Two years ago when Hamilton County Commissioner Stephanie Dumas voted against
putting $1.3 million in earnest money toward purchasing the Millennium Hotel for redevelopment purposes, the Democrat faced criticism for standing in the way of progress.
The deal got done anyway in a 2-1 vote.
In an interview with The Enquirer's "That's So Cincinnati" podcast, Dumas said she is focused on what's next for bringing a critical convention hotel to the Downtown.
"It's done, and we need to move forward right now
," Dumas said. "And we're still ... deciding about the expansion of Duke Energy (Convention Center) right now. The focus is just getting this headquarter hotel up. A lot of this is for the long haul."
She said for the new hotel – for which there are no current plans – she prefers a site to the south of the convention center, instead of the site of where Millennium Hotel was located, which it the east of the convention center.
There are talks, but no solid plans, to make the current site park space that will look nice as it all gets sorted out. The green space could be used for convention-related outdoor events.
As Hamilton County's first Black commissioner and Ohio's first Black female county commissioner, Dumas is a trial blazer. She came to job after being a Forest Park councilwoman and then mayor, and then as city manager of Lincoln Heights.
That experience makes her responsive to county residents.
"What I love most about it is people have identified that I am a commissioner that will listen, that your concerns are my concerns," said Dumas, a trained social worker. "And you may not get the answers that you want from me, but you know that I'm going to give you an honest answer."
So is she running again? Cincinnati Vice Mayor Christopher Smitherman has announced a run for her seat
as an independent candidate and gathering signatures. But Dumas has been mum about whether she'll run for re-election.
She's still not ready to say exactly what her future holds.
"I'm sure you will be hearing soon one way or the other what I plan on doing because you never know what opportunity may come up for me," Dumas said.