Last week COAST reported that no private funds had been raised for the streetcar. We based this report on prior public records requests, and a phone call to the City Budget Director made through a Council staffer 4 days prior to posting. It turns out we were given the wrong information. Explore Cincinnati called us on it, and recontacted the budget director. See summary transcript below.
EXPLORE CINCINNATI to BUDGET DIRECTOR:WOW, 12 months to raise $2,935! Clearly this is much more progress than we gave the City credit for. COAST apologizes for the error.
I have a question for you regarding the status of Fund No. 455, "Contributions for Streetcar Purposes." Mr. Brad Beckett, Chief of Staff to Councilman Monzel, claims that there is $0 in the Fund. However, various news stories last month reported on several hundred dollars raised for the fund by attendees of a local couple's wedding. There was also money from Duke Energy promised to the Streetcar project. Can you tell me the status of the couple's donation and the Duke donation? Have either of these funds been given to the City at this point, and if so, are they being held in a different account?
BUDGET DIRECTOR to EXPLORE CINCINNATI:
Mr. Beckett asked and I replied as to the balance that I knew about at that time which was at the end of February. Since then there have been $2,935 in actual deposits made. The Duke Energy money is pledged but has not been received yet.
Keep in mind that the original ordinance requires the City Manager to raise $32 million in private funds before the plan can proceed. At this rate, we can break ground for the streetcar in just under eleven thousand years.