The Cincinnati Streetcar Study was presented to City Council yesterday. There was little to no media attention giving the meeting publicity, but the media outlets were quick to report on the presentation after it happened. Interestingly enough the Cincinnati Business Courier and Cincinnati Enquirer had notably different takes/spins on the same story.
The most noticeable was the difference in headlines. The Enquirer’s read “Streetcar Price Tag: $100 million”…while the Business Courier’s headline read: “Study: Downtown streetcar could have $1.9B impact.” But nothing new with that…the Cincinnati Enquirer has had a consistently negative stance on events occurring within the inner-city.
However the differences do not stop there. The Enquirer cited that the total cost of build out would be $100 million; while the Business Courier wrote that it would cost $88 million. So, who’s right?? Well the Enquirer could have been rounding the $88 million up, but that would be a stretch even for the lousy Enquirer. The most likely explanation is that the Enquirer was using the higher of the two estimates. Most likely the system will only cost $88 million to build, but there is a chance that the price tag balloon to $100 million. The study put that in there to be safe and make sure they covered all of their bases…well it’s refreshing to see that the Enquirer choose the more negative spin on a positive story going on in the inner-city!
3CDC has been working diligently in Over-the-Rhine rehabbing old structures, creating chic urban living options, and luring new unique businesses to the area. The first piece of their OTR work to come on line is the Gateway Quarter. This is the section of OTR including/surrounding Vine Street from Central Parkway up a few blocks.
The area has seen great successes so far. The Art Academy of Cincinnati has created student housing options in the area, the Gateway Condos have been a success, and multiple new businesses have signed leases. All of this is taking place while more buildings are being renovated with more living and retail options! The other buildings include: Bremen Lofts, Centennial Row, Duncanson Lofts, and Duveneck Flats.
Now the area has seen the influx of new housing before, but what is new is the interest of the retailers. These are not your typical retailers either…these are stores geared towards urban living/lifestyle. City Roots is an urban gardening store, MetroNation offers contemporary home accessories and furniture that is collapsible, Park + Vine is a green variety store, and Jean Robert de Cavel plans to open another restaurant in the city…this one being in the Gateway Quarter.
All in all, there are fantastic changes taking place in Over-the-Rhine. New businesses are opening, new residents are moving in, crime is dropping, and hopefully the neighborhood’s long tainted image will begin to improve. Next on tap for 3CDC in OTR is the Washington Park District. 3CDC has announced that they plan to rehab 100 units per year, for the next 7 years in OTR…the main kicker is that they also plan on doing this through rehabs and NOT tearing down buildings. Good things are in store!
The Taste of Cincinnati is this weekend and I personally can not wait! The Taste has always been a great event for the city and for those who attend, but it will be even better this year. You may ask why…well it’s because of the all important move from Central Parkway to Fifth Street. This move presents a whole slew of benefits for the event.
First of all, shadows from the building will help shade the event and offer a slightly cooler atmosphere for everyone. Secondly, it is in the heart of downtown and in the midst of the up-and-coming Fountain Square District. There is shopping, dining, lodging, and entertainment all within a stones throw from the event this year. This has to bode well for neighboring businesses, more so than previous events held nearly 6 blocks away.
3CDC has certainly been criticized for the issues with the Fountain Square work. Whether it is warranted or not is another issue, but one thing is for sure…The heart of downtown is looking/feeling stronger than ever. Well done!
So the question is whether $800,000 is better spent on the Freedom Center or on speed humps for residential streets throughout the city. Speed humps serve a small amount of citizens who just like to complain. These are the same people who ask for public stairs to be closed, bus routes to be removed, bike trails to be prohibited and the likes. They have specific issues with many things that are geared towards the greater public, and it seems like Chris Monzel would rather appeal to those citizens than to put money towards a Smithsonian Museum right in our downtown.
Now maybe I am confused or misinformed, but to me an investment in a Smithsonian caliber museum would seem to be a better investment than speed humps. It would also seem to be an investment that would benefit the community as a whole; not just the complaint oriented citizens. Even if you don’t go to the Freedom Center (which I highly recommend a visit to), the community benefits by schoolchildren being able to go to the museum and learn a very important history of our nation.
If education and the youth are truly our future, then lets put our money where our mouths are and fund things that benefit our future. A child will not remember or learn anything from a speed hump that may or may not be on their neighborhood street…but they will remember the lifelong lessons that are taught at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center.
So how do you feel about the state of Downtown Cincinnati? Downtown Cincinnati Inc. is currently conducting their 2007 State of Downtown Survey and now is the time to let your voice be heard! The survey covers such items as safety, cleanliness, events and services. It also asks you to elaborate on what you would like to see downtown to make it a better place to live, work and play.
So get to it! The survey takes about 15 min. and is well worth your time.