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Cincinnati’s Mark Twain complex

Is Cincinnati ready to shed the Mark Twain complex? That infamous quote seems to rear its ugly head too often, and unfortunately is seemingly reinforced by the moves/actions of local politicians, businesses and residents.

I’ve been called “viciously optimistic” about Cincinnati before, but I know when to call a duck a duck. The Banks is going to happen and it will be sooner rather than later, but it has taken us a decade to get this far. Cincinnati finally told Eagle Realty to take a walk after wasting years of time with the valuable 5th & Race location.

Cincinnati is on the cusp of a vote on the Cincinnati Streetcar proposal. This is something that many cities are looking into, but we are one of the furthest along in the development process. Cincinnati, yes CINCINNATI has the opportunity to do something that cities like Atlanta, Washington D.C., Portland and Columbus (to name a few) are all trying or have done the modern streetcar push.

Well what do you know…a couple of weeks before the Finance Committee is to vote on the proposal John Cranley publicized a 9-page list of questions – questions that have been answered by city staff and City Manager Milton Dohoney. These answers will be presented at the Finance Committee hearing on February 25th…however it seems VERY unlikely that it will budge Cranley on his views one bit.

To throw another wrench in the works, Roxanne Qualls suggests that another route altogether might be a better idea. You know nothing is more productive than waiting until 5 days before the hearing and suggesting that we start from scratch.

I won’t bore you with why the current proposal is solid, and why I think these politicians are simply employing stall tactics…but rather I will make the bold statement that Cincinnati shed this Mark Twain complex and start proving to our citizens that we can do big things, and we can do them quickly/efficiently.

Image Credit:
Twain With Pipe from the Kingwood College Library

By Randy A. Simes

Randy is an award-winning urban planner who founded UrbanCincy in May 2007. He grew up on Cincinnati’s west side in Covedale, and graduated from the University of Cincinnati’s nationally acclaimed School of Planning in June 2009. In addition to maintaining ownership and serving as the managing editor for UrbanCincy, Randy has worked professionally as a planning consultant throughout the United States, Korea and the Middle East. After brief stints in Atlanta and Chicago, he currently lives in the Daechi neighborhood of Seoul’s Gangnam district.