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Cincinnati Mayor Mark Mallory delivers the State of the City Address on Thursday, April 21, 2011. Jay Warren
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Mayor Mallory gives State of the City address

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CINCINNATI - In his State of the City speech, the mayor suggested those who use the phrase, "in these economic times," use it as an excuse to "pull back."

"Throughout our history, there have been people, there have been organizations and there have been leaders who have pushed forward. They have made gains; even in tough economic times," said Mallory.

The mayor listed projects like the Banks and the soon-to-be-built Horseshoe Casino as successes for the city that, in part, show his positive outlook on the future.

"What brings people to a city is when there is clearly something going on, when the city is on the move. People want to be in cities where things are happening," said Mallory.

The mayor touted the CiTiRAMA green housing development as a project that was successful even in the face of a housing crisis.

"Nothing great is done without difficulty," said the mayor as he turned to talk about the streetcar project.

"If it were easy to do, it would have been done by now," said Mallory.

He vowed to pursue the project even though the state has withdrawn funding.

"The reality is opposition never built anything. Only optimism builds. I am sure there is opposition in the other 80 cities that are pursuing streetcars. I will tell you what happens after a city builds a streetcar, there is not any opposition. It goes away, because people start fighting to get the streetcar in their neighborhoods," said Mallory.

"And that will happen here in Cincinnati. Just like we built the Banks, we will build the streetcar," said Mallory.

City councilmember Amy Murray led the GOP response after the speech.

"We have made progress in some areas, but we have a long way to go," said Murray.

She quickly challenged the mayor's desire to continue the streetcar project.

"True change must come from the top. We have had a structurally unbalanced budget for years, we are chasing a streetcar we can't afford and the mayor is still arguing about census numbers when we just need to move forward," said Murray.

Murray suggested the city should consider merging services with the county in an effort to save money.

"Our neighbor cities Columbus, Indianapolis and Louisville, who are also our competitors  for new jobs, have combined services with their counties and benefited from shared services and managed competition," said Murray.

Murray also championed the city's Port Authority as a vehicle to economic prosperity.

"Cincinnati must solidify its commitment to the Port Authority, one of the leading economic drivers of our region.  We need a strong and revitalized airport to attract companies to our area, ad we must get rid of barriers to business," said Murray.

The mayor closed the roughly 45 minute speech with a Kennedy-like question to the audience.

"So, what are you willing to work on?  What are you committed to?  I challenge all of you to find something you are passionate about to make Cincinnati greater  Future generations of Cincinnati will thank you, and I thank you for being here tonight," concluded Mallory.

Copyright Copyright 2011 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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