Cincinnati Council will likely approve an ordinance Tuesday telling city administrators to complete the first phase of the streetcar project in Downtown and Over-the-Rhine. The action comes as the city's new mayor, John Cranley, has vowed to stop the plan.
Council's Budget and Finance Committee approved the ordinance Monday after a conference call with Dorval Carter, who's the chief counsel for the Federal Transit Administration. The FTA has provided funding for the city project. He said requests to pause or cancel a project are relatively rare.
Supporters of the Cincinnati streetcar are asking people to contact mayor-elect John Cranley and council members-elect to keep the project alive. Cranley campaigned against it and vowed to stop it if elected.
Streetcar supporters held a public forum Thursday night at the Mercantile Library in downtown. An overflow crowd watched the session on the video board at Fountain Square.
Supporters said the project is important for three reasons: reputation, community and the future.
Ryan Messer is one of the grassroots organizers trying to save the streetcar.
Public officials and residents who support the Cincinnati streetcar project gathered in front of Music Hall on Elm Street Tuesday as the first pieces of track were put into place. The unloading and installation will continue many times for the next 2 years.
Mayor Mark Mallory said it's a big deal.
"This project has come a long way, we've had a lot of obstacles, we've had some crazy opposition," Mallory said. "But this is the project that will not stop."
Crews officially began demolition work Monday on two vacant buildings at the corner of Race and Henry in Over-the-Rhine. The site is being cleared to construct the new maintenance facility for the streetcar system.
It's where the vehicles will be cleaned and maintained and operations staff will be housed.
Project Manager John Deatrick said this is a visible sign of construction since most streetcar work has been underground moving or repairing utilities. He said that task will also continue.