Thursday, September 13, 2001

Council halts bid for road-extension vote

By Steve Kemme
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        HAMILTON — City council rejected on Wednesday petitions for a November ballot initiative to stop the city from extending Washington Boulevard through Millikin Woods.

        But the group behind the initiative, the Millikin Woods Preservation Association, won't give up the fight.

        The group's attorney, Chris Pagan, filed a complaint Wednesday with the Ohio Supreme Court asking the court to order Hamilton to place on the November ballot the proposed charter amendment halting the road construction through Millikin Woods.

        “It's our contention that the petitions are valid and cannot be rejected,” Mr. Pagan said.

        By a 6-1 vote, Hamilton City Council rejected the petitions because city officials contend that the law doesn't allow additional signatures to be submitted once petitions have been filed with the city clerk. Councilman George McNally cast the dissenting vote.

        Petitions first submitted by the Millikin Woods group to the city clerk were 22 signatures short of the necessary 1,044.

        On Aug. 31, the group submitted additional petitions with enough valid signatures to reach the needed number. This beat the the city's Sept. 7 deadline for certifying the petitions to the Butler County Board of Elections.

        Mr. Pagan said council missed its mandatory Sept. 7 deadline to accept or reject the petitions. That's another reason why the Ohio Supreme Court should side with the citizens group, he said.

        The citizens group says the road project would create safety problems, harm wildlife and destroy too many trees. City officials say it would cause no problems and would enable more people to enjoy the park.

        The Millikin Woods Preservation Association also has filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Cincinnati claiming city council violated the U.S. Constitution when it approved the road project last year.

        In other business, city council approved the issuance of $19.5 million in bonds for the purchase of One Renaissance Center from Corporex Cos. The High Street building houses mostly city offices.


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Primary results
- Council halts bid for road-extension vote
Superintendent's contract extended
Tristate A.M. Report
Woman shot outside school as it lets out