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Cincinnati Council Committee Approves Court Street Makeover

Court Street will be able to host street festivals under the new configuration, according to the task force.
Court Street will be able to host street festivals under the new configuration, according to the task force.

The full Cincinnati council will likely vote Wednesday on a plan to remodel Court Street east of Vine Street in Downtown Cincinnati. The Budget and Finance Committee approved the project Monday, and the $4 million of city money that will help pay for it.

The proposal calls for two-way traffic on that portion of Court Street, reduced on-street parking, and wider sidewalks while removing the current center island between Vine and Walnut. 

Bob Deck is a partner in several businesses that serve Over-the-Rhine, Downtown and The Banks.

"When this project is finished it will provide a much-needed pedestrian connector in that area," Deck said. "I think it will also help to connect Over-the-Rhine to the Central Business District (CBD)."

Resident John Waggoner, who lives on Court Street, also addressed the committee in favor of the project.

"I believe that moving this project forward is critical to Downtown's future," Waggoner said. "Court Street is the geographical link between the CBD and OTR, but I think this project shows that it can be so much more, that it will allow Court Street to serve not only as a geographical link but as a continuation of the city's impressive development throughout Downtown."

There are some Court Street business owners who are concerned about parking and accessibility once the project is complete. 

Attorney Scott Knox has his office on the street, and he's worried about parking for some of his clients, some of whom are disabled.

Knox also shared a story with the committee about a woman who visits a Court Street business, and she overheard Knox discussing the project with Council Member Jeff Pastor recently.

"She said, 'I come down from Lebanon, and the reason I do it is because I can park right out in front, run in and get my stuff, and then be on my way,' " Knox said. "She said 'If I can't park right out in front, I'll intend to come down, but I won't do it.' "

3CDC, who will build the Court Street project, said the construction of a new lot at Walnut and Central Parkway in the last year more than makes up the difference in lost parking. 

Meanwhile, City Council is also likely to approve tax abatements for 3CDC to build 30 new condominiums and five new storefronts on East Court and Vine. Those projects have a price tag of $12.5 million and the city is contributing $1.5 million.

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