Monday, May 4, 2009

Martin says Queensgate Terminals will be 'something that Cincinnati people are proud of'

Specialized soybean producer Bluegrass Farms of Ohio, Inc. is working with short-line railroad operator Rail America to build a $26 million, 31-acre container-to-barge port called Queensgate Terminals along the Ohio River in Lower Price Hill.

On the site, containers of grain traveling by rail from the company's facility would be transferred to barges for shipment to deep water ports, and empty containers would be accepted for a return trip.

David Martin, president of Bluegrass Farms, says that they've made great strides to design a clean, neighborhood-friendly operation – changes to the development plan have more than doubled the price from a one-time estimate of $12.5 million.

A hike-bike trail has been incorporated into the plans, as well as solar panels and wind turbines and living roofs for the facility's buildings.

Quiet, German-made electric cranes will be doing the work, meaning that emissions will be zero, and loaded containers will not be stored on-site, Martin says.

"We want to be good neighbors, so the community takes ownership over it," he says.

Tom Tsuchiya has been commissioned to design timeline sculptures showcasing the importance of commerce in Cincinnati's history.

"People are going to use this as a landmark, because it's such an important project," Martin says. "Quite frankly, it will be one of the top three sites for people to come and see when they're in Cincinnati. It's going to be something that Cincinnati people are proud of."

State is on board

Last month, Bluegrass Farms was awarded a $7.5 million Logistics and Distribution Stimulus loan from the Ohio Department of Development to support development of the 1,000-acre Central Ohio Logistics Center, a $10 million intermodal facility in Jeffersonville that is expected to create 24 jobs during construction and five permanent positions after the project's completion.

The center is part of the Ohio Valley Trade Corridor, a plan for a statewide system of intermodal centers that will take advantage of Ohio's centralized position within one truck day of 60 percent of the U.S. and Canadian marketplace.

"There's a new emphasis in our transportation to try to combat the kind of congestion we're going to have in 2020," he says. "You can have three-lane highways turned into 16-lane highways, and that's not going to solve what's ahead of us. We have a disaster on the horizon. And so, by doing this, like they do in Europe, this is going to grow and become a vital part of our economic infrastructure and will put Ohio at a very low-cost fulcrum of transportation that can be leveraged to have all kinds of economic activity come as a result."

Ohio Governor Ted Strickland has proclaimed himself an "enthusiastic supporter" of Queensgate Terminals, an integral part of the plan that will ship containers to and receive containers from the Jeffersonville facility.

Locally, the Western Economic Council and Hamilton County Commissioners have offered written support for the project, and the Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana Regional Council of Governments has provided verbal support.

"Cincinnati can play a vital part in that by providing this artery of water into that equation," Martin says. "It's a fraction of the cost of trucks, it's a fraction of the cost of rail, and it's a fraction of the cost of airplane."

By lowering transportation costs for surrounding businesses, Martin sees it as a win for everyone involved.

"It's good for the City, it's good for the region, it's good for the state," he says. "And we're willing to give a very large portion of the tariff money to all of the Western Hills communities."

Grain exports a growing business

Martin believes that every product has a suitable mode of transportation, and that the kick-start to container-to-barge facilities is specialized grains.

Not only can bulk materials be shipped by container to ports such as New Orleans, Houston, and Mobile's Choctaw Point Terminal, but two new container-to-barge terminals – the State of Louisiana's MegaPort and Lykes Brothers' Sea Point – are being built specifically to handle such cargo for export.

Queensgate Terminals, located on a navigable inland waterway, is an integral part of tying into those facilities.

"When we started exporting ten years ago, there were 16,000 containers filled with grain every year that left," Martin says. "Last year, there were 600,000. So if we're going to talk about ideal candidates to put on barges that are in containers, it's ideally suited for our business. And that's why we've pursued this to such a great extent."

The Jeffersonville center will be a public facility open to all grain companies as well as individual farmers.

"The companies that aren't exporting now, perhaps we can make their products competitive so that maybe they, with the weaker dollar and lower costs of transportation, can make it something that they can look into," he says. "And we can help them with that."

His company has learned the hard way and is ready and willing to help Ohio companies learn how to export.

"We're experts of logistics at Bluegrass Farms," Martin says. "We take our products to the front door of our customers overseas. We take it, literally, from our door. We handle the product, all the way to the deep water port of the end destination, and then, in a lot of cases, we arrange transportation to take it from the port to the front door of the company that we're serving."

Most suitable location

Queensgate Terminals owns the former Amtrak station, and the surrounding length of land along the river is perfectly suited for its planned operation.

"We came to this site because it's the only spot where this works," Martin says. "This was the old Storrs railroad yard. And thus, the railroad configuration both to and from provides the site with staging areas that can accommodate a train that's a mile long. You just can't bring a mile-long train into any neck of the woods. And yet, this site is perfect for that."

Access to Rail America's short-line railroad means that transportation to the Jeffersonville hub can operate quicker, more efficiently, and more economically than available in other parts of the state.

Even if it were an option to move the terminal elsewhere, it would take years to get to the point where they are now, Martin says.

"What you have here is not a footprint that you can just take and go somewhere else," he says. "We have the natural things that are here because of the history of the railroad in Cincinnati that allows this to happen in this spot."

Not only has a federal deadline of 2012 been established for building container-on-barge facilities, but Martin also says that they need to move as quickly as possible to get a lease with the City to have the project considered "shovel ready", and therefore eligible for federal economic stimulus funds.

"We have to plant the flag," he says. "The funding's there for us to get. We have the federal support, we have the state support. We've been working on this project for eight years. Eight long years. And all of the stars are lined up to get all of this funding right now. If we don't move right now, Indiana's working hard to do this exact same thing."

Martin says that Lawrenceburg is one of the Indiana cities trying to take advantage of the Ohio River to get a container-to-barge operation going in its state.

He fears that the local fear mongering and stall tactics will cause Ohio – and Cincinnati – to lose out on tax revenue and well-paying jobs.

"It's hard to believe that the structure of this weak-mayor system that we have in Cincinnati is creating such an environment that it is, that it's so difficult for businesses to come in and do what they do," he says. "Something needs to change down here. If it's not going to get done here, we're going to lose it and it's going to go somewhere else."

Lease and liability

The 31-acre property has been targeted by the Cincinnati Department of Community Development for a container-to-barge operation for nearly ten years, and Queensgate Terminals was brought on to develop it in 2004.

Access to the site was later cut off by the planned Waldvogel Viaduct reconstruction, leading to a court case in which the Ohio Supreme Court ruled in favor of Queensgate Terminals, forcing the City to purchase the property for $5 million and to negotiate a lease with the port operator.

Lease negotiations broke down nearly two years ago due to public pressure, but, late last month, council passed a motion allowing for those talks to resume.

"We've won unanimously in every court that we went to," Martin says. "We've never had one vote against us by any judge. We went through the whole entire court system, and the City attorney is saying that there's little liability. I think he'd better go back and read all the decisions. It was a blatant, heavy-handed abuse of the City."

Martin refers to an opinion by city solicitor John Curp, who disagrees that the City may be on the hook for several million dollars if it fails to negotiate the lease.

"It's unbelievable," he says. "It's an unbelievable situation. It was a private piece of property. And if they think that there's no liability on their part, that's just amazing to me."

Queensgate Terminals is now filing a new lawsuit to go after lost revenues, which Martin says will be dropped if a lease is signed.

"Do the people of Cincinnati really want that?" he says. "I would think not. We're willing to walk away from all of that. We don't want that. We don't want money."

'East Side's going to wish they had this'

Martin is loathe to call neighborhood opposition a "controversy", saying that he believes it's only a small, narrowly-focused group of people who want a public park at the expense of the taxpayers of Cincinnati.

"Controversy, to me, is defined as a problem between equal numbers of people," he says. "I think here you have a handful of people that are making the appearance that there are a lot of people in opposition. I think that when it comes right down to it, they don't have the number of people behind them. I just think that they like to write a lot of letters, and give a lot of contributions."

Martin says that the land has been industrial for its entire history, and its location presents several problems for recreational development – a position echoed by city manager Milton Dohoney Jr.

"For one it's landlocked," he says. "It's completely surrounded by railroads, it's unsafe, and for anybody to get to it they'll have to cross a four-lane superhighway of River Road, once it gets built. And if they think they're going to put in a tunnel, or they think they're going to put in a bridge...sounds good, but it's not likely to happen."

Since first proposed, the project has been redesigned to accommodate residents' concerns, Martin says.

The redesign has more than doubled the cost of the project.

"We did all kinds of things to accommodate them, like the bike paths and the greenery," Martin says. "They wanted it to be green-friendly. They wanted it quieter. They wanted the crane height lowered. And now they still don't like it. So, would they be happy with a $60 million facility? I don't think so."

Martin says he's "stunned" by the hurdles being thrown up for such a clean project, given the site's current use.

"For the last 20 years it's been a concrete recycling facility, busting up concrete in between two rollers, sounding like dynamite going off, and dust blowing all over the neighborhood," he says. "And they're telling us that we're going to bring a facility that's got noise pollution? I beg to differ."

Instead, he says, what they'll bring will be a plus for the neighborhoods of Lower Price Hill, East Price Hill, Sedamsville, and beyond.

"It's a project that's good for the West Side," he says. "The East Side's going to wish that they had this."

Taking issue with claims

Martin also says that he's getting sick of naysayers who are trying to discredit what studies have shown, but have nothing of substance to back up what they're saying – such as assertions that the terminal will handle toxic and nuclear waste.

"If they can provide proof of everything that they're saying, I'll listen to them," he says.

He particularly takes issue with the criticisms levied by Dr. Howard Stafford, a former geography professor who disagrees with a study called Market Demand for and Impacts of Queengate Terminals, released in February by the University of Cincinnati Economics Center for Education and Research.

"The UC economic group has been around for 30 years," Martin says. "And businesses depend on them for their unbiased opinions. If this professor is going to criticize the works of these fine people, I challenge him to come up with his own study and base it in facts to back it up. And he's not doing it, because if he could, he would."

Others have criticized Queengate Terminals' lack of transparency.

In the May 2009 edition of the Lower Price Hill community newsletter, community council president Dr. Jack Degano says that Queengate Terminals has not been open with its plans, and has even shut community members out of closed-door meetings.

But Martin says his company's hands have been tied since negotiations with the City broke down nearly two years ago.

"We've tried very hard to make the public aware," he says. "However, we had our hands tied by not being able to negotiate with the City until last Wednesday. So to sit there and say that we haven't done anything when it was those people that wrote the letters to tell the City to quit negotiating...I think you're talking out of both sides of your mouth. How can we talk to the community when the community says, 'We don't want to talk to you'?"

Instead, Martin says that he's been limited to meetings meant to gather support from businesses, residents and other neighborhood stakeholders.

"We've tried behind the scenes to meet with as many people as we can," he says. "We've gained support in every community we've gone to and at every event that we've gone to except for the one in Lower Price Hill. We'd be more than happy to extend that to any community that would like to hear what we have to say. We're not afraid of anything. We have nothing to hide. We have gone about this whole process both open-heartedly and with our eyes open and asking for criticism so that we can improve this project to appease as many people as we possibly can."

Could open within a year

Ideally, Martin would like to see the site transferred to the Port of Greater Cincinnati Development Authority.

Queensgate Terminals would serve as a contract operator.

"Then we'll relieve the City of all responsibility," he says. "They won't have to worry about this lawsuit, and then we'll work with the Port Authority on all of the details of how we're going to operate this thing."

Martin says that they had all of the environmental assessments, remediation work, permits and drawings completed in 2004.

Because of that, he believes that they can have the operation up and running in some capacity within a year.

But for every day that goes by, Queensgate Terminals gets another day behind.

"We have not been able to go any more, in any direction, since then," Martin says. "So, if we get the green light to go, we're going to run as fast as we can to pick up those pieces that were dropped in 2004 and get this thing up and going as quickly as possible. That promise we can make."

Previous reading on BC:
River West Working Group latest to oppose Queensgate Terminals (4/16/09)
Professor calls newest Queensgate Terminals report 'flawed' (3/18/09)
River West Working Group: Queensgate Terminals report 'unacceptable' (4/7/08)
Dohoney reports on Queensgate site options (12/26/07)
No contact between City, Queensgate since June (12/19/07)


Paul Wilham said...

Once again a shortighted approach.

If you look at Indianapolis, with White River State Park and Louisille with its Waterfront Park you can see there are better uses for this sight. Those two parks create hundreds of jobs and bring millions of dollars into the local economy from out of state and in state tourism. Do you think anyonw is going to travel to Cincinnati to see a container shipping facility? The city has a prime site for awolrd class park that ANY city would give its right arm for and instead they want a container facility there. It makes no sense. Indianpolis took a former industrial site, used State and federal monies and created an income generating revenue stream for the city that will be around forever.

Also while the cranes themselves may be quiet how about the additional train traffic noise that come up the valley into Price Hill and Fairmount? Have they given any consideration to that?

This city takes the 'easy way' out and wonders why its residential tax revenue declines because people wont invest in the west end neighborhoods. The lack of "forward thinking" is astounding!

Anonymous said...

Well spoken Paul as someone who left the city!!! Thanks for your support.

This is a great project. Cincinnati went barge when the country went Rail. Chicago won. Now is our chance for a reprieve, be a leader in GREEN freight movement.

Great post Kevin.

Anonymous said...

The White River is a stream compared to the Ohio are you kidding me. I thought the city was already building a world class park on the river that can't afford? The Banks park. The Parks Dept. is having a helluva time raising money for that. When do you think they will get around to raising money for another one. 20 years?

The city's tax base doesn't shrink because of one less park on the river. It shrinks from gang bangers making communities unsafe driving out residents to higher ground. Lower Price Hill and East Price Hill are drug havens and driving those streets you see prostitutes and blight. This park won't change that, economic prosperity and job creation does help.

Anonymous said...

Haven't had time to read through the whole post but I've followed the issue quite closely. As a student of Cincinnati History, I believe that the Queensgate Terminal will be nothing but beneficial to the city, whether you live in Sedamsville or in Hyde Park, it will breathe new life into the city. It is understandable that many west siders have their panties in a twist over this project but I think there are being a little naive. Price Hill and Sedamsville have only seen decline since industry have moved out of the basin and away from the river. I'm not sure what the argument Mr. Wilham is making, I don't think that the Queensgate Terminal has anything to do with tourism. If you are talking about a revenue stream, isn't industry the "holy grail" so to speak. Tourism is not what I'd want if I was trying to envision a sustainable source of revenue for Cincinnati.

Anonymous said...

If this is such a "wonderful" idea, then why not build it were the Banks project + new riverfront park is going, huh? Please. If the rich fatcats sitting high on the hog in Mt. Adams had their views interrupted by a shipping container facility I think the opinions might be a little different.

Stop dumping your garbage on the west side -- you have been so short-sighted in the past, how about thinking outside of your little squirrel brains for once? You've dumped enough human garbage -- Section 8, sexual predators, the whole entitlement class of carnival freaks and criminals -- on the west side -- and now you want to build this mess.

Paul is right about the noise from increase freight train traffic -- or had your brilliant minds not thought about that part? The cranes will operate silently -- what a joke. Even if they did, unless you're going to build some hovercraft railway to haul the goods away, duh! -- you're going to have a tremendous increase in noise pollution.

Hamilton County officials ought to be concerned with building a JAIL not a shipping container processing dump.

I applaud council members Qualls and Monzel for their opposition to this project.

CityKin said...

The Ohio river, and this site in particular, have a long history of industrial service. A city cannot survive on parks alone.

I can't believe they've hired Bernard Tschumi to design sculptures for the park. wow.

This site is very innaccessible for use as a park. If the Ohio River bike path can be integrated and even built at this developer's cost, then go for it.

The only thing I don't understand is: why don't they send it by rail all the way to Mobile, New Orleans or Houston instead of transferring it to barges?

Anonymous said...

"The only thing I don't understand is: why don't they send it by rail all the way to Mobile, New Orleans or Houston instead of transferring it to barges?"

The amount of fuel it takes to move 1 ton of cargo on a barge is a fraction of what railroads use to transport the same. Trucks are even a greater disparity.

Paul Wilham said...

FYI anonymous I am moving FROM Indianapolis TO Cincinnati as I feel, although its 20 yrs behind the times it can be turned around. I worked in Indy to turn around its historic neighborhoods and I am doing the same thing in Cincinnati.

As for Toursism as a revenue stream you might want to look at New York, Charleston SC, San Francisco,Ashville NC,Savanah GA, Key West FL, as examples of how cities have used historic tourism as one of their primary sources of revenue and employment. This city has the best architecture in the country what it lacks is the vison to market it and have people from all over the country move here or visit here. I just hosted the moderator of one of the largest historic architecture newsgroups in the country and he was absolutely blown away by the architecture in Cincinnati and amazed the city wasnt promoting it, and equally amazed at how affordable Cincinnati is.

David said...

Tourism has a very short term future considering it is based upon easy money and cheap energy. We need serious investment in our manufacturing and logistics infrastructure to compete with the rest of the world. Stopping this is keeping the entire region from being competitive. The Ohio River and Mill Creek valley have been industrial areas literally since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution there is no reason to stop now.

Randy Simes said...

Does the city's entire stretch of riverfront property have to be parks/recreation? We already boast miles of riverfront parks that will stretch all the way into Downtown once the Central Riverfront Park is complete. I understand the importance of keeping a hike/bike trail connection through the property for the Ohio River Trail project, but an entire park seems to be a bit much. I don't see any problems with having a working riverfront.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

How can a site be inaccessible for a park but work well for a 26 million dollar industrial facility? non of those supposed "green" improvements would end up as a contingency of the lease making them empty promises. Sounds like poor folks will get noise, pollution, and something no one would have to deal with on the East side.

Anonymous said...

"Sounds like poor folks will get noise, pollution, and something no one would have to deal with on the East side."

As if there are no poor folks on the river in the east? Are you kidding me??? Have you ever been to the east end??

Anonymous said...

it is almost 5 miles from down town until you reach an access point for the public to the river on the west side. every pile of concrete, coal or silo on the western river front is mirror to a beautiful investment in parks and recreation on the other side of town. Let's hope the voters of all these communities send their representatives a message.

Kevin LeMaster said...

"How can a site be inaccessible for a park but work well for a 26 million dollar industrial facility?"There are multiple train tracks that go through the property. Only one access road would be needed for the facility's few employees.

Anonymous said...

"it is almost 5 miles from down town until you reach an access point for the public to the river on the west side. every pile of concrete, coal or silo on the western river front is mirror to a beautiful investment in parks and recreation on the other side of town. Let's hope the voters of all these communities send their representatives a message."

This is simply not true! Take a drive down kellog, if you call that beautiful investment I'll eat my words. What a joke!

Kevin LeMaster said...

CityKin: "I can't believe they've hired Bernard Tschumi to design sculptures for the park. wow."Correction: Tom Tsuchiya will design the sculptures, not Bernard Tschumi.

Martin said...

Chicago somehow makes their river front work "city that works" but also has great ideas about bikes an people.

With this new rail yard, could we turn the tiny rail yard behind union terminal out to build the high speed rail park -and pedestrian district. Seams like a bargain.

Anonymous said...

Wow Randy sure does betray is narrow viewpoint. parks and recreation do not stretch "all the way into downtown" from both ends, only one end. you should take a trip to some of these community council meetings. there are thousands of people that live in them in case you cared.

Randy Simes said...

^You either didn't understand or didn't read my comment. What I said was does the city need a riverfront park system that stretches from end to end. I then went on to say that the City currently boasts miles of riverfront parks that will go all the way into Downtown with the completion of the Central Riverfront Park. This is true, parks stretch for nearly 1.5 miles along Cincinnati's riverfront and will soon become a 2.2 mile stretch of continuous parks with the addition of CRP. On top of that you will also soon have a hike/bike trail that will run from Lunken Airport all the way into Downtown and then west through this development and continue west. What's wrong with that scenario?

And yes, I'm quite familiar with the people and demographics of Cincinnati's westside communities. And while there are thousands of residents over there, there are not thousands of residents within the immediate vicinity of this site since it has a river on one side, industry to the east and north, and a hill to the west that limits development possibilities as well. Lower Price Hill is a very small neighborhood, and there aren't many residents to speak of heading west down US 50. I guess you could count portions of East Price Hill, but I'm not sure that has much reality to it in terms of people wanting to use this particular site for a park. I think it has more to do with the perception that the westside is getting dumped on again with an undesirable use. To that notion I disagree.

Anonymous said...

you sound like a bad planning student. "being familiar with the demographics" you just repeated the same crap. You basically said these residents don't deserve to control what goes in their neighborhood. It should be parks on the east and dumps on the west. Someday you'll appreciate being put upon. You'd be more than welcome at any of these community councils to actually meet the folks who should be thanking this guy for putting this thing in. If it were a good thing, someone else would be trying to steal it from us. Guess what? Nobody is.

Anonymous said...

Randy don't listen to these naysayers. I read what you're up to, and I like it, I wish there were more civic minded young people like us. Hope to see you at the grand opening of the Moerlein beer garden at findlay tomorrow.

"you sound like a bad planning student. 'being familiar with the demographics' you just repeated the same crap."

You call him a bad planning student yet you are advocating turning a post industrial area into a single use residential neighborhood. It doesn't work, look what happened to the riverfront, it has been 60 years since the riverfront plan of 1948 called for bulldozing an entire post-industrial area to turn it into a single use public space, it still hasn't recovered. My guess is you are the same type that spews crap about the "free market" yet you approve of the city blocking private development, and going against public opinion. Are you saying that the aesthetic concerns of the few should outweigh the benefits for the many?

"You basically said these residents don't deserve to control what goes in their neighborhood. It should be parks on the east and dumps on the west."

I think Randy is an advocate of the democratic process. If you want to organize an opposition
and collect signatures get something on the ballot,
I've no objection. I will advocate & vote for the Queensgate Terminal ever opportunity I get.

I don't understand the fuss, I would much rather live close to this lively port than the dust spewing empty concrete recycling plant that current occupies the site. I don't understand why the opposition to this project thinks that industry is a bad thing. We used to take pride in our industrious citizenry, thats how we became the "Queen". I would much rather live in condos on river road that overlooked a bustling port than an abandoned riverfront, or if you continue on using the "east side" as an example, One Lytle Place seems to be a complete disaster. The views are terrible, I see much better out of my place from the bellevue hillside (looking west at price hill and the bend in the river), and guess what that is over looking one of river front parks you champion. Over the years it has been quite a struggle to get that place occupied and it is an absolutely hideous structure. Is that the kind of development you want on west side? I don't get it...Kevin's article used the perfect quote, Queensgate Terminal will be "something that Cincinnati people are proud of".

Randy Simes said...

This isn't a dump that is being is a transfer facility on a primary inland waterway. Working waterfronts work beautifully in many of America's best cities like New York City, San Francisco, Portland, Seattle, Miami, and Savannah just to name a few.

It's bad to become a one trick pony so-to-speak. What makes Cincinnati economically sustainable is that its economy isn't solely reliant on one particular industry. Having different areas of the city serve a different purpose is healthy and diversifies our economy. The westside's demographics are different from those of the eastside, but that doesn't make them worse - just different.

If you don't agree with my opinion on this matter that's fine, but I would appreciate it if you would avoid from personal attacks.

Anonymous said...

If you had any idea how much hazardous material is being hauled through that stretch of river road on a daily basis it would make your head spin.
I really hope this facility is approved. What are we looking at now? An abandoned amtrak station and a few piles of gravel? I'd much rather see an energy efficient facility creating jobs and revenue in our neighborhood. It's clearly not a safe place for a park, between River Road, the Ohio River and heavily used railroad tracks? I don't think I'd take my family there, and I don't think that the city is going to realign River Road or the Railroad is going to realign their tracks for a park.

Anonymous said...

I'd think long and hard about contradicting the primary stake-holders on this issue. It sounds like if you only take the developers word or the study he funded it is a slam dunk. But then you would need to figure out why the stakeholders that have to live with it are so opposed. They didn't just hear about it last month. They have been dealing with this issue for decades.

Kevin LeMaster said...

^ To that end, we should also take the word of some of the opponents with a grain of salt. I continue to hear that this facility will be handling "hazardous waste", which is absolutely untrue and is nothing but a scare tactic.

I would hope that cooler heads would prevail on this issue.

ekalb said...

I fail to empathise with the concerns of my West Side neighbors on this specific issue. Currently the view is anything but glamourous. Other than the view of the lights of the downtown skyline. The Ohio river twists under the steel bridges. Much of the west end is old warehouses, elevated noisy roadways and rail lines. But that is one of the many facets I love about our city.

This is the very industrial view I chose to buy into when I bought my condo. I currently live next to and above the highway interchange. I see and hear the traffic and trains crossing the river. I would have a view of the new crane towers. The city has a chance to take back some of the traffic that once made it great. Investments with some profit for our future is what Cincinnati needs. Not abandoned industrial centers.

A park is not going to give Price Hill and West End the much needed investment income it needs. The developers say they are investing in a walk/bike path. Hopefully it will connect Downtown to the West End. That would bring more recreational enjoyment than an island park. It would be cool to watch barges loaded/unloaded. I am sure plenty of kids would agree that it wins out over a bit of additional green space.

John said...

I appreciate everyone's support in opposing this catastrophe. These are the facts from someone that lives there:

The proposed project is being sold as a great opportunity to create new jobs and economic development. In reality it would be another eyesore for the West side of Cincinnati and in particular Price Hill and there are various exaggerations from proponents of the project. I would like to elaborate more, but at the very least everyone should consider these issues.

Lower Price Hill and East Price Hill's community councils are against the development. These are the people closest to the development, most informed about the issues and most affected.

Somehow Pete Witte was recruited into supporting this issue and being a general proponent for the West Side it came as a shock. The truth is, he doesn't live nearest to the terminal as the active members of the East and Lower Price Hill Community Councils.

The only group meetings that I'm aware of where people have agreed to support this project were meetings not open to the public. Someone invited residents of West Price Hill (I believe on West 8th St and the surrounding area) to a meeting where they filled people's minds with bogus information as to why this would be a good project. On the contrary, the EPHIA and Lower Price Hill meetings are publicly held meetings where anyone can attend. The proponents of this issue never gain support in this environment because the project's benefits do not supersede the costs. They are aware of this so they are working to gain support outside of the most affected areas despite their opposition.

The area in question is in the line of sight from Mt Echo park. Who wants to look out at the city skyline from Mt Echo and see a barge terminal loading and unloading?

A barge terminal will increase air and noise pollution for the residents of East and Lower Price Hill. Nobody would welcome a barge terminal in the vicinity of their property for these reasons alone.

The number of jobs created and true economic impact is being oversold. There are limited jobs that will be created in this facility and all of the negatives greatly exceed this one extremely limited benefit.

Various projects in Lower Price Hill, Queensgate and East Price Hill are underway that will provide increased economic development. Money is being invested in both the 8th and 6th street viaducts, the water treatment facility in lower price hill, the construction of the Incline Square near the Queens Tower as well as projects on River Road. Creating a barge terminal in this location is a move backwards after many years and hard work from community members and organizations trying to improve these west side neighborhoods.

An article in the January 26, 2009 Waterways Journal, which is the weekly publication since 1887 for all inland river industry news, states that container shipping rates have plummeted to BELOW operating costs. Without government subsidies that are flying around right now this project wouldn't be viable and these subsidies will not be around forever.

Regardless of what the land is used for it shouldn't be a barge terminal! Many proponents seem to think we are wasting valuable land by not creating a barge terminal and instead letting the land sit vacant. The reality is that there plenty of uses for land that do not have the negative impact of a barge terminal. The land could simply be grass. It's green, simple and quiet. Drive out east and look at the bike trail and park at the riverside. Why would we jeopardize our riverside and view property with an ugly barge terminal?

Anonymous said...

i say bring on the grain, we are being suffocated with flying concrete dust (constantly) its horrific how big this place has grown in the last few months, why hasn't the city ordered them to wet this stuff down or put a cover over it, check out our cars and windows on our homes, we can't keep this stuff out of our homes, we are breathing this stuff, and don't tell me it is not harmful. who do we get answers from?

Anonymous said...

What people seem to be forgetting about is wether Queensgate owned the property. I think they were just lease holders, with an option to buy according to all their court cases. Why not buy the property and have the city pay you that 5 million(instead of giving it to Hilltop) and then buy it back for 3.2 like you are willing to do now(still make a 1.8 mil profit!). It seems the owner is just blaming the city for "taking his land" which wasnt even "his" and now wants a do over. The project is a very positive one for the city and I hope it sees fruition, but the city shouldnt be blamed for not wanting to lose even more money.

Anonymous said...

Quite frankly, it will be one of the top three sites for people to come and see when they're in Cincinnati. It's going to be something that Cincinnati people are proud of."

really it'll be the third thing behind, the staduims, Aranoff center, and Union Terminal? I think there are about 30 other places people from out of town would rather go visit than an "upscale" Shipping facility on the Ohio river.

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