FC Cincinnati eyes West End; Wasson Way won't receive $1 million from state; plus more news

FC Cincinnati penned a letter requesting meetings with Cincinnati Public Schools as the team looks toward a plot of land currently occupied by Stargel Stadium next to Robert A. Taft Information Technology High School.

FC Cincinnati players at the team's current home, University of Cincinnati's Nippert Stadium. - Hailey Bollinger
Hailey Bollinger
FC Cincinnati players at the team's current home, University of Cincinnati's Nippert Stadium.

Good morning all. The weather is returning to a normal January level as I type. The federal government is unshutdown — for now. ("Functioning again" may be too charitable). CityBeat has an incredible issue hitting the stands tomorrow, the first under editor-in-chief Maija Zummo. A universe in flux eventually finds a moment of balance. Or something. Anyway, here’s your news update.

The latest development in the ongoing FC Cincinnati stadium saga: FCC leadership penned a letter to Cincinnati Public Schools recently requesting meetings around possibly locating their potential stadium in the West End. If you recall, last we heard, the team was heavily focused on Oakley for their stadium, even enlisting the city and Hamilton County for some $52 million in infrastructure there. But there are still some hurdles to overcome at that site, and some sources cited by Cincinnati Business Courier say the team has preferred the West End for its location in the urban core. FCC’s letter to CPS comes as the team looks toward a plot of land currently occupied by Stargel Stadium next to Robert A. Taft Information Technology High School. Property owners near that stadium have received inquiries from a “well-funded real estate development group” about their land, according to the Courier’s article. Hmm. It will be interesting to hear what the West End Community Council has to say about this whole hubbub. Meanwhile, FCC is still waiting to hear if it will get the Major League Soccer expansion franchise that would necessitate it building the stadium.

• The streetcar was working again yesterday after taking Thursday, Friday and the weekend off due to cold-weather equipment failures. It was up and running for a whole two-and-a-half hours before a power outage suspended service again for a half-an-hour. The 3.6-mile rail transit loop has had a rough go of it of late: Friday, while service was suspended, a streetcar doing testing downtown was hit by a car and knocked off the tracks. The hardships have caused The Cincinnati Enquirer to ask the serious questions and dig deep, producing this article on whether the streetcar is cursed. Sources include a Bible scholar and a psychic.

• How much will it cost to finish the final stage of riverfront development The Banks, which is currently without a master developer? Only about $180 to $200 million. No prob. That cash would cover building parking garages onto which other retail, apartments or attractions could be placed, out of the reach of the Ohio River’s floodplain. It would also put decks over Fort Washington Way. The Banks project executive Phil Beck gave Hamilton County Commissioners the price tag for building on the 11 acres next to the riverfront and four acres of street caps. There is about $21 million available for that project right now.

• Did Mayor John Cranley threaten to “destroy” Cincinnati Park Board Chair Dianne Rosenberg in the media? That’s what an attorney said in a court case concerning Rosenberg’s tenure on the board, though the mayor denies making the comment. Cranley says Rosenberg's tenure ended this month. The mayor appointed a replacement, Jim Goetz, whom Cincinnati City Council approved. Rosenberg and her supporters contend she was appointed until 2021, which is originally what city documents and the city’s website stated. Cranley and city administration hold that was a clerical error, however, and that Rosenberg was appointed to fill out an outgoing board member’s unexpired term. Rosenberg filed a currently pending lawsuit instead of giving up her seat. The core of the fight comes down to a private endowment that handles some donations to the parks. The city wants control over that money, currently in a private bank account, but Rosenberg and much of the Park Board wants it to remain independent.

• Cincinnati-area state lawmakers won’t ask the state for $1 million for the Wasson Way bike path project, this Cincinnati Enquirer story reports. The ask was originally on a list of projects for which lawmakers were seeking state money, but has been cut to winnow down the region’s ask from state funds. Also on the chopping block: $2 million for a film center in Queensgate. That $9.2 million, 78,000 square-foot project would put a production facility, film studio and soundstage in the industrial area south of the West End. Cincinnati-area state legislators Reps. Bill Seitz and Bill Blessing and Sens. Lou Terhar and Steve Wilson all gave their OK for the reduced funding request. The list includes $4 million for infrastructure for a potential FC Cincinnati soccer stadium.

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