Saturday, April 4, 2009

Queensgate (III): Viewing a "Working River"

In Part I, I described the great opportunity of the Queensgate Terminals.

In Part II, I described the blatant "taking" of property rights and very expensive litigation that has kept it from happening, and could cost taxpayers millions.

Now, I want to talk views. Part of the reason for the City’s actions is that some neighbors in Lower and East Price Hill are concerned about replacing a cement mixing facility and old port with a new, more modern and green port. They are concerned that it will impact the quality of life, their property values, etc. (Others actually support the project).

I never like to argue with citizens about their own neighborhood. And I certainly respect their passion for their neighborhood.

But others, including City Manager Dohoney, have already pointed out that this part of Queensgate is already industrial, that there are rail lines and manufacturing sites everywhere, that those sites are in plain view already and have been for decades, and that this site itself was used for barging and mooring before. Which explains why the zoning was never an issue.

Moreover, while we’ve never had enough port capacity, it’s safe to say we’ve always had a working river, and views of a working river. All along the river, East and West, we watch barges go to and fro. We watch trains come in and out all over the region. A balance between green and some “working elements” like ports is part of being on a river, and is part of the view. And if done right, it doesn’t undermine a good quality of life, high property values, or even parks.

A good example?
Just East of Ted Berry Park . . .

Right below the very popular Eden Park overlook, one of the best river views in the region . . .

Right under high-priced homes and redeveloped and new condos all along the river in East Walnut Hills . . .

Sits a port terminal . . . with a large industrial crane in plain sight.

This terminal transfers steel, and unlike the proposed Queensgate port, is not modern, and is not green. But there it is, is nestled among some of the nicest neighborhoods, some of the highest property values, and most popular parks in the whole city—and it's smack dab in the middle of some of the nicest, most highly sought views along the whole riverfront.

And as the above pictures show, this old crane actually is far closer to, and far more directly in the view of, these locations than the Queensgate port would be.

Indeed, most of the photos are from the most popular two river view locations in Eden Park. And one is even from the newly renovated Edgecliff Condominiums, which apparently has a nice new pool (with fancy columns). See, you can spot the crane directly between the two columns.

The point is, from all these great locations, you can't miss port activity. But while my photos focused only on the port element, it is part of a much broader tableau of the entire river. So when you look out at the river from those locations, while the port is there, it's part of a much broader and interesting picture. (Just as, from the West Side, you see dozens of rail tracks in the foreground as you look at the great view of downtown.)
And so this port's nearby location has not appeared to hurt Mt. Adams, Ted Berry Park, Eden Park, the Edgecliff or other new condos, or the expensive homes of East Walnut Hills. Or their reputations (and high values) for having great river views.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This small crane is no comparison to what is being planned. We already have a similar crane at the Queensgate location. 5 Community councils oppose this project and shortly a Kentucky community will come out in opposition. PrimaVista Restaurant (20 years and over 40 employees oppose this project location and have a opposition sign in their lobby. Potential new business have put plans on hold. Community opposition is growing.

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