After two-year hiatus, The Banks Steering Committee will meet again

After two-year hiatus, The Banks Steering Committee will meet again
Posted at 11:30 AM, Jul 19, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-19 11:30:26-04

CINCINNATI – For the first time in more than two years, the group of Cincinnati power players that oversees development on the city’s riverfront will meet in public.

The meeting comes as questions have swirled around transparency on The Banks, a project into which local taxpayers have invested more than $100 million over the last decade. 

The meeting will be held at 10:30 a.m. Thursday at Great American Ball Park.

The last time the Joint Banks Steering Committee met was in May of 2015, to sign off on a new hotel deal at The Banks. The Joint Banks Steering Committee does not have decision-making power on the project, but makes recommendations to Cincinnati City Council and the Hamilton County Commission for the riverfront’s future.

Who sits on The Joint Banks Steering Committee?

Bob Castellini, president of the Cincinnati Reds
Katie Blackburn, executive vice president of the Cincinnati Bengals
Tom Gabelman, Hamilton County’s counsel for The Banks project
Charlie Luken, former Cincinnati mayor
Robert Richardson, Sr., president of the Cincinnati NAACP
Robert Rhein, CEO of Rhein Interests, a land development company
Stephen Leeper, president of Cincinnati Center City Development Corporation (3CDC)
Steven Love, president of SRL Consulting Inc., an economic inclusion services company

Since their last meeting, leaders have considered building a University of Cincinnati law school at The Banks, six restaurants have closed, and a concert promoter has worked – without success -- to bring a new venue to the location.

Last month, the developer on the project, Carter, announced a third phase of the project would start in early 2018. Carter’s lead developer on The Banks, Dan McCarthy, also resigned from his post in June.

Hamilton County Commissioners told WCPO they were not notified of those latest developments.

Former Cincinnati Mayor Charlie Luken, a member of the committee, raised concerns about the committee’s lack of transparency in an interview with WCPO.

“As a member, I feel that we should start meeting, or we should quit,” Luken told WCPO in an interview last month. “It doesn’t make me feel comfortable at all to be a member of a board with such a heavy responsibility that doesn’t seem to meet.”

During the meeting Thursday, the Banks Steering Committee will discuss progress and remaining phases on the project, according to an agenda released to the media.