Thursday, December 28, 2000

Bedinghaus proud of tenure

Commissioner pushed for funds for stadiums

By Dan Klepal
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        One of the final votes Bob Bedinghaus cast as a Hamilton County commissioner dealt with an issue that cost him his seat — overruns at Paul Brown Stadium.

        Presiding over his last regular commission meeting Wednesday, Mr. Bedinghaus voted to spend more than $6 million to cover what construction managers say are the last of the overruns.

        Mr. Bedinghaus has been at the center of riverfront stadium development since being appointed commissioner in 1995.

        He suggested and campaigned for an increase in the county sales tax to cover stadium construction. He argued for a riverfront baseball stadium and, more recently, has been at the center of the storm over overruns at Paul Brown Stadium.

        The overruns became the central campaign issue for Democrat Todd Portune, who upset Mr. Bedinghaus in November.

        Mr. Bedinghaus said Wednesday he is proud of his tenure on the commission — the accomplish ments of riverfront development and other issues, such as welfare reform.

        “With the accomplishments we've seen over the past four or five years, we should be very proud of the work we've done,” Mr. Bedinghaus said. “Without the actions taken by this board — sometimes at great peril and sometimes with great controversy — the county would not be where it is today.”

        Mr. Bedinghaus was not specific about his next job, saying only that consulting may be an option.

        Commissioner Tom Neyer said Mr. Bedinghaus pulled the community out of a rut five years ago when he suggested raising the sales tax to cover the cost of two stadiums.

        “Today, we're in a time of great work and yet great celebration as the history of this community continues to be written,” Mr. Neyer said. “We'll miss you, Bob.”

        Commissioner John Dowlin said it will be a new — and interesting — era the commission enters next week when the first Democrat in 32 years takes a seat on the board.


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