Sunday, May 23, 1999

Developers stymied by sidewalks

N. Avondale residents balk

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Cincinnati is involved in its third street fight within a month.

        First, residents of Burch Avenue in Hyde Park fought against a developer's using their narrow street as an access route to a new shopping center. They won.

        Then, residents of Webster Avenue, near Xavier University, don't want their street used as a driveway to a sports arena. That issue is still undecided.

        Now, residents of Spring House Lane in North Avondale are at odds with the city over sidewalks.

        The city plans to build sidewalks on both sides of the street, preparing it as an entry way to the Spring House Estate, a development of 17 houses priced from $250,000 to $300,000 each.

        Residents say they don't mind their private street being used, but they want only one sidewalk.

        “We think the city is ignoring our wishes,” said David Kreimer, 3874 Spring House Lane. “This is a private street, built in the 1930s, and was designed not to have sidewalks. To put in sidewalks on both sides of the street would destroy a lot of the beauty.”

        While Spring House Lane is private, it has not been maintained, said city officials.

        The city agreed with the Avondale Redevelopment Corp., developer of Spring House Estate, to fix up the street to be used as an entry to the new housing complex nearly 21/2 years ago.

        “In order for the city to do the infrastructure and bring the street up to standards to be a city dedicated street, we are required to put in sidewalks on both sides,” said Sue Ernst, city sidewalks manager. The only way the city can ignore that requirement is if the cost is too high.

        Ms. Ernst said the street is in terrible shape. She said plans call for widening it and putting in lights and trees.

        One problem is that the city would have to tear down stone walls for the sidewalks, and residents consider the walls part of the natural character of the street.

        “It is possible to make some concessions on the walls,” Ms. Ernst said.

        The land being developed, along Glenwood Avenue, was once owned by radio station WCIN. Jim King, director of the Avondale Redevelopment Corp., said the company bought the property for $500,000 in 1993.

        “We have developed part of it, but the lower end is being held up by this dispute between the residents and the city,” Mr. King said.

        He said the corporation hopes to attract commercial builders or private owners who want to build.

        The corporation has also developed housing for low-income residents in Avondale.


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