna be, Big Queso? 

"I don't know what I'm going to do,” Kasich said during remarks at New England College in… wait a minute… New Hampshire, home of the first presidential primary contest every election. Kasich also spent time in that auspicious state meeting with prominent politicians, including New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu. He promised to return to the all-important primary state in November, a sure sign that he has absolutely no inclinations at all about whether he’ll run for president or not.

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