Thursday, December 11, 2003

Antiterror team suggests spending



By Cindi Andrews
The Cincinnati Enquirer

A former psychiatric hospital in Bond Hill - empty for five years while Cincinnati and Hamilton County leaders fought over it - may soon be enlisted in the war on terrorism.

The Hamilton County commissioners' homeland security commission recommended millions of dollars in spending Wednesday to ensure county residents' safety. Among the ideas is a proposal to use the former Mill Creek Psychiatric Center for Children as a medical warehouse, lab and training center, and to quarantine large groups of people in case of a bioterrorist attack.

The panel also recommended that the county upgrade and install tornado sirens countywide and join with Cincinnati's plans to build a regional emergency operations center in the West End.

The commissioners could decide next week which - if any - of the recommendations to act upon. Commissioner Todd Portune, chairman of the homeland security commission, supports all of them and he may have a second vote for all but the sirens.

Commissioner John Dowlin said the recommendation for the Mill Creek site could be a solution to the impasse with the city over the property - if public health officials need the space and money is available to renovate it. The county wanted to put a juvenile jail there, but the city refused to change the zoning to allow it. A lawsuit over the zoning has been appealed to the Ohio Supreme Court.

Cincinnati Vice Mayor Alicia Reece, a Bond Hill resident, said she has to talk to neighbors before taking a position on the proposal.

Commissioner Phil Heimlich said he supports the commission's recommendation to help Cincinnati build a regional emergency operations center in the West End rather than upgrade a separate county center.

Both he and Dowlin are against sirens, however, and a committee member also opposed it.

"If airplanes had struck the Carew Tower, sirens would not have helped before or after," Joseph Julnes Dehner said.

Of the three recommendations, only the sirens have a price tag at this point: $5.5 million.

E-mail candrews@enquirer.com




TOP STORIES
N.Ky. soldier thwarts attack
Ohioans to get drug discount
Golden Buckeye and Best Rx can aid seniors
Early test scores please educators
2 UC programs are tops in U.S.

IN THE TRISTATE
Parking restrictions narrowed
Young critics get a kick from 'Charlie Brown'
Angel Flight gets local baby home
Lines long at flu shot locations as supply dips
Jurors deliberate in shooting downtown
Ohio House comes out against gay marriage
Concealed-carry bill nearer
Mason city employees collect gifts for needy
Antiterror team suggests spending
Flynt fighting to open new Hustler store in Lexington
School projects ahead of schedule
Local news briefs
Loveland seeks funds to build skate park
Lebanon asked to rezone Main
Neighborhood briefs
White House chat links lovers
Highway shooter not contacting authorities
Ohio moments
Owners must register pit bulls
Youths protest Taser buy
Public safety
Animal rights group seeks to outlaw rodeos
Lakota budget in progress
Workforce Academy ready for business
Author makes a mystery from her life on the river
Suspect in trucking firm rampage insists he's sane
Board seeks tax increase
Ohio schools chief in Hamilton today

ENQUIRER COLUMNISTS
Crowley: 3 N.Ky. companies helped GOP group batter Chandler
Bronson: Why didn't the cops just hypnotize him?
Good Things Happening

LIVES REMEMBERED
John Crane, 73, watercolorist and arts leader
Michael Cassady, soccer coach, dad

KENTUCKY STORIES
Davis, GOP fund-raiser nets $32K
Independence library hunts for larger home
St. Pius X parish invests in school