Lebanon officials to determine fate of city's scenic railroad company

A popular southwest Ohio tourist attraction with roots to the City of Lebanon may be forced to move, if city officials don’t renew the city's longstanding contract with a private company next year.

Lebanon officials will decide in April if the city should continue to support the Lebanon Mason Monroe (LM&M) Railroad’s operation of a tourist excursion train on the City-owned line. The rail line, which consists of five miles of track and five bridges, costs the city an average of $200,000 each year to maintain. 

“It’s a quarter of a million dollars that we have taken from taxpayers to subsidize one private company, and I’m not sure that’s the role of government,” said Wendy Monroe, a Lebanon city council member, who opposes the city’s contract with the railroad company.

That’s the conversation that’s divided Lebanon city council members for years. Should the city indirectly support a private company with taxpayer dollars?

Become a WCPO Insider to read about why council members are split on the issue, and learn how Lebanon businesses say they will be affected by the decision.