Thursday, August 17, 2000

Deal puts vendors back on streets


Council compromise doesn't please everyone

By Dan Klepal
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        There will be no more fighting over peanuts outside the $453.2 million Paul Brown Stadium. At least, not for two weeks.

        After an hourlong meeting Wednesday, city officials agreed to open new areas near the football stadium to vendors who want to sell peanuts, T-shirts, hats or other merchandise.

        Two new areas south of Third Street, along Central Avenue and Plum Street, will be opened to merchandise vendors. Cincinnati City Manager John Shirey said more areas will be open as construction is finished.

        Mr. Shirey said about 10 of the city's 30 licensed merchandise vendors were displaced because of construction surrounding the stadium. Those vendors will get first choice in the newly opened areas.

        The new agreement also will open all of downtown north of Fourth Street to all vendors selling game tickets. That area previ ously was off-limits.

        “This is a temporary solution; we'll evaluate it after a couple of weeks,” Mr. Shirey said.

        Vending still will be allowed along Third Street, and the north- south connecting streets to Fourth, as well as the east-west streets in that area.

        Some vendors were happy with the compromise; some were not.

        Tyrone Smith, 49, who has been a vendor since the early 1970s, said the Bengals should have given up a little space near their riverfront practice fields for vendors. After all, the practice fields were paid for with tax dollars, he said.

        Allowing vendors to set up shop north of Third Street won't help because it is too far from the stadium, Mr. Smith said.

        “People are not going to walk backwards for a bag of peanuts,” Mr. Smith said. “Now we're just further away from the stadium. That's no win.”

        Vendor Linda Norwell disagreed. She said it was a good compromise.

        “Now we'll be throughout the city,” Ms. Norwell said. “Having everyone in one area along Third Street caused congestion. This opens it up. It's a good deal.”

        Councilman Todd Portune said he is happy with the compromise, which means council will not meet on Friday to repeal the vending ordinance it passed last week. He promised that council would pass a new law supporting vendors and other small business enterprise around the stadium.

        “This is a case where council went to bat for the little guy, and the little guy won,” Mr. Portune said.

       



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