Wednesday, July 13, 2005


Broadway Commons Parking Lot - New Use?

I've heard ideas for an Broadway Commons (Reds Stadium), Urban Recreation Fields (Baseball, soccer, etc), a casino. I liked all those ideas, some more than others, but I can at least see the benefits to all.

But today, I heard quite possibly the most ridiculous use for Broadway Commons. It's gotta be the worst urban development proposal I've ever heard. Charlie Winburn (Republican Mayoral Candidate) today suggested building a new jail at Broadway Commons. Now I am not saying that I don't think it's a good idea to get some of the drug dealers, murderers and the like off the street, but why in the middle of the city. It's a Hamilton County jail, isn't there ANY place else in hamilton county it could go? Certainly there's an old factory in a brown field area that could be redeveloped. What OTR needs is people on the streets, lights, security. Not a jail.

Kind of ironic, proposing a jail on Broadway Commons, if one understands the history of the site. It (like all vast urban wastelands today) used to be a dense, vibrant neighborhood . . . and black. It was called Bucktown and was an area where escaped slaves could hide without fear of slaveowners coming in to get them. It was a sanctuary for the formerly enslaved and could rightly be seen as a symbol of Cincinnati's important role in the Underground Railroad.

It's also the only area of the city where all three street grids connected. The sensible solution would be to re-establish those streets and infill a proper mixed-use urban neighborhood. I have a professor who'd like to build an urban eco-village.
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