by German Lopez
Residents, business owners rally to lobby new mayor and council
Dozens of residents and business owners gathered in
Over-the-Rhine on Tuesday to launch a campaign that seeks to persuade
Mayor-elect John Cranley and the newly elected City Council to support
the $133 million streetcar project.
Attendees included Ryan Messer, who used his life savings
to renovate his home in Over-the-Rhine; Derek Bauman, co-chair of
Cincinnatians for Progress; Jean-Francois Flechet, owner of the Taste of
Belgium; and Derek dos Anjos, owner of The Anchor.
“We’re here today to keep the conversation going outside
of political rhetoric and partisan politics,” Messer said. “Simply put,
the streetcar is a component of Cincinnati economic development, and
it’s a project that grows the whole city — not just an urban core,
which, by the way, is an important part of developing this region.”
The group intends to lobby Cranley and the newly elected
council, which appear poised to cancel the project when they take office
At least three of nine elected council members — P.G.
Sittenfeld, David Mann and Kevin Flynn — have told media outlets that
they want a full accounting of the project before making a final
decision. Another three — Chris Seelbach, Yvette Simpson and Wendell
Young — are on the record as supporting the project. The final three —
Christopher Smitherman, Charlie Winburn and Amy Murray — adamantly
opposed the project in the past.
Members of the pro-streetcar group invited Cranley and all
elected council members to join them at a town hall-style meeting on
Nov. 14 at the Mercantile Library, where supporters will discuss their
path forward. So far, supporters have publicly discussed a concerted
lobbying effort, a referendum if council passes an ordinance undoing the
streetcar project and possible legal action.
As CityBeat first uncovered, the costs of canceling the project are currently unknown,
and some of the costs could actually fall on the operating budget that
pays for police, firefighters and human services instead of the capital
budget that is currently financing the streetcar project.
Much of the uncertainty falls on ongoing construction for
the streetcar, which has continued despite the newly elected city
government’s intent to stop the project. As of September, the city spent
$23 million on the project and contractually obligated $94 million,
some of which city officials say will need to be paid back even if the
project were canceled.
The U.S. Department of Transportation also told city
officials in a June 19 letter that nearly $41 million of nearly $45
million in federal grants would need to be returned if the project were
Supporters also claim Cincinnati would be giving up a
2.7-to-1 return on investment over 35 years if the city abandoned the
streetcar now. That estimate is derived from a 2007 study conducted by
consulting firm HDR, which was evaluated and supported by the University
Project executive John Deatrick says the HDR study is now
outdated and the city is working on updating the numbers. Still,
Deatrick says the project is intended to spur economic development, not
just provide another form of public transportation.
The Nov. 13 issue of CityBeat will give a more in-depth look at the campaign to save the streetcar and some of the people involved in the movement.
Kyle McGrath and Brad Ostendorf of URBTank strive to produce healthy, all-natural ingredients using aquaponics
2 Comments · Wednesday, July 17, 2013
Two 23-year-olds growing plants in an
Over-the-Rhine basement sounds like the beginnings of a Seth Rogen
blockbuster, but housed in a six-story Apex warehouse on McMicken Avenue
is the newest contribution to Cincinnati’s sustainable agriculture
0 Comments · Wednesday, October 24, 2012
I just read in New York magazine
that pumpkin is the new bacon. They may be on to something. Listen to
this shopping list a friend just posted on Facebook: pumpkin coffee,
pumpkin oatmeal, pumpkin cream cheese, pumpkin butter, pumpkin cider and
pumpkin-chip biscotti. Eat that and you’re likely to start glowing all
0 Comments · Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Did you even know that there was a café at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center? Neither did Jean Francois Flechet until he had a chance to propose opening a satellite site of his Belgian waffle empire there. Well, maybe Taste of Belgium hasn’t reached empire status, but it’s certainly growing in local impact.
Feasting at Findlay Market is time well spent
0 Comments · Monday, March 29, 2010
If you haven't been to Findlay Market lately, you're in for some surprises. Sure, if you're a home cook or even a professional chef, the market is a great place for fresh, local ingredients. Now more than ever, though, the market has become a place to eat, with ever expanding options for ready-to-eat meals, either at home or on the spot.