If you live or work in one of these nine neighborhoods, there’s a high probability you are an enthusiastic supporter of Mayor Cranley’s property tax increase for the parks:
Central Business District
These are the fortunate folks singled out to receive the majority of the goodies from the 13 projects on the Mayor’s list of suggested possibilities (it’s not definite – we have to trust the Mayor and all future mayors as to what they want to do with these funds) for the $80,000,000 to be borrowed if the levy passes next week. The list includes an interesting mix of new amenities for our city, although, oddly enough, over half of them have absolutely nothing to do with our existing park facilities.
The “urban campground” in Roselawn is actually on private church property owned by New Prospect Baptist where Damon Lynch III is the pastor. His congregation moved earlier this year from their long-term home across from Findlay Market and when I went out to get a tour last spring, I couldn’t figure out how the modest church I used to attend was going to raise the funds necessary to refurbish such an ambitious facility (complete with dilapidated tennis courts, basketball courts and crumbling pool) – a facility that needed everything, up to and including a kitchen sink as all the pipes in that area of the facility were missing.
Oasis River Trail. Wasson Way Trail. Ohio River Trail West, Mill Creek Valley Trail. My mouth waters when I dream of a city connected by dedicated bike infrastructure – but why is the responsibility for construction and oversight being moved from the established expertise of the Department of Transportation to the Park Department with absolutely no experience in this area whatsoever???? Park folks are bloody geniuses when it comes to green space, but transportation is transportation and highly specialized.
For as long as I can remember – and my mother started the Park Board Volunteers in the mid-70s when city money was so tight she decided to drive our family station wagon up onto Fountain Square and plant the empty flower beds herself – the Park Department has never had enough money to maintain the parks we already own. But if this passes, five million bucks a year in tax revenues is apparently enough to add bunches of brand new ones in College Hill, Pendleton, the former Mercy complex now being referred to as Oskamp Park, and some kind of green space around the Westwood Town Hall. Yes, Westwood Town Hall is now going to be designated a park.
And I don’t even know what to say about James Brown’s dilapidated former recording studio. According to what definition does this have anything whatsoever to do with anything the Park Board should be doing? Why is the city involved in this project at all?
At least Lytle Park is an actual, existing park. But damn. The only reason I didn’t make a bigger stink about John Barrett getting private sessions with the park design team for the public land smack dab in the middle of his company’s hotels and office complexes was because it was repeatedly suggested by very reliable sources that Western & Southern would be paying for the upgrades. Now it turns out middle class property owners are also expected to foot the bill for Mr. Barrett’s preferences.
So if your neighborhood is going to be a beneficiary of Mr. Cranley’s tax levy windfall, I get which way the wind is blowing. But if you live in one of the other neighborhoods, the unlucky ones, it looks like you can forget about getting anything nice for a long, long time to come because this money has already been promised and then some. Take a careful look at the OTHER neighborhoods, the very, very long list of neighborhoods that – according to Mayor Cranley – won’t be getting much from raising the taxes on their homes:
East Price Hill
East Walnut Hills
Lower Price Hill
Spring Grove Village
West Price Hill
Where do YOU live? If you’re on the unlucky list, you better get out and vote.