Friday, August 17, 2012

Severe Push Back from Community Leaders at MSD Town Hall over Lick Run Alternative

If you read the project groundwork website where they talk about the Lick Run Alternative project you might have held the impression that the community embraced the project.

After a  1 1/2  hour carefully choreographed presentation before a packed room, MSD officials and one County Commisioner who was in the audience, learned that the "rosy picture" MSD had painted of community support,  was not what it seemed.

Community leaders from South Fairmount Community Council, Knox Hill Neighborhood Association, the South Fairmount Business Group, residents, and business owners , lamblasted the MSD Lick Run Alternative Project, citing its lack of transparency, failure to engage the community and charges the county commissioners and MSD were having closed door meetings and deliberately leaving the community out of  the process.

Of all the people speaking at the public comment process only one person actually supported the alternative.

The Lick Run alternative would destroy many historic buildings, to turn a  large part of the basin into a daylighted creek. Both the approved deep tunnel and the daylighted plan are way above projections and those projections were provided in 2006 dollars. MSD did not/could not, provide current figures in actual dollars.

The County Commissioner concerned about over runs recently put a hold on new spending. MSD purchased large blocks of property in anticipation the alternative would be approved. Questions remain as to just where the 'redevelopment' monies would come from. The next town hall will be next Thursday and likely followed up by public hearings at the county commission and city council as MSD attempts to get "buy in" on this plan which would appear,based on last nights public comment, to have little real public support.

Today Elliot Ellis, president of South Fairmount Community Council formally notified Cincinnati Preservation Association of the community's intent to seek a national historic District status for the area in an effort to preserve many historic eligible and contributing structures MSD wants to demo as part of the daylighting project.

That move could make MSD plans far more difficult as they may have to work around those historic assets or spend millions to relocate them. Support for a potential historic district has broad based support. The firm of Gray and Pape who did a historic review as part of the Federal Section 106 process reported 29 properties that would meet historic eligibility within the APE (Area of Potential Effect). That many individually eligible structures combined with a fair number of relatively intact 'contributing structures" could well make for a viable  historic district

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