Streetcar to stay open late New Year's Eve

The streetcar will run into the first hour of 2018, ferrying New Year's Eve revelers around OTR and downtown until 1 a.m. Sunday.

Streetcar to stay open late New Year's Eve
Nick Swartsell

Hello Cincy. Are you ready for the final morning news update of 2017? I sure as hell am. Let’s do this so we can get to dancing on the grave of this insane year. So, let’s talk news one more time before the ball drops.

The police shooting of a man in Northside two years ago was a tragedy for Quandavier Hicks’ family — and now, it could end up costing the city big. Last year, Hicks’ family sued the Cincinnati Police Department and the city over Hicks’ death, which happened when police entered an apartment building where Hicks lived and banged on the door to his third-floor apartment. Officers, who were investigating claims that Hicks made threats against another person, disagree about whether they identified themselves to Hicks, who was on edge due to a weeklong back-and-forth with someone else in the neighborhood. Hicks came to the door with a non-operative .22 caliber rifle and police shot him once, killing him. One officer in that situation says the group identified themselves, while statements made in court documents by other officers suggest they may not have alerted Hicks that they were police.

“So here is Quandavier, already scared over what’s happened with the other people down the street, getting a knock on his door late at night and he doesn’t know it’s the police,” Hicks family attorney Rob Linneman told The Cincinnati Enquirer. “What would you do in that situation?”

Should the family prevail in its suit, the city might have to take on debt to pay a settlement. Currently, the city has $800,000 set aside for such lawsuits. Hicks’ family says the case isn’t about the money, but about getting justice.

• After months of controversy, the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County won’t sell the north building of its downtown campus. It’s also poised to go to Hamilton County taxpayers next year seeking a 1 mill levy in an effort to avoid a more than $3 million deficit in 2019. The convergence of those two facts puts the library’s board in a sticky situation — how do you ask for community support after a big, acrimonious fight with some of your most ardent supporters? The library made its first efforts with a  public forum earlier this week. You can read more about the aftermath of the north building fight and what it means for the library’s levy request in our story here.

• The library isn’t the only organization lining up for a county tax levy next year. In addition to the Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority, which is seeking a sales tax increase to improve Metro bus service, the Cincinnati Zoo is also poised to ask tax payers for more money. The zoo’s property tax ask would cost owners of a $100,000 home an additional $6 a year, bringing taxpayer’s total property tax contribution up to about $16 per $100,000 in property valuation per year. The zoo says it needs the money to restore its facilities, 40 percent of which are more than 80 years old.

• Speaking of old buildings (that’s a horrible segue, but it’s the end of the year so screw it we’re going with it): Several Cincinnati buildings have scored more than $800,000 in state historic tax credits. Among the winners are Over-the-Rhine’s Engine 22 firehouse on West 15th Street. That building was built in the 1800s and needs renovation. Two other buildings in OTR and another two in College Hill also scored tax credits for revitalization efforts.

• Cincinnati’s streetcar will stay open late this Sunday for New Year’s Eve revelers. The transit system through Over-the-Rhine and downtown will run until 1 a.m., according to a news release from SORTA. That extended service won’t cost taxpayers any extra money and is being provided by Transdev, the company SORTA contracts to run the streetcar.

• Finally, whatever became of that anti-sanctuary cities bill by Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel and Butler County State Rep. Candice Keller? The duo, riding the Trump wave, proposed legislation earlier this year that would legally penalize elected officials who declared their cities sanctuaries for undocumented immigrants. They even held a news conference about the proposal here in Cincinnati, where city officials adopted a largely symbolic sanctuary city designation earlier this year. Federal courts have taken less-than-friendly stances toward anti-sanctuary city laws in other states, and Keller and Mandel’s efforts seem stalled in the Ohio state house. But Mandel, who is running for U.S. Senate against Democrat Sherrod Brown, says the bill is moving, and Keller says hearings on the proposal will begin early next year. Stay tuned.

I’m out. Tweet at me with your most hopeful and/or dire predictions for 2018 or just to invite me to your rad New Years Eve party (I’m already booked, but it makes me feel special).

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