Proposed budget could impact Cincinnati parks

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - In order for the City of Cincinnati to balance its books, one of the proposals among other funding cuts is to cut money from the city's park district.

The plan would cut more than $1 million from their general fund budget.  This could close some parks entirely and cut back on maintenance of other parks.

This could actually impact 12-13% of the park department's general fund. That means the way you enjoy your local park could change.

"There are other ways to do this other than threatening to take away things that families and people really enjoy," said Jean Berberich, who lives in Cincinnati.

In the 2014-2015 budget year, the Board of Park Commissioners may need to slash a bit more than $1 million in permanent cuts.  Those could come as things like total park closures, eliminating flower beds and even shutting off the fountains at places like Smale Riverfront Park.

"It's very sad.  I think it's really going to hurt tourism.  This is a great place for people to come, for kids to play.  You travel into other big cities, or even small cities, and they have places for people to go," added Berberich.

It begs the questions: Why should parks be cut?  Why should firefighters and police lose their jobs?

A Xavier University political science professor told FOX19 that it's in part because the city is shrinking and operating costs aren't dropping, things like this tend to happen.

"The city finds itself with really a structural deficit.  How do you make up for this deficit other than trying to find ways to "right size" the city?  Finding ways to "right size" the city is going to mean some rather uncomfortable cuts," said Xavier professor, Mack Mariani.

The park board is looking at other cuts like closing park restrooms, and draining places like Twin Lake at Eden Park.

But not matter what, that's not enough to keep one man and his daughter from enjoying their time in the city's parks.

"As long as there's trees out here and grass, if they have to turn water off for whatever reason, it's what they have to do.  It's not going to stop us from coming down," said Jeff Brown of Prospect Hill.

If this becomes official, the park board will focus on revenue-producing areas of the system.  Those are places like Krohn Conservatory, Explore Nature, facilities that can be reserved, and waterfront parks.

To see the whole list of the proposed cuts and closures, follow this link:

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