Categories
Business Development News Politics

Just to clarify…

Apparently my post regarding eminent domain was a controversial one, and it seems that some people may have missed the overriding point I was trying to make.

I am not advocating the use of eminent domain all willy nilly…I’m actually not suggest any kind of measures to occur with eminent domain, but rather I am simply complaining about the current system we have in place. Sure we need to protect individual freedoms (imo, that only goes so far though). In some instances government goes to far (see the Patriot Act), and I think that is what many seem to think I’m advocating. It is not, let me explain…

I am making an observation that in many of the high profile eminent domain cases, it is not the small guy or the innocent property owner fighting the battle. It’s quite the contrary…as I pointed out, many of the people involved in these legal battles are absent landlords, LLC’s, corporate entities and the like. I don’t want to rob Peter to pay Paul…I just want to pay Paul for his efforts and enthusiasm in wanting to invest in the inner-city. Is that sooo wrong?

You may still disagree with me and that’s fine…I’m just looking at the situation and thinking, “Maybe we’ve gone a little too far with these rulings.” You know the knee-jerk anti-communist type reactions we’ve seen. I just ask that you cool your jets and look at the next eminent domain case that pops up…you tell me who is benefiting: the neighborhood, municipality, investor or some random LLC who has been stockpiling junk properties for years just waiting for this kind of thing to happen?

Categories
Arts & Entertainment Business Development News

The NEW Downtown Cincinnati

Downtown has managed to turn the corner relatively quickly. People who once used to think of downtown as a tired/boring place are now frequenting the new restaurants, clubs, bars and events. New residents are everywhere and visitors are welcomed by something new almost every other week. It’s just past the half way point in 2007 and Downtown Cincinnati has seen the opening of 4 new bars/clubs, 3 restaurants and more events on Fountain Square than you can count.

It’s wonderful to see everything coming together and this is just the beginning. The majority of the tenants in the redone 5/3 building have yet to open, another few restaurants will be opening shortly, and another couple bars/clubs are on the way. This is all before the ball drops for 2008. If you want to think about 3-4 years down the road, then you’ll really be blown away with what Downtown Cincinnati will be like.

3-4 years puts the streetcar in place and the first phase of The Banks. The Banks will most likely attract tenants like ESPN Zone, Hard Rock Cafe, House of Blues, countless restaurants, bars/clubs. Combine that with the activity that the streetcar system will be shuffling around and you have yourself a VERY strong/vibrant urban core. Thousands of new residents and tons of new attractions. The streetcar system will most likely help give the retail scene downtown a kick in the pants…if that doesn’t do it, the thousands of new residents should.

Check out what’s going on in the NEW Downtown Cincinnati!

Need more to eat… MORE RESTAURANTS!!!
Like to shop… MORE RETAIL!!!
Want to be entertained… MORE ENTERTAINMENT!!!

Some more developments (just to name a few):

Now, downtown hasn’t gotten ‘there’ yet, but it is certainly on its way…and picking up speed.

Categories
Business Development News Opinion Politics

City Council almost ran the table…almost

Now lately I would have considered city council to be on somewhat of a roll, and by that I mean vote the way I approve. But in all seriousness, they have done quite a bit of good work lately. Here is a list of a few of their accomplishments:

  • Approved a potential property tax rollback (albeit minor).
  • Voted to create a ‘vending district’ along Short Vine.
  • Looked at ways to cut costs around city hall that could potentially save the city another $18 million.
  • Rezoned a piece of land in Sedamsville that could end up paying off in the long run for city coffers.
  • Reinstated the city’s Clean, Safe Fund.

 

However there was a misstep along the way when they voted 5-4 to not approve a 25 cent bus fare hike for Metro. This is a crucial piece to the Metro puzzle; most of their buses will be needing replacement very soon, and this type of delay can critically set them back for years to come. While I agree with council that there are probably better ways for Metro to cope with financial hardships (i.e. make all the other communities pay into the system who use it), but that will take some time and this money is needed right now!

This is similar to the types of problems that Amtrak has faced over the years. They are constantly unsure of what their financial status will be on a year to year basis and can therefore not financially plan for anything farther out than their current fiscal year. I yearn for the day when Cincinnati has a real regional transportation authority that overlooks these systems, and sets up appropriate funding mechanisms for them.

Why is it that there is Metro, TANK, Bearcat Transportation Shuttle, and all of these other fragmented transportation services. Clean it up, remove the unnecessary overhead and move towards a real regional authority that we all really want and need.

External Links:
www.go-metro.com
www.tankbus.com

Categories
Development News Politics

Put your money where your mouth is!

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.

Categories
Business Development News Politics

What do YPs want for downtown? I know what I want!

The Mayor’s Young Professional Kitchen Cabinet has put together a short survey on downtown. The results will be used to form recommendations to the Mayor, make decisions about future projects the YPKC may take up, and more. You can take the survey here.

Being a YP myself, I’ve got a few recommendations for the group. First off, get some eateries that are trendy and most importantly affordable! Secondly (staying with the affordable theme), work towards the development of more affordable housing options for those fresh out of college. As for retail, I would suggest trying to land some well known chain stores like H&M, Urban Outfitters, and the like. These types of establishments are a draw and are typically located in urban locations.

A key component to these will be locating them along street-level. This enlivens the street and adds a unique/creative element to the street. This is the first thing you see as you are driving or walking along a street. After hours is where downtown seems to be lacking most, and having more street-level retail will help to enliven those otherwise dead parts of downtown. I would imagine that The Banks will be the poster child for this type of thing in the Cincinnati Metro, but downtown can and needs to take steps forward as well.