Community development
11:30 am
Wed March 20, 2013

Money coming to Westwood for civic square

Update:  Westwood Civic Association has asked the city to not move forward with this project until it gets the answers needed to make an informed decision.

In an e-mail the group says, "Please understand Westwood Civic is not for or against the project, we need more information and we want to involve more of the citizens, business owners etc. from the neighborhood.  This project should not go forward until we hear from more of you and our business owners."

A Westwood Civic representative will be addressing Council prior to a vote on the funding issue.

Previous story from 03/18/2013:  Cincinnati Council will vote Wednesday to spend $10,000 on a feasibility study for the Westwood Civic Square.

The preliminary plan calls for making public improvements at the intersections of Harrison, Epworth and Urwiler Avenues.

The $10,000 will pay for a pre-development study to make sure the plan is workable and to begin preliminary design work for the project.

Westwood resident John Eby testified Monday during Council’s Budget and Finance Committee meeting about the project.

“We need people who are going to be able to tell us, yes this is going to work or no it’s not and here’s why,” Eby said.  “Or ‘gee Mr. Eby it’s going to cost $10 million to move this big sewer line.’  We need to know those things.”

The money is coming from a tax increment financing account setup for the neighborhood.

The plan has the support of several groups and nearby businesses including:  Westwood Works, Westwood Civic Association, the Westwood Historical Society, and the Westwood Community Urban Redevelopment Corporation.

“To make it something that comes out of the community and not just groups with five, 10, 12 people or whatever,” Eby said.  “That the vision for this would come from the community because is the community doesn’t buy into this, none of this is going to work.”

The square was the result of a three-day urban design workshop held last fall to flesh out the neighborhood’s vision for redevelopment of the business district and adjacent residential areas.

Vice Mayor Roxanne Qualls said in a press release Westwood is one of four neighborhoods that have volunteered to be the first to implement the new Cincinnati Form-Based Code, an innovative alternative to conventional zoning that supports walkable neighborhoods.