Friday, November 03, 2000

Olympic proposal causes concern

By Robert Anglen
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        A proposal to build a village in Bond Hill for the 2012 Olympic Games won't be endorsed by Cincinnati officials anytime soon.

        Residents' complaints and questions about the long-term effects of building 15,000 homes and apartments on Seymour Avenue have city administrators backing off a recommendation to the planning commission.

        “I told the planning department to stop. I told the planning commission to stop,” Mayor Charlie Luken said Thursday. “The notion of an Olympic village is speculative at best, but it still alarms the community.”

        Residents say they were blindsided when they learned of a formal proposal for the village. They described it as the latest in a series of unrelated plans for Bond Hill that have received little, if any, input from the residents.

        Among these: Converting the old Mill Creek Psychiatric Center for Children into a jail; relocating an 800,000-square-foot U.S. Postal Service distribution center from the West End; and building a waste transfer station near the Norwood Lateral and Interstate 75.

        The latest plan calls for building the village, which would house Olympic athletes, on a 276-acre site that includes Maketewah Country Club, an apartment complex, high school and temple.

        A site at Blue Ash Airport is also being considered, but city planners recommend Bond Hill as the preferred location. Local Olympic organizers say the city's approval would strengthen Cincinnati's bid for the Games, which is due Dec. 15 to the U.S. Olympic Committee. Seven other U.S. cities are being considered to compete against international cities.

        Deputy City Manager Richard Mendes said Thursday that no recommendation will be made until other issues are considered, including how past Olympic host cities have made use of former villages.

        Caryl Fullman, past president and member of the Roselawn Community Council, said Maketewah should be left alone

        “No one asks, then all of a sudden they come to us with a plan,” she said. “Our board does not feel this is a good plan for this site.”

        Maketewah general manager Charles Carpenter said the club has been a “proud member of the Bond Hill community for 90 years,” and has no reason to believe that will change.

        The member-owned course, which the Hamilton County auditor shows as being owned by Provident Savings Bank & Trust because of loans it made to the club years ago, would have to be sold in order for the village to be built.

        “No,” Mr. Carpenter said. “We are not interested in moving or selling the club.”


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