Thursday, August 5, 2004

Cincinnati is still moving forward


The question I am asked most often this week: "What are you going to do next?"

The answer: Keep our great city moving in a positive direction.

The recent news about Cincinnati has been good. The latest article, published in the Chicago Sun-Times, talks about Cincinnati as a comeback city, full of excellent attractions and a pleasant quality of life.

Never before has our city changed as much as it has in the past three years. As a government, and after decades of trying, we have moved forward in critical areas. We are expanding the convention center. We have overhauled our licensing and permit process, putting it all in a one-stop center, and it is getting rave reviews from developers. We now have a framework to improve police-community relations, a framework that promises to bring lasting success in the fight against crime. We have retained or brought more than 10,000 jobs to the city, in stark contrast to cities who have seen their corporate headquarters leave. We have developed neighborhoods with housing, streetscapes, and greatly improved recreational opportunities and parks.

We have partnered with our citizens and business community to create one of the most powerful nonprofit development corporations in America: 3CDC. In short, and led by our underappreciated City Manager Valerie Lemmie, we have laid the foundation for the future.

So, what am I going to do next? Put more cops on the street to partner with our newly created citizen army that is mobilized to fight crime. Look for new attractions to come to our city that will add to our outstanding complement of arts, sports and cultural venues (including a casino). Fix and re-retail Fountain Square, without moving the fountain. And keep investments in our neighborhoods as strong as money will allow.

We are a city on the move. As the Enquirer recently noted in an editorial, it is time for the negative perceptions to catch up with the positive realities. We deserve greater and more positive recognition of the special community we share.

Charlie Luken is mayor of Cincinnati.

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