Originally posted 10/27/14
I had two early pivotal impressions of Cincinnati as I was recruited here from the Northeast. The first was attending a concert by the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. I arrived at Music Hall alone, finding my way in a sea of strangers. As soon as I stepped inside the grand foyer and then the majestic Springer Auditorium, however, I felt at ease – not because I recognized anyone, but from a sense of awe: if this symbolized what Cincinnatians stood for and valued, then I would be proud to join this community. That was before the Symphony ever played a note. 

The second experience was relocating my family here from Connecticut. We pulled into Cincy on New Year’s Eve. What to do when you are living in a hotel room with kids on a holiday weekend in an unfamiliar city? We went to the Cincinnati Museum Center, of course! Eight hours later we were still happy, tired and hooked on a good thing. We signed on as grateful members. We knew we’d be back, often.

Mine are just two among thousands of personal memories that have been made inside Music Hall and Union Terminal. 

Music Hall and Union Terminal are hubs of very necessary educational and cultural activity – activity that results in a ripple effect of benefits for the entire community. As cultural hubs and as iconic buildings, these places help businesses attract and retain top talent; differentiate our region for tourists and new companies; fuel the learning and curiosity needed for a 21st century workforce; and improve our quality of life.

In July, the National Trust for Historic Preservation put Music Hall and Union Terminal on their list of America’s 11 Most Endangered Buildings. They did this to raise awareness about the threats facing our “icons”, citing them as among our nation’s greatest treasures. 

These buildings may symbolize much about our past, but they are also a key to Greater Cincinnati’s bright future. Saving both Music Hall and Union Terminal as a legacy for the future is a commitment made by the Cultural Facilities Task Force, a group that has devoted hundreds of hours over the past year to creating a solid renovation plan. 

Next week, we have the chance to show that we understand the significance of our cultural heritage and its promise to next generations. We have the opportunity to make our voice heard on Issue 8, a measure that proposes a sales tax levy that would fund the critically needed repairs of Union Terminal. If this public funding is approved by voters, $40 million in private philanthropic commitments that has already been pledged can be directed to restoration of Music Hall. Greater Cincinnati has had great success leveraging these types of public/private partnerships, in which everyone plays an important part in fueling growth in our community.

It’s a jigsaw puzzle, and every piece must fall into place to create the finished picture: a thriving Greater Cincinnati region with arts and cultural opportunities for all. 

Thanks for playing your part by exercising your right to vote on this critical issue.