National Underground Railroad Freedom Center
In April 2003, The Port issued its first financing in the amount of $50 million in tax-exempt bonds to the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center (Freedom Center) for the construction of the museum. The Port was able to serve as a conduit issuer of these bonds because, under Ohio state law, port authorities are among the few entities permitted to issue tax-exempt bonds for cultural facilities.
The $110 million Freedom Center is organized into three five-story pavilions totaling 158,000 square feet with green space south of the facility connecting the Freedom Center to the Central Riverfront Park. Opened in August 2004 and employing more than 100 people, the Freedom Center welcomed more than 355,000 visitors in its first eighteen months of operation.
Opened in August 2004, the Freedom Center welcomes more than 100,000 visitors a year.
The Center is a convener of dialog on freedom and human rights and serves to inspire modern abolition through connecting the lessons of the Underground Railroad with today’s freedom fighters.