Thursday, March 23, 2000

$2.5 million bouquet to florist from city

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Cincinnati officials are putting up $2.5 million to make sure a local florist will stay in the city.

        The council voted Wednesday to guarantee the purchase of a former supermarket in Oakley if Jones the Florist can't get a permit to do business there.

        That move — to ensure Jones will not be strapped with the purchase of a building it can't use — came less than a day after the proposal was made by the city's economic development department.

        “They gave me less than 24 hours to make a decision about spending $2.5 million,” said Councilwoman Alicia Reece, who voted against the purchase. “I didn't have time to find out anything about this.”

        There was also no time to table the proposal, because Jones' option deadline to buy the building is less than a week away and the option expires before council meets again.

        But City Manager John Shirey said he doubts the city will have to buy the supermarket. In a memo to council dated March 21, he said it would happen only if Jones is denied a permit by the Oakley Environmental Quality District or if a permit is issued with “unreasonable” conditions.

        “If the city ultimately purchases this property through this option, we are confident that a cost-effective redevelopment project can be implemented at this location,” Mr. Shirey said.

        The city has also agreed to pay Jones up to $100,000 for “professional fees” associated with the relocation to Oakley.

        Calling it a back-stop for a “very good merchant,” Mr. Shirey said the city has been criticized for not doing enough to help downtown businesses such as Batsakes hat shop, which is being relocated, and Kathman shoe repair store, which went out of business.

        Now, he said, the city is being criticized for doing something innovative.

        Jones, headquartered in Walnut Hills, has agreed to pay $1 million for renovating the former IGA store to relocate its main offices, warehouse/distribution and production plant there.

        The $2.5 million will come out of a general fund reserve and surplus accounts. The general fund is used to pay basic city services, such as fire and police.


Gore visit will raise $500,000
Chesley accustomed to big-name house guests
Gore to salute Sands' success
Officer taken off street duty
Officials apologize for officer's remarks
One true thing is Anita Hill's role in history
What is 'football ready'?
Vietnam legacy: Growing up fatherless
Better relations with Vietnam help in search for remains
No ho-ho: Twinkie shortage on the way
School plan cuts main office staff
Tobacco carding likely to continue
- $2.5 million bouquet to florist from city
Adams Co. group wins award for Commandments fight
Man charged with raping, killing daughter, 2
Turfway puts on glitz for Spiral Stakes
Whassup? Bud's buzzword borrows from male ritual
Drummer Von Ohlen gets a new shtick
Mapplethorpe on front burner at arts censorship conference
Orange barrels of the Lord
Queen City's moments to shine reflected in book
'Stomp' antics bring out kid in Aronoff audience
Audit confirms Ludlow problems
Campbell bailiff was tough, honest cop
Channel 9 also stands for non-news
Covington schools to get help
Deerfield, clerk-elect continue battle
Drug suspect on the run, captured here
Edgewood schools wait and see on projects
GOP keeps leaders
Hustler store plans delayed
Kings Island not liable in attack
Ohio farmers face dry summer
Overturned tanker stalls traffic
Robbery suspect arrested
S. African pupils get taste of America
Schools focus anew on readers in fourth grade
Senate panel OKs budget after slashes
Sewage plant site top priority
Sheppard's words read in court