Created on Thursday, 27 February 2014 Written by THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
CINCINNATI (AP) — The ballpark suite for Hamilton County taxpayers will be used again this summer for Cincinnati Reds games, this time for a noncontroversial cause — letting children see games with police officers.
The Cincinnati Enquirer (http://cin.ci/1hCO2nk ) reported Thursday that an agreement has been reached for the Hamilton County sheriff's office to use the Great American Ball Park suite for 20 games this season. Concessions will be donated by the Reds food service provider Delaware North.
"This program is about giving underprivileged students who are facing challenges and yet are succeeding academically the opportunity of a lifetime," said Sheriff's Chief Deputy Mark Schoonover. "Sometimes the less fortunate just need a chance and a little encouragement, especially our youth."
The county hadn't used its suite for three seasons after examples surfaced that local leaders were using it as a political perk, and that suites were being stocked with thousands of dollars' worth of treats such as Montgomery Inn barbecue. Hamilton County Auditor Dusty Rhodes, critical in the past of how the suites were being used, approves of the new plan.
"It's a good use of the suites," Rhodes said. "As long as it's not for political purposes. That was my concern in the past."
As part of taxpayer funding, the county has the use of a suite in both the baseball and football stadiums. Students accompanied by unpaid volunteer police officers and school volunteers saw the Bengals play in the county's Paul Brown Stadium suite last season.