Wednesday, August 08, 2001

Job Corps Center move suspended

College Hill residents had objected

By Gregory Korte
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        The U.S. Department of Labor will temporarily halt its plans to move the Cincinnati Job Corps Center from the West End to a residential area in College Hill.

        The Labor Department told U.S. Rep. Steve Chabot, R-Ohio, on Tuesday night that the purchase of the former Phoenix International facility on Hamilton Avenue would not go forward this month as planned.

        Instead, the Job Corps will take time to “get a better handle on what the concerns of the community are,” said Gary Lindgren, Mr. Chabot's spokesman.

        College Hill residents say the 27-acre site is ill-suited to a residential job-training program. They worry that out-of-town students could mix with neighborhood youth and create problems.

        The Job Corps, now on Western Avenue in the West End, has 225 students ages 16 to 24, about half of them residents.

        Job Corps officials could not be reached Tuesday night and have not spoken publicly about their plans.

        The proposed move has come under fire from lawmakers, including all nine members of Cincinnati City Council. U.S. Sen. Mike DeWine, R-Ohio, has called the decision “arrogant.”

        Mr. Lindgren said the Labor Department hasn't set a schedule for public meetings in the neighborhood, but that the signal from the agency Tuesday was a good sign.

        “The first step is to make sure it doesn't go forward to the point of no return, so that the decision isn't made before anyone's even aware of it,” Mr. Lindgren said.


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