Update 7/29/14 9 a.m.: Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley's staff is confirming reports he would have the city make annual payments toward the upkeep of Union Terminal for the next 25 years. Cranley says he will propose that the city continue to make $200,000 annual payments toward Union Terminal’s maintenance. The city is currently paying that amount, but there is no legal obligation to continue it.
More than a thousand people, most of them in favor of putting a sales tax increase on the ballot, turned out at the first of two public hearings on the issue. The money would be used to renovate the crumbling Union Terminal and pay for upgrades at Music Hall.
There was passion on both sides of the issue during the three hour meeting at the Sharonville Convention Center. Most agreed the icons should be preserved, but who would and how to pay for it was in question.
If the group "Save our Icons" has its way, Hamilton County residents will be able to cast a ballot in November on a proposed 9-year 0.25% sales tax to pay for renovation of Music Hall and Union Terminal. It would raise the county sales tax to 7%.
The Cultural Facilities Task Force recommended the tax to fund the renovations estimated to be $331 million. Private money is also being raised. Hamilton County Commissioners have until August 6 to put the issue before voters.