By Kevin Aldridge
Enquirer staff writer
Vice Mayor Alicia Reece thought approval of a proposed city-county land swap - which could stop plans for a juvenile jail in Bond Hill - would be a slam-dunk.
Instead, the city's planning commission is holding up the deal because the board doesn't want to trade away a city-owned parking lot near the Hamilton County Justice Center.
Councilman Jim Tarbell, a member of the planning commission, said the B&B parking lot at Eggleston Avenue and Reading Road is one of the most strategically important pieces of property downtown. Tarbell contends the triangular parcel is the gateway to 30 acres of undeveloped land on the eastern edge of downtown.
To trade it away could jeopardize future development projects, he said.
"It was a mistake to bargain that piece of real estate away," Tarbell said. "We need to insist that we get this property. It's critical that it stays under our control."
Under the deal, the city would take ownership of the former Mill Creek Psychiatric Center for Children in Bond Hill - the site of a proposed 60-bed jail for youth. Hamilton County would get the B&B parking lot, Drake Hospital and the former Hillcrest School site in Springfield Township.
The city would also pay the county $300,000 and the county would promise to try to locate future detention centers outside of the city. County commissioners approved the deal this month and have indicated it is their best and last offer.
Commissioner Todd Portune said he wants to use the site for jail expansion, but the board has made no formal decision.
Tarbell and some other council members said they were under the impression the county wanted the land for parking. The county rents the parking lot from the city.
"Our position should be that we do not want more jail space in the city or downtown," Councilman John Cranley said.
City Manager Valerie Lemmie said the city controls zoning over the parking lot. Any plans to expand the jail would require council's approval for a zoning change, she said.
Reece said she plans to present the deal to council for a vote if the planning commission doesn't approve it by Oct. 1. Reece said residents in Roselawn, Paddock Hills and Bond Hill have fought the proposed jail at the site for 10 years.
"I would hope that we are not going to hold Paddock Hills hostage," Reece said.
UC works to keep students in school
Domestic killings surge this year
Judge testifies in drug case
Accused killer delusional, psychiatrist tells court
GOP gathers Allen's assistants
Under city pressure, Martin Bar shuts down
IN THE TRISTATE
1 dies in Adams Co. crash; driver flees
Bank robber gets 21 years in prison
Commissioner hopefuls claim outsider status
'House parties' push need for federal education aid
Warning: Don't eat the fish
Officer's actions justified, jury told
Candidate calls for increased college aid
Clinton Co. hospital opens Warren branch
Planning board stalls swap of jail site
Kings school officials tackle new stadium in a lean year
Officer charged with hitting wife
Local news briefs
Beauty queen's visit inspires
MADD honors 'Top Cops' tonight
Stars return to old stage
Abortion pill law blocked in Ohio
Ohio State attracting better students over last 10 years
Warning too late, Marietta complains
Public safety briefs
Four former athletes to join Hall of Fame
School seeks East Side cachet, proposes center in Indian Hill
Speakers explore situation in Iraq
Woman charged in stabbing
Bronson: Local CBS-TV affiliate feels the backlash
Walkers step up for two charities
Daniel Storer, 59, devoted to providing EMS
Clooney, Davis jab on Social Security
Parties spread teacher issues
Child's horse still missing
No classes Monday in Kenton
Action urged on paramedics
Owners want horse exhumed for tests
Union complains about Bunning ad
Dems pledge bipartisan help
N. Ky. news briefs