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Chamber has no plans to move festivals for streetcar

Jay Hanselman

As the Cincinnati Chamber prepares for this year's Taste of Cincinnati, vice president Pat Sheeran says it's not looking to move the food festival to accommodate the streetcar. 

Last week, Mayor John Cranley said the streetcar, when operational, would not supersede downtown events like Taste and Oktoberfest.  Sheeran says the chamber is happy the events won't have to move.

“We’ve had record-setting crowds at the Taste for the last couple of years.  We’ve had record-setting crowds for Oktoberfest for over the last decade.  And so it was with great pause that we thought about moving the events,” Sheeran says. 

“So the fact that they can stay here on Fifth Street, where the customer truly does love and enjoy them, I think that’s a great thing. We look forward to working with the streetcar folks.”

Sheeran says it will be up to the city to decide if the streetcar will run to and through the festivals, or if it will be limited to the Over-the-Rhine loop.

Chamber President Brian Carley says people like the events where they are, centered along Fifth Street, in part because of the convenience of parking.

“Helping to complement that would be some streetcar operations.  Again, if it can be maintained safely, to… move people back and forth from the riverfront, even up to Findlay Market,” Carley says.  “So if we can work it out, it would be great.”

Carley says the chamber is just starting to look at how other cities with streetcars and large outdoor festivals, like Portland and Salt Lake City, manage the needs of the two.

Though Cranley says the streetcar won't be allowed to interrupt large city festivals, City Manager Harry Black says the city will work with event organizers.

Bill Rinehart started his radio career as a disc jockey in 1990. In 1994, he made the jump into journalism and has been reporting and delivering news on the radio ever since.