Cincinnati City Council candidates open to helping fund new arena

Cincinnati City Council candidates open to helping fund new arena

There is continued chatter about a new facility to replace Heritage Bank Center, with Visit Cincy, the Ohio side of the river’s convention and visitors bureau, and its chairman, FC Cincinnati co-CEO Jeff Berding, pushing for a study of potential locations and costs.

No financing plan has been proposed, nor a location decided upon, although Visit Cincy has asked the city not to approve the redevelopment of the Town Center Garage on Central Parkway across the street from Music Hall.

The Business Courier asked every candidate running whether they would support spending city income or property tax revenue or tax-increment financing dollars on a new arena. If voters approve Issue 22, the sale of the Cincinnati Southern Railway, the investment returns from the $1.6 billion trust cannot be spent on a new arena because state law bars it from going to new infrastructure.

Here’s what the council members said:

– Victoria Parks – “No. We don’t need it,”

Councilwoman Liz Keating – “I’d want to see a financing plan first.”

Councilman Jeff Cramerding – “This is important for economic development. The location would have to be right and many other details have to be worked out.”

Councilman Mark Jeffreys – “If there are public infrastructure needs around an arena that need to be in place to enable that investment, then we should treat that no differently than we do any other economic development opportunity,”

Anna Albi  – “I’d like to see a detailed study done that provides insight into the possible benefits and drawbacks of a new arena. I’d also want to ensure there is robust community engagement throughout the process, including socializing the results of such a study,”

Councilman Reggie Harris – “I can’t answer this question without knowing the costs or seeing the economic argument for the city.

Councilman Seth Walsh – “I don’t want to comment on a hypothetical deal. I want to be able to evaluate it based on its merits.”

Councilwoman Meeka Owens –  “The future growth of our city is a top priority in order to increase the tax base. Economic development plays an essential role. We also have to address some of our most pressing issues including deferred maintenance, a healthy pension and continued service delivery.”

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