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Bellevue Beach Park Renamed for Wiethorn, Battle Continues Over Red Bike

Former Bellevue mayor Thomas Wiethorn’s recent passing prompted city council Tuesday evening to pass a resolution renaming Bellevue Beach Park as the Thomas Wiethorn Memorial Beach Park, Mayor Ed Riehl announced in front of Wiethorn’s assembled family. “It is with a saddened heart that we report the passing of one of the great mayors of Bellevue, Thomas Wiethorn,” Reihl continued. 

“The city would definitely not be in the situation and position that it is in today that we enjoy, without his leadership and the vision that he saw when he was on council and when he was mayor,” Riehl said.

But, not every resolution on the docket passed with ease inside the Callahan Center. Councilman Rodney Poynter put on hold an order to authorize Riehl to negotiate and enter into a contract with Cincy Bike Share Incorporated (commonly known as Red Bike) because of questionable funding methods, he said. 

“The source of the funds shall be comprised of the city’s Port Bellevue fund, semi-public funding, private entity funding, and the city’s urban renewal community development agency fund,” city attorney Michael Surrey said. “The final agreement for this stage shall not exceed $110,000; the maximum limit of Port Bellevue funds utilized for the system shall be capped at $45,000,” the attorney added.

“I’ve asked for a contract before and this is the first time I’ve seen the amount of money that has been spent on the Red Bike program or any program, prior to having any contract. I don’t know the procedure that should have been followed but I would think it needs some kind of a contract,” Poynter said. "I think we should have held on to the urban renewal funding and possibly used it on parking…We are, as I understand it, taking up four parking places sitting right diagonal from the Marianne Theater and we are going to develop it. I think we need all the on-street parking possible.”

The city is still in negotiations with Red Bike and there is no final document, Riehl told Poynter. The current contract is a draft and contains revisions the mayor has implemented and council is awaiting a response from the bike-sharing company. “We aren’t really saying here’s $45,000 without a contract. The contract is still being negotiated on,” Riehl added.

Poynter additionally abstained from the resolution authorizing the mayor to apply for and enter into a grant agreement with the Kentucky Office of Homeland Security, thinking the aforementioned agreement was allocated for a particular city project. However, the agency typically provides a city with first responder equipment but does not include vehicles such as police cruisers and ambulances.

Other Notes:

Councilwoman Melissa Tatum is concerned with the crumbling state of the city’s sidewalks: “They look trashy,” she said. “Our sidewalks just look bad.”

Councilman David Slater introduced a motion to council that was immediately approved to research the effectiveness that a stop sign might have at the corner of Berry Street, where chronic speeding has taken place.

Among its various activities ahead of Tuesday’s All-Star Game in Cincinnati, Bellevue will host a classic car show this Saturday from 2-5 p.m. on Washington, assistant city administrator Jody Robinson said. “If you have been on Fairfield Avenue, you can see that we are ready for the All-Star Game,” she added, noting the flags from every Major League Baseball franchise hanging from each telephone pole lining the city’s main thoroughfare. “Hopefully, you will come down and eat, do some shopping and participate in the celebration that way with us,” she said.

Written by Jason Finnell, RCN contributor

Photo: Bellevue Beach Park (RCNB file)