Wednesday, May 02, 2001

Port Authority wants public input

Topic: Brownfield development

By Ken Alltucker
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Business leaders already have sounded off on what government should do to encourage redevelopment of abandoned industrial sites.

        Now, members of the Port of Greater Cincinnati Development Authority want to hear from the public.

        The newly created agency will hold public forums Thursday and Tuesday to gather public opinion on the cumbersome process of replacing brownfields — abandoned, polluted or underused industrial property — with development.

    • Thursday: 7-9 p.m., Morning Star Baptist Church, 722 Oak St., Walnut Hills.
    • Tuesday: 7-9 p.m., Drake Center, 151 W. Galbraith Road, Hartwell.
        “We're trying to get a handle on what role the port authority should play,” said Tim Sharp, the port authority's interim director. Development for brownfields is the less glamorous task assigned to the port authority. The group also will oversee development of the Banks riverfront property between the Reds and Bengals stadiums.

        Developers have urged the port authority to act as intermediary between business and government — from the federal Environmental Protection Agency to Cincinnati city hall. Some also suggested that the port authority help fund costly projects, possibly taking an ownership role.

        The port authority will report information from business leaders and the public to Cincinnati City Council and Hamilton County Commissioners by July 1.

        The port authority hired lobbyist K&K Consulting to represent Greater Cincinnati as state lawmakers decide how to divvy up a $400 million fund intended to preserve open space and redevelop brownfields.

        Local economic development officials say brownfield redevelopment is crucial for the city and Hamilton County to lure back business and residents. Many businesses have moved to outlying counties such as Warren, Butler and Clermont because of lack of space to build.        

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