BY JOHN ERARDI
and GEOFF HOBSON
The Cincinnati Enquirer
Marge Schott is in exile but not in absentia.
Mrs. Schott said Thursday the Reds will leave Cincinnati, possibly for Northern Kentucky, if room isn't made for their new ballpark on the river.
''All of the (limited) partners of the Reds, and myself, feel the taxpayers voted for us to be on the river,'' said Mrs. Schott, the Reds
president and chief executive officer, who is serving a suspension from daily operation of the Reds through 1998.
''And that's where we want to be - on the river, next to the water and bridge,'' Mrs. Schott said. ''All the leaders of the companies were down there (at the stadium) a year ago, and they agreed that's where we should be. We (the Reds) don't want to go to Broadway Commons.''
What if Hamilton County officials says it's Broadway or nothing?
''Bye-bye,'' Mrs. Schott said.
Where would the Reds move?
''I don't know,'' she said.
Later in the conversation, however, she said that Northern Kentucky was a possibility. ''They were pursuing us before,'' she said.
Mrs. Schott made these remarks about 11:15 p.m. from her home in Indian Hill. She had received many overtures for comment earlier in the day, but refrained until receiving all of Thursday's news about the site for the new Bengals stadium.
''We're family-oriented in our stadium,'' she said. ''We draw a
tremendous number of people from out-of-town on the weekends. Talk to hotels and motels, they'll tell you that.''
Easy access to the stadium is especially important to out-of-town families, she said. The easiest access is on the river, she said.
''The county has known for a long time what we've wanted,'' she said. ''I feel 81 games is quite a big thing in this city. There's no reason they can't build a 45,000-seat stadium (on the river). Compared to 77,000, it's not much.''
What about the Reds' lease with the county at Cinergy Field? The lease doesn't expire until 2010.
''We feel the lease has been broken,'' she said. ''We were mutual teams in that stadium. If they broke it for the Bengals, they broke it for us.''
Was Thursday's news about the siting of the Bengals stadium, with no room west of the Suspension Bridge, a ''bitter pill'' for Mrs. Schott to swallow?
''It could be a bitter pill for the city and county if we leave,'' she
Earlier Thursday, Reds managing executive John Allen was asked whether the club was softening on the Broadway Commons site. ''Negotiations are going well,'' he said. ''I won't negotiate in the paper.''
Reds General Manager Jim Bowden thinks the club still has a chance at a riverfront site. ''Today's announcement is encouraging because it gives the Reds room to have the stadium at the most picturesque site,'' west of the Roebling Suspension Bridge.
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