City officials tour proposed District 5 police headquarters

CINCINNATI -- The Cincinnati City Council Law Committee went on a tour of the proposed new District 5 police headquarters Wednesday.

Some District 5 employees have complained about conditions at their current building, saying issues like asbestos, mold and bugs there are related to health problems. One widow of a former District 5 officer sued the city last month, alleging "toxic and hazardous" conditions there caused his cancer.

Councilmembers have said they want to move District 5 headquarters to a new building, looking to the Youth Services Section building in Camp Washington as a possibility. Wednesday, officials toured a new proposed location, a former bank and city Business Development and Permit Center on Central Parkway.

"Repurposing the building, I think, is a novel idea and I'm very interested in going forward discussing it," Councilmember Christopher Smitherman said.

Renovations to turn the empty building into the new District 5 headquarters would cost between $7 million and $10 million, according to officials. An entirely new building could cost $20 million.

Officials said they would hold a public hearing on the possible move, with Councilmember Yvette Simpson asking if the Clifton building is in a central enough location.

"I do think it's important from all the neighborhoods served by District 5," Simpson said.

Councilmember Charlie Winburn said he would like to see the move happen in six months.

"If this is the building, then I think the next step, in the next 180 days, we ought to be transitioning or phasing in Cincinnati police officers in this building," Winburn said.

But city officials said it would take at least a year-and-a-half to make the move.

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