Union Terminal

Members of Cincinnati Museum Center Board of Trustees are endorsing a five year, quarter-cent sales tax proposal placed on the ballot by the Hamilton County Board of Commissioners.  The group made the announcement Friday morning during a press conference.

The $170 million issue will make repairs to Union Terminal.  


Update: Supporters of the so-called "icon tax" are worried about signs Hamilton County Commissioners may remove Music Hall from the proposed sales tax. Such a move, they say, would result in the loss of millions in promised philanthropic gifts. Commissioner Monzel has already voiced his support for such a plan and Commissioner Hartmann wants to see a bigger commitment from the City of Cincinnati, which council members haven't so far done.

Tana Weingartner / WVXU

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.

Ann Thompson / WVXU

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.

Tana Weingartner / WVXU

The National Trust for Historic Preservation is expanding on why it took the unprecedented step of naming two buildings from the same city to its annual list of Top 11 Most Endangered Historic Places.

Vice President John Hildreth says the decision to name Music Hall and Union Terminal to the list was a "no-brainer."


*Update: 6/24/2014  Though not in writing, WVXU is told the Zoo has called Commission offices to rescind the request reported below.

*Correction: Note the corrected time for the first public hearing.

Hamilton County Commission chambers overflowed with supporters waving yellow signs Monday as the Cultural Facilities Task Force made its recommendations for fixing up Music Hall and Union Terminal.

Sarah Ramsey

Two public hearings have been set to discuss the possibility of a sales tax to fix up Union Terminal and Music Hall. But Hamilton County Commissioners say that doesn't mean a sales or property tax is a certainty.

A task force is reviewing funding options for repairing the aging landmarks. That group will present its recommendations June 23.

However, Commissioner Greg Hartmann says Wednesday was the last commission meeting before a state deadline to set public hearings ahead of the November election.  

Tana Weingartner / WVXU

What more fitting place than the rotunda of the Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal for hundreds of friends to come together Sunday to celebrate the life of the late William L. Mallory Sr., one of the city’s political giants of the 20th century?

It was there, in the 1940s, as a young boy from a poor family in the West End, that he shined the shoes of thousands of people traveling through the bustling train station, listening to their stories of faraway places, as they would flip him a quarter for a tip.

Hamilton County's Tax Levy Review Committee (TLRC) is recommending the county commissioners place a five-year levy for the Cincinnati Museum Center in November 2014, but only if the museum center meets certain conditions.

The conditions laid out to the county commissioners are:

- that the Cincinnati Museum Center, the city of Cincinnati, and Hamilton County form a task force to "ascertain and approve the necessary plans and cost for renovation" and upkeep of Union Terminal, which houses the museum center;