"I Live In Cincinnati"

Joe Deters's controversial editorial in the last issue of Cincinnati Gentlemen certainly raised some eyebrows. In the lastest issue, 3CDC's Steve (I guess he's no longer Stephen) Leeper responds about progress made in the city center.

Now, Leeper has attracted plenty of criticism in his tenure as head of 3CDC. People who are upset about moving the fountain, who say that 3CDC just wants to gentrify OTR, who doubt the corporate makeup of 3CDC's board, who still criticize his work in Pittsburgh - they all end up pointing the finger at the man in charge of 3CDC. And that's Leeper.

But in the few times I've heard him speak, I have to say I like what he says. And I like his results. Fountain Square is not just for lunchtime anymore. OTR is showing steady and, dare I say, equitable progress overall, a few bumps notwithstanding. And the Banks have broken ground. If you'll remember, those were the three charter projects that brought the organization into existence. And as far as Pittsburgh goes, he accomplished everything he was tasked with doing, whether or not it was what Pittsburgh needed at the time.

So reading his editorial did nothing do dampen my opinion of him. I liked it very much. You should read the whole thing, though I will quote the passage I liked best:

Millions of people are playing a role in this investment. You're contributing if you are: one of the 9,000 people who now live downtown; one of 250,000 people who attend the Broadway Series at the Aronoff Center; one of 100,000 people who attend the ballet, opera or May Festival at Music Hall; one of 3 million people who attend a Reds or Bengals game; among more than one million people who visited one of six urban museums from Mt. Adams to the riverfront; one of more than 40,000 people who skated on the Fountain Square ice rink this winter season; and one of thousands of children and teens who attend summer movie nights on the Square.

You're supporting the investment if you're developing new housing and retail units in the Gateway Quarter or you're buying one of those condos or opening a new store. Restaurateurs who are opening new spots downtown and in OTR are supporting the investment, as are the thousands of customers from throughout the region who are packing those venues every night. You're supporting the investment when you rebuild a new Art Academy of Cincinnati and School for Creative & Performing Arts to create an arts and culture mecca in OTR and you're supporting the investment by sending your children to those schools.

...And as a community, we should not concede defeat to those that violate the public trust by discouraging residents or visitors from going into the city based on negative perceptions and comments.

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