This week, Alfonso Cornejo, President of the Hispanic Chamber, and Sean Rugless, President of the African American Chamber, both spoke out in support of the streetcar and the possibilities it brings for minority companies to have a business located along the route. The Chambers hosted a joint discussion about economic development created by the streetcar, featuring a presentation by Project Executive John Deatrick.
In addition to an overview of the project, Deatrick focused on making resources available for people wanting to start businesses along the route, as well as providing support for current businesses that are open during construction.
To date, 18% of the streetcar contracts have been awarded to minority-owned companies, such as Fairfield-based Bansal Construction, who received a $10 million contract for electrical work. Ten disadvantaged business enterprises (DBE) are engaged with the project. Over 100 people are currently employed through streetcar construction.
Deatrick will be hosting a public outreach session on November 14 at the Main Library to provide minority-owned enterprises with information on creating a sustainable business along the streetcar route. The seminar will be hosted by the City of Cincinnati Economic Development Division, as well as the Small Business Administration, representatives from financial institutions and real estate companies, and partners from the African American and Hispanic Chambers.
“We will have as many seminars as it takes to be economically inclusive,” assured Deatrick.
Both the Hispanic and African American Chambers urge their members to become certified as a DBE, attend informational seminars, and take advantage of the opportunity the streetcar brings to Cincinnati.
Rugless stated, “Whether you are for streetcar, or against streetcar, it doesn’t really matter because the tracks have already been laid. The Cincinnati Streetcar is going to happen. We have to look ahead at how can we use this platform as an economic development engine to build wealth, drive investment, and attract the businesses of our people.”