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City Hall vs Music Hall: Supporters, city square off downtown

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CINCINNATI - City Hall versus Music Hall. That's what seems to be happening over a lease agreement that is potentially worth big bucks. Cincinnati Mayor Mark Mallory has said no and yes to the proposal.

Music Hall supporters began arriving around noon on Monday, June 25 at city council chambers. They were there to voice their opinion about the mayor not presenting a lease agreement they say would benefit Music Hall.

"We're out here because of the future of Music Hall is in question," said the President of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Trey Devey. "We need the city's leadership to step forward and match the philanthropic community and invest in a facility that needs attention."

Mallory says he already committed to allocating $10 million to the $162 million revitalization project and cannot give or promise any more money. However, Devey said the city needs to help repair the building that was erected in 1876.

"$40 to $50 million in immediate capital needs: mechanical, electrical, plumbing. These systems are well beyond their useful life," said Devey.

While the city owns the building and the property, the mayor said maintenance is up to the lessee.

"Since the original agreement in 1876, there has always been a clause that says when the city of Cincinnati contracts with someone to manage music hall, they are required to maintain it, not the city of Cincinnati,"  Mallory said.

Mallory pointed to other determining factors for not agreeing to the proposed lease.  

"We're being asked to give the building away and also give up millions and millions of dollars and guarantee that they will get millions if they don't get money from other sources. I can't agree to that."

The mayor is referring to an additional $38 million the city would have to pay out if the "other sources," or donors, do not contribute that amount of money.

Copyright 2012 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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