CINCINNATI -- The highly-debated home for Cincinnati police District 5 headquarters is now down to two locations.
The building, slated to open in the fall of 2020, will either be located at 3300 Central Parkway in Clifton or 5837 Hamilton Avenue in College Hill.
The major difference in locations comes down to cost.
The city already owns the building on Central Parkway, but officials would have to purchase the neighboring motel for parking. The projected cost for the Clifton location is $9.7 million, which is within the original budget.
The College Hill building, which is located in a strip mall, currently serves as the location for headquarters. City officials would have to buy property and existing tenant leases in order for that location to become permanent. There would be an additional cost to keep the facility open during construction; the total cost for the project is $22.35 million.
Former City Council Member Charlie Winburn and FOP President Dan Hils first claimed publicly more than a year ago that the former Ludlow Avenue building's conditions might have contributed to higher-than-normal cancer rates among employees. Six workers contracted cancer between 2015 and 2016, Hils said, but there has been no proof that the building caused those illnesses.
The committee tasked with finding a new location had 20 preliminary sites; they narrowed that down to 17, and then to 11, nine, and it’s between the two locations.
Councilman David Mann expressed concern over the College Hill location in a Monday Law and Public Safety Committee meeting.
“So we’re talking about 13-14 million dollars,” Mann said. “If we went with College Hill, how would we pay for that?”
Seth Walsh, executive director of College Hill Community Urban Redevelopment Corporation, was one of ten citizens who spoke in favor of the more expensive location.
“Since day one, they’ve been up and down the business district, they’ve been very visible, the neighborhood is reacting very well to them,” Walsh said.
Vice Mayor Christopher Smitherman says council members will look at both locations and will continue to discuss options in mid-to-late January.