Tuesday, August 17, 2004

$2M grant to pay for Banks road

Federal money for struggling riverfront project

By Ken Alltucker
Enquirer staff writer

The regional port authority this week will get a $2 million federal grant to build a road at the long-delayed Banks riverfront development.

The Economic Development Administration grant will be used to construct Freedom Way, a four-lane, elevated road connecting Elm and Vine streets. The city of Cincinnati will be expected to pay for the rest of the $4.4 million project.

Port of Greater Cincinnati Development Authority leaders already have secured nearly $25 million in federal and state grants for parking garages that will serve as the foundation for the Banks. The garages are needed to lift the proposed neighborhood of condos, shops, offices and entertainment out of the flood plain.

The Banks has languished for three years as the port authority has sought to secure money to pay for the riverfront neighborhood's garages and streets.

Three development teams were named as finalists for the project, but none submitted formal plans because of a lack of funding.

The port and the private development group Cincinnati Center City Development Corp. are tweaking the Banks proposal and expect to unveil a revised plan this fall.

The federal government selected the Banks because of its potential to replenish more than 530 industrial jobs lost in Cincinnati since January 2003, said Robert Sawyer, the Economic Development Administration's regional director in Chicago.

The proposed riverfront neighborhood is expected to create at least 5,000 jobs, generate $171 million in annual payroll and attract $200 million in private investment.

Commerce Secretary Don Evans will award the grant to the port authority during a scheduled Wednesday visit.


E-mail kalltucker@enquirer.com

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