BY PHILLIP PINA
The Cincinnati Enquirer
Supporters of putting a new Reds ballpark along the Ohio River begin a television campaign today asking voters to protect their investment in the riverfront's rebirth.
A 30-second spot shows what planners envision will be Cincinnati's new riverfront -- parks, fountains, Bengals and Reds stadiums -- and compares it with the sea of parking lots there now.
The ad also says "a small group of landowners" is pushing Broadway Commons as an alternate site for their own financial interests.
The riverfront ad is the first TV spot by Move Greater Cincinnati Forward, which advocates Baseball on Main, or the "Wedge" as it's called by opponents. Voters Nov. 3 will accept or reject a charter government requiring Hamilton County to build the ballpark at Broadway Commons, instead of the riverfront site preferred by the Reds.
"Two years ago, you had the vision and the courage to invest in a spectacular riverfront, inviting and accessible to an entire region," the ad says. "Now a small group of landowners want you to turn your back and build a stadium on their land."
Broadway Commons supporters began their ads earlier this week. They called Move Greater Cincinnati Forward's campaign "deceptive" and added that more than 40,000 citizens signed petitions to put a measure on the ballot allowing the vote in the first place.
"Nobody involved in the campaign owns any of the land," said Melissa Rottinghaus, Broadway Commons campaign coordinator. She counters it is rich Cincinnati business owners supporting the riverfront campaign with no regard for the taxpaying public.
The Reds stadium is essential to the riverfront's future, said John Schneider, campaign chairman for Move Greater Cincinnati Forward. The community is investing in rejuvenating its banks along the Ohio River, and Broadway Commons backers are trying to derail that, he said.
A recent campaign report shows the owner of the land on which Broadway Commons sits and an associate were that campaign's largest contributors.
Broadway Commons backers began their television campaign Wednesday with a spot evoking nostalgic baseball images laced with old footage and still pictures of past Reds' teams. The pro-riverfront advertisement does not show any Reds team footage, despite being the site supported by the team.
The goal was not to get viewers thinking about the past, but what could be, Mr. Schneider said.
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