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Council votes Schulte Mansion will not get historical designation

Schulte Mansion Price Hill
Posted at 7:18 PM, Feb 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-15 19:18:48-05

The Schulte Mansion, built on Glenway Avenue in 1892, will not be declared a historic landmark after an ordinance requesting the designation was voted down during a meeting of the Equitable Growth & Housing Committee on Tuesday.

The West Price Hill Community Council and other community members joined the fight to save the building, which is slated to be torn down to make way for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Cincinnati Workforce Development Center.

Designating Schulte Mansion as a historical landmark would have spared it from being torn down.

According to the Cincinnati Department of Planning and Engagement, the building first served as a home to Henry Joseph Schulte. It was later sold to Henry J. Radel in 1931, when it became a second location for Radel Funeral Home. It’s been vacant since 2019.

“We’ve laughed here, we’ve cried here. People have played in this parking lot as a child and we’re not done with it yet,” said Laura Hamilton, past president of the West Price Hill Community Council, in December. “This building is part of the fabric of the community and collective memory of the community.”

Hamilton said more than 700 people signed a petition asking the structure to be saved. In 2013 the community council awarded the funeral home with a plaque, designating it as an "Official Price Hill Landmark."

City council members disagreed with the building's historical status, voting down the ordinance 5-3. Vice Mayor Jan Michele Kearney and council members Jeff Cramerding and Mark Jeffreys voted to approve the building as historic, while council members Reggie Harris, Meeka Owens, Liz Keating, Scotty Johnson and Victoria Parks voted against it.

Other city planners have disagreed with whether the building qualified for historic designation.

In a report issued to the Cincinnati Planning Commission, city planners wrote, “The property is not significant and has lost all its architectural integrity.” The report does not recommend the commission and city council approve the designation.

The Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Cincinnati is currently under contract to purchase the property Schulte Mansion sits on, but the purchase has been on hold currently while the historical designation vote unfolded.

If purchased, the building will not be saved.

“The plan would be to demolish the building. The building as it is would be really expensive to renovate. It’s in a state of considerable disrepair… it’s been on the market for over 11 years. It’s been vacant for at least two,” said Bill Bresser, CEO of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Cincinnati, in December.

He said the Workforce Development Center would be the first of its kind in the area, and it would be targeted specifically for teens.

The property is directly across from the current Boys and Girls Clubs center on Glenway. Right now, that space includes all ages, and only one room is designated for teens.

Bresser said the location makes perfect sense, because it wouldn’t create any transportation issues for families that have both young children and teenagers. Also, the teens could still use the center for its gym space.

Advocates in the Price Hill community suggested the organization look at other vacant properties along Glenway Avenue.

“We’re interested in these services,” said Hamilton. “It’s a horrible prospect to somehow feel like this is adversarial. We’d like to find a solution that works for everyone."