Why do people live in cities? Why do people live in Cincinnati? Why not outside the city limits? These and many other questions, the new Cincinnati City Council needs to be asking themselves as they make decisions about where they want to spend the financial resources of the city.
Technology has permitted families to move away from the city to the suburbs, and yet because of roads and private transportation they can maintain their attachment to the city for all the benefits a city provides. There is no Mason, Montgomery or Indian Hill opera, symphony orchestra or art museum! For these and many others attractions, like the professional sports teams, people come back into the city.
Cincinnati's problem for the 21st century is to maintain and hopefully increase the population of the city. The movement of families back into the city limits would greatly enhance the city's ability to serve its citizens and those that come back into the city for the attractions the city has to offer.
For families to return to Cincinnati, the public schools of the City of Cincinnati need to be among the very best public schools in the country. Parents are not going to place their children in inferior public schools if there is an alternative waiting for them just beyond the city limits. This is the biggest reason, in my opinion, that Cincinnati has lost population over the last 50 years. Yes, the interstate has provided the ease for the movement of bread winners into and out of the city, but quality public school education is the lynchpin. You don't have to be an Einstein to know this fact is true.
Now there is a big debate over a new streetcar system. To look at the streetcar strictly in a dollars and cents proposition is very shortsighted, in my opinion. The ability for people to travel to the inner city without driving their car all the way into the heart of the city is a real draw, and to ignore that is a big mistake. The initial streetcar route is not the end product and that should be realized when considering the gains the city will receive from its full implementation.
This city, like many other cities in our country, must attract people back to its city limits in the 21st century. If Cincinnati can not attract people back into the city limits and grow in population, it will eventually whither and die like the big city to the north. The choice is in the hands of City Council, and I hope they will think before they make their decisions.