Businesses react to new streetcar plans

Businesses are speaking out following Mayor Mallory's announcement Tuesday that Streetcar plans are moving forward with a revised route due to reduced funding.

Colonel De Stewart owns a gourmet spice shop in Findlay Market, one of the northernmost points still included in the news streetcar phase I plans.

"We are part of the fiber, part of the core of what makes Cincinnati, Cincinnati," Stewart said.

At the same time, Stewart says their distance from the epicenter of action keeps them from much of that business.

"We're not downtown. We're the first uptown treasure," Stewart said with a grin.

He says while Saturday business is booming, the streetcar could help to fill in the aisles Monday through Friday.

"I would mean for us an increase in our weekly traffic and that's a good thing," Stewart said.

"I'd love to get it but it's not going to affect how we do business and how we move forward," said Holy Grail partner Paul Goebel.

The Banks have been cut out of the latest plans of phase I construction unless additional monies are found. At the Holy Grail Goebel says they will not be losing sleep over the loss of the streetcar since the area is already a growing destination.

"We didn't build this place based on whether the streetcar is coming or not," Goebel said. "It would have been nice but we didn't get up in the morning saying 'The streetcar has to be here for us to survive'."

While many business men like Goebel and Stewart would like to see the streetcar stop by their businesses in the future, others say even the revised plan goes too far.

"If federal money is an enticement for us to waste money that we can't afford, we've got to walk away and say no," said Tom Brinkman with the government spending watchdog COAST.

Brinkman says COAST supporters are working on a petition to bring the streetcar project to a vote in the fall.

"We've got to face our fiscal responsibility and get out house in order before we go off and do these speculative efforts," Brinkman said.

Brinkman says COAST has over 2,000 of the 8,000 signatures needed for petition to turn into a referendum. He says they will do everything they can to see the issue go to the voters, even if the streetcar project has already broken ground.