Just when it looked like Hamilton County and the city of Cincinnati were ready to move forward with plans to build a brand new music venue at The Banks, the Bengals could be getting in the way.
Cincinnati Councilman Dave Mann says the city is not in a position to vote on awarding a contract for construction because the football team is threatening to veto the proposed site. The Bengals lease gives the Bengals a say in all future development at the Banks and the team does not want Lot 23 (see map below), to be used for the concert arena. The club prefers that area be reserved for tailgating before Bengals football games in what is now Lot D alongside Paul Brown Stadium. The team says it would not object however, to the music venue going on another site closer to the GE building. However, that site which is Lot 24 on the map below, is being reserved for more apartments and possibly the first condos at The Banks.
The Enquirer's political analyst, Jason Williams believes this is just an attempt by the Bengals to get more money from taxpayers. He writes in his Political Extra column that "no one is better at the stadium shakedown game than they are." Williams believes the Bengals want money in exchange for their full support and says the team has "solidified their umpteenth Worst Corporate Citizen of the Year Award" by threatening the veto.
Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley says the city appears to have no choice but to try and work out a deal with the team and has asked city administrators to open direct negotiations with the Bengals. He says "the sole purpose" would be to determine "under what conditions we could get them to agree to a music venue at The Banks."
Hamilton County Commissioners are scheduled to vote on Monday on the project and Commissioner Todd Portune says they plan to move forward. He tells the Enquirer that the Bengals have not expressed concerns about the site to them.