Our parks are a destination. They’re a place for public gatherings, community living, tourism, and recreation. This fall, we have a chance to grow and improve Cincinnati’s neighborhood parks and public spaces.
Additional opportunities for dynamic
urban recreation. More miles of trails
for walking, hiking and biking.
More wide open green spaces
for play under blue skies.
Better lighting and increased
patrols to ensure our community
spaces are safer for everyone to enjoy.
More ways to interact with and
celebrate our shared history.
Mayor John Cranley is calling upon the city’s nationally recognized Cincinnati Park Board to lead an unprecedented
citywide initiative to transform project sites throughout the city into centers of spirited, active neighborhood life. Great
cities have great parks that invite a higher quality of life and stimulate economic vitality.
A MESSAGE FROM MAYOR JOHN CRANLEY
Dear Citizens of Cincinnati,
Magnetic city parks and public gathering places greatly improve public health, relieve the stresses of hurried, everyday urban life, and provide democratic public spaces where people from all walks of life can gather together…forging friendships and creating strong neighborhood bonds woven with pride.
As a result, communities are strengthened, the environment is enriched, and property values increase as neighborhoods become more attractive places to live and work.
The bottom line is this: Our Cincinnati Parks—rated among the best in the nation by the Trust for Public Land—are absolutely essential to the health and well-being of every citizen.
And now, we have a game-changing opportunity to reimagine 13 of our public spaces — transforming them into brilliant neighborhood gems that are vigorously alive, bursting with activity, and teeming with innumerable quality of life benefits across the spectrum.
The Cincinnati Parks Levy is as much for tomorrow as it is for today. But the time is now to roll up our sleeves, do the work and get it done. Will you join me? Let me know at email@example.com.
VOTE YES ON NOVEMBER 3
The recent renovation of Washington Park in Over-the-Rhine and construction of Smale Riverfront Park on the downtown riverfront has attracted millions of citizens and visitors of all backgrounds to Cincinnati’s urban core. The economic impact flowing from these two projects alone reaches into the hundreds of millions of dollars for the city.
But our work has only just begun. The Cincinnati Parks Levy will activate a list of projects that will transform our city’s public spaces.
BURNET WOODS REDEVELOPMENT
Work with UC and surrounding neighborhood community councils to improve and implement Burnet Woods master plan
Redevelop Mt. Auburn and Christ Hospital to spur housing and economic development
KING RECORDS EVANSTON PAVILION
Preserve James Brown’s recording studio and create small shop/cafe/museum in Evanston and stimulate
economic growth in the area
Redevelop and stimulate eastern part of downtown through total renovation and re-programming
MILL CREEK VALLEY TRAIL
Create trail parallel to I-75 through Spring Grove Village and Northside along the Mill Creek
MT. AIRY MULTI-PURPOSE TRAIL
Create an off-road bike and multi-purpose marathon length natural trail in Mt. Airy Forest
OASIS RIVER TRAIL
Connect Downtown/Smale Park via trail along the Ohio River through the East End and Columbia-Tusculum to
Lunken Airport and Armleder Parks
OHIO RIVER TRAIL WEST
Develop the hike, bike, and walk trail along the Ohio River to the west of downtown between Smale Park and Anderson Ferry
Turn former Mercy complex into fields/green space/ballpark
ROSELAWN NEIGHBORHOOD CENTER
Create a communal programming center and green space in old Jewish Community Center space with host tennis courts, basketball courts, pool, baseball fields and urban campsite
SMALE RIVERFRONT PARK
Finish Marina and Phase 6 west of Roebling Bridge
WASSON WAY TRAIL
Connect Avondale and Xavier University out to Newtown via Rookwood, Oakley, and Hyde Park
WESTWOOD TOWN HALL AND EPWORTH UPGRADES
Renovate Westwood’s community and green space for more outdoor neighborhood events
Develop green space next to and in front of expected development at 14th and Sycamore in Pendleton
A new pocket community park right in the heart of College Hill’s Neighborhood Business District. The space is envisioned to feature greenspace, a stage and performance area, seating and shade trees.
THE CHARTER AMENDMENT VOTE
The City of Cincinnati proposes to amend its Charter to establish a one mill-property tax levy, which equates to $35 per year per $100,000 home, that will be used by the Cincinnati Parks Department exclusively to pay for capital improvements, capital maintenance, safety for existing neighborhood parks, lighting improvements in neighborhood parks, and to build new neighborhood parks facilities with safe playground equipment, dedicated green space, nature trails, walking and bicycle paths, and a safe camp site for kids.
This Charter amendment would require City Council to fund the Parks Department’s capital budget at not less than 2016 levels, adjusted for inflation, and would require Council to approve bonds to fund parks capital projects using levy revenue.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What is the actual ballot language?
(Actual Ballot Language)
Shall the Charter of the City of Cincinnati Article VIII, Taxation and Finance, be amended to add a new Section 9 for the purpose of establishing a permanent source of funding to be used by the Board of Park Commissioners for capital improvements and capital maintenance, including the acquisition of new park lands and green space, upgrades to existing park facilities and equipment, bicycle paths, and lighting and safety improvements, specifically as follows:
(a) Establish a tax levy for the benefit of the Cincinnati Parks Department for the purposes of (1) acquisition of new parks department land and facilities; (2) capital maintenance of new and existing parks department facilities; and (3) payment of debt service on parks department land and facilities at a rate not exceeding one mill for each one dollar of valuation, which amounts to 10 cents for each one hundred dollars of valuation;
(b) Twenty-five percent of the annual revenue generated by such additional levy shall be made available to the Board of Park Commissioners for any purpose permitted by section (a) except for the payment of debt service on parks department land and facilities;
(c) Seventy-five percent of the annual revenue generated by such additional levy shall be used in accordance with a capital program recommended by the Mayor of the City of Cincinnati and approved by the Board of Park Commissioners; and (d) Beginning with fiscal year 2016, the Council of the City of Cincinnati shall appropriate no less than $2,300,000.00 per year to the Cincinnati Parks Department and such appropriation shall be adjusted annually to reflect inflation?
How were these projects chosen?
These projects were chosen because they had broad-based grassroots support—yet they lacked the funding necessary to even get started. These are only the first projects that will benefit from the passage of this levy. There will be many more since the levy, if passed, will provide funding for these kinds of park projects in perpetuity.
A few of these initial projects are shovel-ready, and those first few will allow the city to begin to extend the proven, positive impact of parks into our neighborhoods. When the levy is passed by the voters, other projects on the list will then enter the planning phase of development. So you will see some projects taking shape more quickly than others.
Why isn’t my neighborhood park among the projects?
If your neighborhood is not among those represented by these first projects, it will be! This is only the beginning of the power of this levy to ensure the growth and security of our parks and neighborhoods now and in the future. That’s because if passed, the levy will provide funding for these kinds of projects in perpetuity.
What is the cost for each of these projects?
While conceptual cost estimates have been assigned to each project, the total costs for cannot be fully determined until a dedicated planning process gets underway and interest rates are known. For many of these efforts, planning cannot occur until we know that funding for the projects will be available in the years to come. That’s what the Cincinnati Parks Levy will do—provide the funding necessary year after year to reimagine our public parks and spaces and transform them, one by one, into safe, clean and active centers for neighborhood life.
What is the timeline for starting and completing these projects?
Those projects that are ‘shovel ready’ will see construction begin as soon as the beginning of 2016. As more projects complete the full process of getting community input and the planning is finalized, their construction will begin, as well.
It’s important to realize that while the levy will provide up to $5 million annually, many of those precious dollars must be used for capital maintenance of our existing parks as well. In fact, 25% of all money generated from the levy will be used to maintain and enhance our existing parks. Parks’ capital maintenance needs have swelled considerably as budget allocations have declined over the years. The infusion of funding from the Cincinnati Parks Levy will help us to achieve all of our goals for our citizens in the years to come.
Who has control over the money?
Issue 22 ensures that all funds generated from the Levy will be under the control of the Park Board. Projects that require the issuance of debt require joint approval of the Mayor and the Park Board and City Council must issue the bonds.
How can we expect our parks to change?
For generations, the Cincinnati Park Board has cultivated a strong relationship with communities about the maintenance and care of local parks. No capital project will move forward without significant and substantial input from the neighborhood and community stakeholders. The Park Board understands that the needs of communities are different and the each park serves a different purpose. These needs will be carefully considered and a broad consensus will be reached before any projects move forward.
Who will maintain the parks once they are built?
As with money currently allocated by City Council to the Parks, the Parks Board and professional staff will oversee and maintain the parks.
WHO ENDORSES ISSUE 22?
Issue 22 has been endorsed by organizations and people across the city! Check out our list of endorsements here: Notable Endorsements
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Contributions or gifts to Citizens For Cincinnati Parks are not tax deductible.
Our parks are a destination. They’re a place for public gatherings, community living, tourism, and recreation.This fall, we have a chance to grow and improve Cincinnati’s neighborhood parks and public spaces.