Friday, July 14, 2000

Unpopular park road approved

By Earnest Winston
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        HAMILTON — More than 60 years after city officials purchased Millikin Woods — and following years of opposition — City Council has approved a plan to build a road through the 47-acre park.

        The decision didn't come easily. Or swiftly.

        City Council, by a 4-3 vote Wednesday, approved the controversial project despite 31/2 hours of emotional discussion from more than two dozen residents. Foes claim the road will eliminate green space, create an unsafe atmosphere for children and destroy wildlife. A few residents supported the road, which city officials say will provide better access to retail and commercial areas.

        City Manager Steve Sorrell will prepare an engineering and design contract for the road, which will extend Washington Boulevard from Millville Avenue to Main Street. The project could cost between $3.7 million and $5.1 million, with the first phase consisting of a quarter-mile road from Millville Avenue to Sunset Drive through the park.

        Former Hamilton Mayor Ann Antenen told council members she wants to see the money for the road spent instead on maintenance, signs, a park ranger and on programs in the park.

        “In the '30s, the city planned a roadway through the park. People were against it then. We still are against it, which is why the park is still a lovely, quiet, natural area today,” said Mrs. Antenen, president of Citizens for Historic and Preservation Services. “I don't believe the city was ever serious about planning this area.”

        Maureen Gallardo, president of the Millikin Woods Preservation Association, said her group, which opposed the road project, will “regroup and explore whatever options are out there. We're looking into the legal aspect.

        “We're very disappointed in City Council's decision in light of the more than 1,000 signatures we had on our petition against the road,” Mrs. Gallardo said. “We're going to fight this right down to the wire. The opposition is as strong as ever.”


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- Unpopular park road approved