Mallory proposes transferring Atrium money to Music Hall

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Mayor Mark Mallory announced a proposal Tuesday to transfer money set aside for the Atrium project to the Music Hall renovation project.

The mayor says he knew the appetite for the Atrium project was gone on city council after it was voted down 6-3 on Monday.

"This is a way of meeting in the middle," Mallory explained. "It is an area of compromise."

The proposal would send 10 million dollars to aid in the renovations of Music Hall. The first four million would come from the Atrium and the additional six million would be spread out over three years.

"It seems to me it would have much more impact there and would impact more people," Mallory said.

"Would I rather that go to Music Hall than the Atrium? Yes," P.G. Sittenfeld told FOX19 following the meeting.

Sittenfeld, who has long been opposed to the Atrium project, says he still has concerns about the proposal, however.

"We've seen this too freshly," Sittenfeld said. "I need more transparency, more clarity around what was just presented to us. I hope this means the Atrium is dead once and for all. Music Hall is certainly a worthy cause, but there are also many worthy causes."

Sittenfeld says he wants to look into where the additional six million dollars would end up coming from.

"It's a matter of balancing a lot of relative needs," he said.

The renovation money alone does not answer all of Music Hall supporters' concerns.

"We're thrilled that the financial support is in motion and the ownership structure, we'll deal with that next," CSO and POPS president Trey Devey said.

"It is indeed a good jump start but this is like a jigsaw puzzle," Otto Budig added.

They say the City Administration is presenting another piece of that puzzle Tuesday tonight in the form of a revised lease agreement.

"It has to be a document where the pain is shared," Budig said.

Ultimately Music Hall supporters say the building is in need of $165 million worth of renovations. According to Devey, $117 million has been promised by donors under the condition that the finances and ownership are laid out in acceptable terms. Both transfer and leasing options are being considered.

Council still has to vote on the ordinance before the transfer becomes official.

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