The hoo-haw and kerfuffle as scared and scary folk go around the bonfire about the new City of Cincinnati parking plan. The are certain folk who hated it from the beginning, and got a certain number all riled up. Now they’re trying to expand that number, to carry the Mayor’s seat.
To me, the parking plan makes enormous sense. We do not, as a city, have enough funds now and in the short term, to modernize our parking meters and parking system. We can’t implement a program that tells your cell phone when the meter is about to expire, or that can refill the meter from your credit card. We have a few upgraded meters in a few places around town, and that’s it.
This new plan, now signed by the City Manager and the Port Authority, will upgrade the system, making it world class – which is good, since we need to be Cincinnati, USA, not some podunk town somewhere in boring Ohio.
But it also has enormous benefits! Our current deficit was created by the State of Ohio’s Governor Kasich, who, like most Republicans, does not like cities (or maybe even people). Our City Council didn’t create this multi-million dollar whole – the State did.
These dollars can fill that hole for the next several years. It can help with the pension system. It will make sure that we have money to invest in our downtown and in our neighborhoods. The reason we did not fall as far as most cities during the Great Recession is because we continued to invest. These parking funds will mean we can keep investing.
And, now – since City Council, with the Finance Committee Chair, Vice Mayor Roxanne Qualls adroitly found other sources of funding for several big proposals – there will be money that can now be allocated to the bigger, better, faster projects neighborhoods are creating.
The City’s new Department of Trade and Development is gearing up, and wants to partner with community development corporations (CDCs). We are definitely ready to partner with him, and very glad that there is funding available, thanks to the new parking plan.