STREETCARS: Federal transportation officials announced late last week that Cincinnati will receive a $24.9 million grant to help build a proposed streetcar system. City officials had been anxiously awaiting the outcome of their application, and in May approved $64 million in bonds for the project, contingent on nabbing the federal money.
U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood praised Mayor Mark Mallory for assembling the financing package, saying it showed the local commitment needed to win the grant. Most of the money is now in place to build the $128 million project’s first phase and — pending a few more approvals — the streetcars might be up and running by spring 2013.
LOCAL NAACP: The NAACP’s local chapter continues its strange disconnect from the organization’s national office. We first noted this in March 2009 when the national office asked California lawmakers to support the repeal of Proposition 8, which it deemed a civil rights violation, at the same time the local chapter hired Chris Finney as its attorney, the man who wrote the anti-gay Article 12 charter amendment.
Now the national NAACP is expected to pass a resolution denouncing the Tea Party movement as racist and “a threat to democracy.” Finney, though, is a Tea Party supporter and recently spoke at a TP event, referring to President Obama’s White House as having been taken over by a “foreign entity.” (Shades of the birthers!)
WORLD CHOIR GAMES: A new report by economists at the University of Cincinnati estimates that the World Choir Games will produce $73.5 million in economic impact when the event is held in Cincinnati in 2012. About 20,000 people are expected to take part in the event and another 90,000 will attend to watch performances, making it the largest event of its kind ever held in the region.
The World Choir Games held its first competition in 2000 and is organized by Musica Mundi and INTERKULTUR Foundation. The event’s motto is “Singing together brings nations together.” It also brings prosperity to Cincinnati, and we like the sound of that.
DAVID PEPPER: So, is he taking the action out of sincere environmental concern or to win votes in Anderson Township and Indian Hill this fall? We’re not sure, but the end result is a good one, regardless.
The Hamilton County commissioner, who is campaigning to become Ohio auditor, proposed a plan July 13 to block Martin Marietta Materials Inc. from tunneling underneath Broadwell Road in Anderson Township. The company needs the tunnel to construct an underground limestone mine. Many residents, however, are worried about noise from blasting, as well as the estimated 250 trucks per day added to roads.
Pepper wants fellow commissioners to sign a resolution opposing the tunnel, which would be built under a county-owned road.