Presentations included updates on expanding Ohio Amtrak service, and a program by John Schneider entitled “How Cincinnati Got Its Streetcars Back.” Schneider outlined the history and process of developing Cincinnati’s modern streetcars including overcoming two voter referendums and other hurdles that impeded construction. He also focused on the streetcar’s current progress, economic development, and the real estate boom of converting vacant office buildings Downtown into several hundred units of apartment and condominium housing.
With the recent laying of the first rails and last Friday’s first pour of concrete, conference attendees took a walking tour of the construction site. Led by Paul Grether, Manager Rail Services for METRO, the group learned about technical details of the build, as well as improvements to public utilities that are funded by the streetcar construction contract.
All Aboard Ohio, which is based in Cleveland, selected Cincinnati for a first-hand look at the streetcar and the development that occurred in Over-the-Rhine and in the Central Business District because of it. The organization believes the pro-rail movement in Cincinnati is essential for keeping young people, jobs, and hope in Ohio.