Council and residents don't like USquare public space

Feb 5, 2013

Work continues on the USquare Development near the University of Cincinnati.  

The project includes a public plaza, and some council members and nearby residents aren’t impressed with its design.

During a meeting Tuesday, Vice Mayor Roxanne Qualls said she was choosing her words carefully.

“I have to say that it is under-whelming,” Qualls said.  “And that’s about the kindest thing I can say about it.  And also really repeats, on many different levels, virtually all of the mistakes that have ever been made in the city and in neighborhoods when it comes to creating public spaces.”

The developers working on the public space presented renderings of the project.  
Architect Graham Kalbli said he’s excited about the plan.

“Because we’ve taken a vacant strip of land and really made kind of a living room for the Clifton Heights community,” Kalbli said.  “We wanted to do that, that was one of our overriding goals.”

The developers say the materials for the public space have been ordered, so making changes will be difficult.  

They also said the community has had opportunities to offer comments on the plan.  The developers said they made changes after public comments including removing a large video board and increasing green space and lighting.  

Residents who testified during the meeting also expressed disappointment.  

The USquare Development is expected to open later this year and the public space could be available for use this spring.