Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Grants would fund safety, access improvements at Riverside Recreation Area

Cincinnati City Council last Wednesday passed two ordinances that could help pay for much-needed improvements at the Riverside Recreation Area, 3540 Southside Avenue.

The first ordinance authorizes the City to apply for, accept and appropriate a grant of up to $625,777 from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Port Security Grant Program to construct a Regional Maritime Operations Center dock at the Riverside Boat Ramp.

In addition to serving homeland security functions, the four-bayed dock would help to speed up mitigation of discharges of pollutants and other hazardous materials into the Ohio River and adjacent waterways.

The minimal maintenance costs are expected to be shared among the Cincinnati Fire Department, Boone County Water Rescue, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife, and other local rescue and law enforcement entities.

The second ordinance allows the City to apply for a grant of up to $500,000 from the ODNR Division of Watercraft Cooperative Boating Facility Grant Program to reconfigure the existing parking lot. Improvements would include access for more pull-through parking spaces and improved lighting, signage, and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accessibility.

Neither grant would require local matching funds.

Last March, the City applied for $3.7 million through the same ODNR grant program for a much larger $5 million project that would have also expanded the boat launch ramp from two to four lanes, built a new launch building with ADA-accessible restrooms, and constructed a new ADA-compliant courtesy dock with a sanitary pump out station.

Although the City won the grant, its disbursement was put on hold following a 30 percent cut to the ODNR operating budget, part of a $55.8 billion biennial state budget signed by Governor John Kasich on June 30, 2011.

The Cincinnati Recreation Commission plans to pursue future grants to make further improvements to the Riverside facility.

Previous reading on BC:
City to apply for $3.5M for Riverside rec, safety improvements (3/1/11)