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Streetcar Supporters: Next 20 Days Will Define the Next Century of Progress
CINCINNATI (Joe Webb) -- Streetcar supporters say the next three weeks are critical not only to their effort but the citys future.
I think the next 20 days will drive the next century of Cincinnati progress, supporter Ryan Messer said during a pro-streetcar rally.
About 80 property and business owners near the proposed streetcar route rallied at 15th and Race this morning to keep the issue alive. Property owners say they bought and rehabbed abandoned buildings in
Over-the-Rhine based on the promise of the streetcar. Business owners described how they picked their locations thinking the streetcar would run nearby.
Supporters did not spell out their plans to fight the city to keep the project on track but said they have not ruled out taxpayer lawsuits.
Two blocks away, workers were busy tearing up Elm street and laying track for the $133-million dollar project. Mayor-elect John Cranley says this is unconscionable because he and a newly-elected city council plan to kill the project. The city has already spent about $25-million on the streetcar and says stopping the work would cost up to $29-million.
Streetcar supporters say it would cost closer to $100-million to stop the project. They say the long-term costs are much higher.
This is bringing jobs to the community right now, Derek Bauman of Cincinnatians for Progress told the crowd. As these business leaders have stated it will continue to bring jobs and enable us to have a larger discussion about rail traffic going forward.
Supporters say they want to keep the conversation alive, and hope to convince some city council members to change their position on the streetcar. They specifically said they will approach new council member Amy Murray who ran on an anti-streetcar platform. Murray will be a tough sell.
Its just not something that the city of Cincinnati can afford at this time and I think it was the number one issue when we were running for council. People were concerned about and felt the city couldnt take this on at this time, Murray told Local 12 on the streetcar construction site.
She called the continuing work negligent.
This is just right now a waste of taxpayer dollars. Wiser heads should say, Lets wait. Lets stop a week and see where we are.
Streetcar supporters will host a Town Hall meeting Thursday night and layout their strategy.
They invited Mayor-elect Cranley who said he cant attend but would sent someone from his staff.
Watch video HERE