Let's Save Cincinnati’s Icons!

August 29, 2014

Media Contact: Elizabeth Pierce, 513-368-2139 epierce@cincymuseum.org

 

Cincinnati Museum Center Board Ready to Pursue Sales-Tax Increase to Fund Union Terminal Repairs

Five-year, Quarter Percent Sales-Tax Will Be Paired With Private Funds & Other Grants

 

Cincinnati--Today, the Cincinnati Museum Center Board of Trustees announced its’ intention to pursue the full restoration of Union Terminal using private donations, historic tax credits and grants, and, the proceeds from the five-year quarter-cent sales tax increase approved for the ballot this Fall.  

“We will work vigorously to achieve the passage of a five-year quarter-cent sales tax increase by Hamilton County voters,” said Francie Hiltz, chair, Cincinnati Museum Center Board of Trustees.   “If passed, this will result in approximately $170 million, which—along with private donations, historic tax credits and grants—will raise the amount of funds needed to repair Union Terminal for generations to come.” 

After deliberation and review with Hamilton County officials, Museum Center’s Board is confident that sales-tax revenues and short-term financing products can be paired with private philanthropy and other grants to accomplish the full project and scope recommended by the Cultural Facilities Task Force.

Mrs. Hiltz added, “This is a significant step forward for the future of Cincinnati Museum Center, and is the first step in a comprehensive solution for both Union Terminal and Music Hall.”

Cincinnati Museum Center representatives were joined at a press conference Friday by the Cultural Facilities Task Force, who endorsed Museum Center’s decision to pursue the sales-tax increase as part of the funding solution to repair Union Terminal. 

“The Cultural Facilities Task Force has a vision for the restoration and repair of two iconic buildings in this community, Union Terminal and Music Hall,” said Murray Sinclaire, chair of the Cultural Facilities Task Force.   “After review, the Task Force believes that the financial architecture of the plan will provide the necessary capital to successfully complete the renovation of Union Terminal. Therefore, the Task Force endorses the actions of Cincinnati Museum Center’s Board of Trustees to move forward. We believe this public funding, together with philanthropic donations and historic tax credits and grants, can preserve Union Terminal for future generations.”

The charge of the Task Force when established in December of 2013, was to vet the costs, develop a fundraising plan and recommend an optimal financing structure to renovate our region’s two most iconic public buildings—Music Hall and Union Terminal.  

Sinclaire stated that “The Task Force continues to be committed to the original charge and will remain as an active volunteer committee, supported by The Greater Cincinnati Foundation and The Carol Ann and Ralph V. Haile, Jr./U.S. Bank Foundation, until a successful funding path is secured for both facilities.”

The Cultural Facilities Task Force is meeting to develop alternative funding plans to support the Music Hall project and will share these ideas with the community in the coming weeks. Additionally, the Task Force will continue its work to move forward with historic tax credits and other grants available. 

Sinclaire also said, “We appreciate that donors of private philanthropy are supportive of a comprehensive solution for both facilities and will continue to be a part of the discussions about the funding models for both Union Terminal and Music Hall.” 

The collaborative efforts of the Cultural Facilities Task Force also garnered national attention by the National Trust for Historic Preservation and secured the designation of “National Treasure” for both Union Terminal and Music Hall. 

President of the Board of Hamilton County Commissioners, Chris Monzel, acknowledged the work and leadership of the Cultural Facilities Task Force, “The Hamilton County Commissioners want to thank the Cultural Facilities Task Force, and its chair Bob McDonald, for their leadership in moving our community forward with the full repair of Union Terminal. The Cultural Facilities Task Force made major contribution in advancing this and indeed we would not be here today making this announcement if not for their efforts.”  

The Hamilton County Board of Commissioners approved a resolution on August 6, 2014 to place a five-year, quarter percent sales tax increase for the purpose of rehabilitating and renovating Union Terminal on the ballot for voters’ consideration in the November 4, 2014 election.

Monzel stated at the press conference, "I am here today to urge Hamilton County voters to support the proposed sales tax for the limited purpose of repairing Union Terminal."

Rev. Damon Lynch, Jr, vice chair of Cincinnati Museum Center’s Board of Trustees shared the final comment of the announcement, stating, “If the voters of Hamilton County say yes to this five-year quarter-cent increase Union Terminal can be fixed and well used for generations to come. Long after we stand here today, millions more children, parents and grandparents will know more about the world and be inspired to participate in it, because we said yes to fixing Union Terminal.”