Soapbox Covers It All!

Soapbox continues to be a source of great conversation. I don't possibly have the time to write about each of these stories individually, but they all struck me at one point or another. So I'll try my best to combine all commentary into one post here.

New report on Ohio tax reform sees $6.3 billion in new investment

Now, in the second year of a five-year rollout, state officials say the net payoff is that Ohio now offers companies the lowest new capital investment tax structure in the Midwest.
Interesting. Wasn't this one of Bob Taft's last acts? I seem to remember grocery stores complaining about low margins. If the claims are true, though, it was a smart move.

SoapDish for July 29, 2008

I have liked the new Fountain Square plan from day one. (Sorry, no documentation to back that up.) I have been mostly pleased with how it's turned out, given the limited land area, and suspect that once the trees grow bigger, however long that might take, it will begin to look like some of the more popular spaces around the country. I still think the ice rink could be bigger, and the rotating, multi-color lights will get old pretty soon. And I wish we could knock down the Fifth Third building.

I like this line from Casey Coston:
I never quite understood the crusty complaints about the makeover, the most articulate of which seemed to boil down to something along the lines of “we used to be able to see the fountain while zooming by on 5th Street in our car….now we have to actually get out of our car, and we’re not happy about it.”
A Streetcar Named Renewal: If We Build it, Will They Come?

Another good streetcar story - I don't think it has anything new for those who have followed the streetcar development. But it does a great job in knocking down some common criticisms:

Another misconception: streetcars are glorified taxis, or buses. Why fix it if it ain’t broke?

Chirch has this to say, “A bus line is merely “red paint on a telephone pole, or a little aluminum sign. When you put down streetcar rails, you’re actually making a commitment… something psychological happens.”

...And perhaps the biggest misconception: all funding must come from the city, for which we shall pay dearly.

In fact, city officials and grassroots fundraisers are busy courting private, state and federal donors to help foot the bill for this $182 million project. The city will dish out $60 million, but has decided against instituting a sales tax.

To put this in perspective, Dohoney says, “we invested $40 million-plus in the Convention Center, $40 million-plus in Fountain Square…[and] we’re talking about a $600-800 million dollar development on the waterfront.”

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I think this is a fundamentally broken approach. Any such true street car idea must be followed by a plan for the entire area, this downtown to uptown is not one such idea. The commitment because it lays in the ground is negligible. UC students aren't dying to show up downtown. Will this facilitate it? I doubt it. I agree with the assessment it has to be a big idea, but this is a penny in the bucket. I don't think a streetcar local to downtown to uptown is the right approach. Railways that connect the 275 loop is the conversation I would like to see occur. That's big.