Hamilton County Commission president Alicia Reece delivered her first State of the County address on Wednesday Jan. 25. The annual address, which was put on pause in recent years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, touched on everything from mobile health resources to youth sports.
In addition to touting achievements for the Black Music Walk of Fame, the Brent Spence Bridge and the Western Hills Viaduct during her State of the County address, Reece announced new or returning projects that Hamilton County residents can look forward to in her “One Hamilton County” plan.
Youth sports complexReece said the commission is establishing a committee that will “seriously look at” the possibility of building an amateur youth sports complex somewhere in Hamilton County.
“We have some of the best high school teams in the country. We’re winning state championships, we are going to winning division championships, many of our high school players have been crowned high school all Americans,” she said. “But what we’re missing out on is a $91 billion dollar industry called youth amateur sports.”
The committee will explore possible sites “all over the county” for the complex and decide how public dollars and private partnerships could fund the facility. Reece said stimulating the local hotel economy could give Hamilton County a “piece of the $91 billion dollars.”
“We are not in the tourism game if we are not in the youth amateur sports game,” she said. “They’ve got tournaments every single weekend that could fill our hotels quickly.”
Lincoln Heights gun rangeThe county is inching closer toward relocating the controversial and disruptive gun range in the Village of Lincoln Heights.
The gun range, which sits between the municipalities of Evendale, Lincoln Heights and Woodlawn, sends the sound of gunfire rippling through the area for citizens to hear day and night, Reece said. Reece, who described the gun range’s sound and potential lead impact as an “environmental injustice,” said the county is pitching in $15 million to relocate the range to Colerain Township, where it will be shared between Hamilton County deputies and Cincinnati Police Department officers.
“We are putting the largest investment on the table,” she said. “This is the closest we ever came. We never had any money, so we got $15 million dollars. United States Senator Sherrod Brown on Monday is going to announce some money, we’re almost there.”
Health and wellnessReece announced the start of a “cancer caucus” to track the rate of cancer diagnoses in Hamilton County.
“From my understanding, the cancer rates are going up in Hamilton County. We want to bring the brightest of minds together, get the resources to report that the cancer rates are going down. If we can get a vaccination for COVID, we can get something to stop this cancer.”
Reece also highlighted the re-launch of the 513 Relief Bus, a mobile medical services unit that provides vaccines, cancer screenings and dental care. The bus debuted at Corinthian Baptist Church on Tennessee Avenue on Jan. 26.
Another health initiative announced by Reece centers on the opioid crisis. Of the $808 million Ohio received in a national settlement with drug manufacturers responsible for the opioid epidemic, $32 million will be siloed to Hamilton County. A new non-profit called One Ohio will guide how the dollars are spent to reduce opioid abuse and to fund treatment.
Part of the $32 million will fund the county’s first Office of Addiction Response, which will be led by Meagan Gosney, program administrator at the Hamilton County Addiction Response Coalition.
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