• Cincinnati’s Union Terminal Icon Now Saved!

    March 2, 2016

    Cincinnati holds a special place in my heart. More specifically, two buildings in Cincinnati hold special places in my heart. Let me explain.

    My first visit to the city was in June of 2014, when we named Cincinnati’s Union Terminal and Music Hall as National Treasures as two of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places. When I saw these two buildings in person, I was blown away by the Art Deco wonder and the Venetian Gothic behemoth, both National Historic Landmarks. But how were they going to come up with the $300 million needed to properly restore these buildings for future generations?

    A little over a year and half later, these two buildings are no longer endangered, and I’m convinced that Cincinnati is well-deserving of its nickname of “the Queen City.” A path forward for Union Terminal was made clear in the fall of 2014, when Hamilton County voters approved a 0.25% sales tax for five years. Combined with historic tax credits, contributions from the State of Ohio, and philanthropic fundraising efforts, this funding will allow for the complete repair and restoration of Union Terminal. In fact, rehabilitation work has already begun.
    A rendering of the lobby of Cincinnati's Music Hall

    photo by: Music Hall Revitalization Company

    Once renovated, the lobby of Music Hall will be brighter and fresher.

    Though Music Hall wasn’t on the ballot, it’s been making progress, too—securing a $25 million State of Ohio catalytic tax credit, conducting private fundraising, and hiring a design team. This past Sunday, design concepts were revealed in the Cincinnati Enquirer, and it’s clear that Music Hall is on a path to success. Here are just a few highlights:

    • Improvements to Springer Auditorium (the main auditorium), designed to create a more intimate performance hall with better presence of sound. There will be fewer seats (but with more leg room) and new boxes added.
    • A new box office for Music Hall’s many resident companies (the Cincinnati Symphony and Pops Orchestra, Cincinnati May Festival, Cincinnati Ballet, and Cincinnati Opera) will be installed, as will a new music library. Music Hall contains the world’s largest orchestra library (over 140 years of music), though right now the collected is scattered throughout the building.
    • New (and more) bathrooms. The lack of bathrooms was one of Music Hall’s most common complaints. In total, restroom fixtures will increase by 62%.
    • An overall more accessible building, including two new elevators, which will reach all levels of the building.
    • The bricked-up windows of Music Hall’s facade will be re-opened, allowing for more light inside, and removing some of the fortress-like exterior appearance. New accent lighting will be coming, too.
    A rendering of the auditorium inside Cincinnati's Music Hall.

    photo by: Music Hall Revitalization Company

    The revitalization includes a new auditorium with more leg room and new boxes, and with better acoustics.

    Smaller parts of the renovation to Music Hall have already begun; concerts and events will continue through May, when the building will be completely shut down until the fall of 2017. Of the total $135 million cost for the first major renovation in 40 years, about $5 million remains to be raised—you can learn more about those efforts here.

    Though the National Trust for Historic Preservation will now be wrapping up our work at both Union Terminal and Music Hall, we’ll be watching the rehabilitation in the years to come. I can’t wait to book my next trip to Cincinnati to celebrate when the work on these two buildings is done!

  • Cincinnati's Union Terminal Now Saved for Future Generations

    November 7, 2014

    Excerpted from Huffington Post:

    Since it opened in 1933, Union Terminal has served as both a cultural hub for the city of Cincinnati and one of the most iconic Art Deco structures in the nation. Now, thanks to local citizens who voted "yes" on Issue 8, it will continue to fill both roles for generations to come. Yesterday, voters in Cincinnati and throughout Hamilton County decided overwhelmingly in favor of Issue 8. Roughly $40 million will also be raised for the project through state of Ohio capital grants, state and federal historic tax credits, and private funds. "One of the reasons we advocated for the passage of Issue 8 is that it wouldn't be just left to taxpayers," says Jason Clement, the National Trust's director of community outreach. "The financial burden is not on any one single group, and by voting yes, tax payers are eager to see how Union Terminal can be a model for partnerships going forward."

    Read the full story >>

  • The Votes Are In: We Saved Cincinnati’s Union Terminal!

    November 5, 2014

    Yesterday in Hamilton County, Ohio, preservation was on the ballot … and we had a big win!

    We are happy to report that voters there passed Issue 8, a one-quarter of one-percent sales tax levy that will help restore Cincinnati’s Union Terminal, raising $170 million in public funds over five years. The rehabilitation work at the 81-year-old building, a National Historic Landmark and one of the most iconic Art Deco structures in the country, will cover a major structural makeover, including a new roof and windows, as well as critical updates to outdated mechanical, electrical, and plumbing infrastructure, allowing Union Terminal to serve as home to Cincinnati Museum Center for generations to come.

    This summer, you might recall that the National Trust named Union Terminal and Music Hall – two of Cincinnati’s most iconic buildings – to our annual list of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places. We also designed both buildings to our National Treasures program. Since then, the National Trust has been on the ground and actively involved in the Yes on 8 Campaign. We launched our first-ever pop-up campaign office, hosted numerous community events, and canvassed relentlessly with our partners. Ultimately, we interacted with over 12,000 voters leading up to Election Day.

    As we celebrate today, we invite you to check out some of the highlights from our campaign.

    Looking forward, the passage of Issue 8 was the piece of the puzzle that needed to be locked into place for the other icon of Cincinnati – Music Hall. The Cultural Facilities Task Force can now complete important historic tax credit work for both buildings, and will soon have more details to share about the plan to restore Music Hall.

    We would like to extend a special thank you to our partners, including the Cultural Facilities Task Force, the Cincinnati Museum Center, the Cincinnati Preservation Association, and the Cincinnati Preservation Collective. We look forward to continuing our work to ensure that both of Cincinnati’s Icons are saved for future generations.

  • Union Terminal: What a Difference a Week Makes!

    October 24, 2014

    When the Yes on 8 Action Center opened its doors earlier this month, we set an ambitious goal to personally engage 8,000 voters on Issue 8 before Election Day.

    Today, just 12 days out from the election, we’re excited to announce that we’re more than halfway there! So far, we’ve engaged 4,700 supporters at the Action Center and throughout Hamilton County – more than 2,000 of which came from events held this week alone!

    Between a guest lecture on World War II history to rowdy “honk and wave” pep rallies at intersections across town, we can tell you that the energy around Union Terminal is palpable. If you haven’t already (or if you want to again), now is the perfect time to join the fun. The Yes on 8 Action Center is open Monday-Friday from 11:00 AM to 6:00 PM at 511 Walnut Street in the Fifth Third Bank Building breezeway between Fountain Square and Walnut Street (right behind the Potbelly Sandwich Shop). Here’s a quick digest of our upcoming special events and appearances:

    Saturday, October 25 – Bat Fest @ Union Terminal: Did you know that a colony of bats lives inside Union Terminal? Say hello to the museum’s resident big brown bats and explore the world's largest artificial limestone cave during this daylong celebration. We’ll be there for all the action with tons of campaign swag for the taking.

    Sunday, October 26 – Bengals Tailgate Party on Fountain Square: This Sunday, the Bengals square off against the Baltimore Ravens. Join the Yes on 8 Campaign on Fountain Square from 11:00 AM to 5:00 PM as we get ready for kickoff.

    Monday, October 27 – I-71 Super Honk: Join us from 4:00-6:00 PM as we take over the pedestrian bridge spanning I-71 near the Evanston Playground. We’ll be hosting a “Yes on 8” pep rally that thousands of evening commuters will be honking about. All you have to do is show up, wear some swag, and shake a pom pom or two. The Evanston Playground is located at 3558 Evanston Avenue. Learn more and RSVP!

    Tuesday, October 28 – Share Your Story @ The Yes on 8 Action Center: Everyone has a story about Union Terminal. Come share yours with other supporters from 7:00-9:00 PM during a special reception hosted at the Yes on 8 Action Center. Please bring any memorabilia you have, including old photos, ticket stubs, and newspaper clippings. We’ll have a special scanning station setup to capture your memories, as well as a video booth so you can say it all in your own words. The best part? Your Union Terminal story will live on forever. All stories shared during this reception will become part of the Cincinnati History Library and Archives! Learn more and RSVP!

    Thursday, October 30 – Pop-Up Concert with the Young Heirlooms: Join us from 7:00-9:00 PM at the Yes on 8 Action Center as the Young Heirlooms play a special live concert dedicated to the campaign to save Union Terminal. Kelly Fine and Chris Robinson have been captivating audiences in the Midwest for the past three years. Their band’s name – Young Heirlooms – articulates their style and take on their fused genre. Young alludes to the modern spin on the traditional sound of folkmusic, and heirlooms are items or ideologies handed down from generation to generation – much like Union Terminal! Learn more and RSVP!

    Friday, October 31 – Halloween on Fountain Square: Try out your costume early at the sixth annual Fountain Square Costume Contest, to be held on the main stage from 11:30 AM to 1:00 PM. The Yes on 8 Action Center will be handing out special treats, and who knows – maybe Union Terminal will work up the courage to enter the contest!

    We hope you can join us next week. If not, don’t fret — we’re open every week all the way through Election Day!

    PS: Let your friends and family know that you support Issue 8 by pledging your vote online.


All 4 updates

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