CINCINNATI - It’s a project that Cincinnati Council Member Charlie Winburn called “an audacious, bold concept,” but he said that he believes it could work.
That concept is bringing the University of Cincinnati and The Banks together. A move that Winburn said could create an economic boom.
A UC graduate himself, Winburn is proposing a big move for UC's law school to the space between Paul Brown Stadium and the Freedom Center, which neighbors The Banks.
It's a move he said, that could bring jobs to the area.
"There will be 300 construction jobs. We'll be able to retain 75 law professors and all their staff here—400 students. It's going to create new jobs. This is going to become the Epicenter for all of the downtown development," said Winburn.
The law school is currently located at Clifton and Calhoun on the University's Main Campus in Clifton. Moving the law school to Winburn’s proposed location downtown would benefit the students he said.
"The law school will have an opportunity to connect again to our downtown development, our economic center, all the court houses, all the lawyers that are downtown."
It would also open up economic development, he said, for the entire city.
"I would like to see Vine Street renamed to the ‘University of Cincinnati Way,’ so that would give the university 2.5 miles all the way from Second and Vine to Clifton and to the Uptown consortium," said Winburn.
He said that he hopes to revitalize the economy from The Banks to UC.
"I see us actually attracting large companies and small businesses on that 2.5 mile connector. I see money coming in from the federal, from the state; I see private money coming in."
His plan includes bringing $65 million to the table for UC; $40 million will be raised by a group Winburn's working with. The remainder would come from the city.
"We need to make a significant contribution of $25 million using general obligation bonds because look at the economic development it will bring," he said.
While the law school is making some changes, it hasn't made any concrete decisions yet.
"The law school is in the middle of a fundraising campaign with the idea of constructing a building that would allow them to build for the future," said Greg Hand, spokesman for UC.
That future is focused on the campus community.
"There is some value in the dynamics of a university campus with multiple colleges interacting and having the capacity to interact formally through collaborations or informally as part of an intellectual community," said Hand.
UC isn't making any moves just yet, but said it is open to ideas as they prepare for the future.
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