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.
Over-the-Rhine Community members and business owners are rallying support for the streetcar project in the wake of last week's election. They're calling on the mayor-elect and new council members to keep the streetcar moving forward.
Derek dos Anjos owns a seafood restaurant near the streetcar route.
"I moved here two years ago from New York, NY and I've seen first hand what light rail can do for a city," says dos Anjos. "It would be a big shame if we didn't continue the streetcar. My business is depending on it. Mr. Cranley, please don't do this."
Mayor Mark Mallory, quickly coming to the close of his eight years as Cincinnati mayor, used a combination of serious talk, comedic one-liners, videos and slide shows Tuesday night to make the case that he has helped turned a struggling city around.
Before a crowd of about 200 invited guests on a set dressed like a living room at Over-the-Rhine’s Ensemble Theatre, Mallory talked for an hour and five minutes about the legacy he leaves when he vacates the mayor’s office Dec. 1.
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.