Friday, July11 1997
Stadium meeting tone upbeat
Smiles follow week of tough exchanges

BY LUCY MAY and KYM LIEBLER
The Cincinnati Enquirer

County Administrator David Krings and City Manager John Shirey emerged from a 2 1/2-hour meeting Thursday with smiles for TV and optimism that the city-county feud over riverfront development will ultimately be resolved.

That's not to say the two sides agreed to anything. But both Mr. Krings and Mr. Shirey said they were encouraged.

The meeting followed more than a week of harsh letters and shrill sound-bites between the city and county. City officials accused the county of not understanding its own lease with the Bengals. County officials dismissed city concerns as election-year pandering. Thursday's meeting appeared to result in something of a truce. The fight centers on the city's contention that the county gave the Cincinnati Bengals "veto power" over just about all central riverfront development in the county's lease with the team. The county says it gave the team only a voice in development, just as any anchor tenant in any major development would have.

Team representatives were also at Thursday's meeting.

Mr. Shirey said the city was "reassured that both the county and the Bengals don't want to stand in the way of good development." He added that the city doesn't want to hold up the Bengals' new stadium, either.

The city could certainly do that by refusing to turn over land that the county needs to build the stadium. But there was no sign of that threat after the meeting.

"Everybody understands that time is of the essence," Mr. Shirey said.

Mr. Shirey said the city will prepare a more detailed report. The county will respond quickly, and another meeting will be scheduled, Mr. Krings said.

This week's impasse has convinced Hamilton County Auditor Dusty Rhodes that one entity needs to oversee stadium issues.

To that end, Mr. Rhodes on Thursday called for the creation of a Hamilton County Stadium Authority to steer the building of the Paul Brown Stadium and to shepherd the process of locating and eventually constructing a new stadium for the Cincinnati Reds.

The concept of a stadium authority is not new.

First introduced by Hamilton County Commissioner Bob Bedinghaus in June 1995, the stadium authority would act as a board of directors for the development of two sports stadiums.

The authority, which would be created by the Ohio General Assembly, has yet to be formed.

"It's premature," Mr. Bedinghaus said. He said the purpose of a stadium authority would be to operate the stadiums - not to oversee locating and financing them.

Previous stories

Stadium showdown set today July 10, 1997
Disputed county deal mirrors old city pact July 9, 1997
Mayor rips county's deal with Bengals July 4, 1997