Monthly Throwdown

Well today is the last day of the month…and similarly the last day you can vote on what you think about downtown’s progress (or lack thereof). So what I (and I’m sure others) want to know is…why did you vote the way you did? Is it anything specific, pure emotional response, what?

Hopefully this can stir some good discussion, about different opinions, regarding downtown. A new poll will be coming for the month of September, and this discussion will most likely become a regular monthly event (I like the name “Monthly Throwdown” for some reason). Lets hear it and please…don’t hold back, just make sure it is constructive dialog. I don’t like to moderate comments (only deleted 1 comment ever) and I would like to keep it that way…so keep it civil.

Atlanta…What I’ve Learned

In case you may or may not know…I have been working down here in Atlanta for the past few months, and will be returning to Cincinnati very soon. I had a goal of not only getting lots of great job experience, but I also wanted to learn as much as I could about this often ballyhooed city. Here are some of the things I’ve learned and just some of my observations.

1. Atlanta is often considered to be THE spot for blacks to live. While I noticed a lot more middle-class blacks I also noticed that Atlanta still suffers from the same issues of racism that everywhere else does. There are people who resent the fact that Atlanta is such a destination spot for blacks…and since you have a good number of middle/upper-class blacks you see prejudice from those individuals towards the lower-class blacks. As I have said before…I think prejudices and segregation result more so from economics than race or anything else.

2. The reason Atlanta is such a great place for young people is that there are a TON of young people down here. The bars I’ve been to in Virginia Highlands and Midtown have been good, but not better than the bars of Mt. Adams in my opinion. Now, there are much better clubs and a lot more of them. But like I said, what makes it a great place for young people…is all the young people (chicken or egg).

Midtown Atlanta

3. It is hot, humid, muggy and buggy…not at all my style. Give me Cincinnati’s bipolar weather behavior any day over this shenanigans.

4. I’ve never heard the term ‘Yankee’ used more in my entire life. Actually to be honest…I don’t know that I ever heard it used in normal conversation in Cincinnati.

If you would like to see more visuals of my Atlanta Documentaries you can check them out over on UrbanOhio. Here is the list of places I have up so far:

*Please note that I use the term ‘blacks’ instead of African American because not everyone that is black is African American. Furthermore, the Census Bureau uses this classification for racial breakdowns in many cases.

Zinzinnati’s German heritage

Cincinnati has a one of the richest German histories in all of America. The German history dates back even to the inception of the city in 1788. German immigrants came to America in large numbers due to a variety of reasons from religious freedom to the availability of mechanized manufacturing of goods. As a result they were attracted to America’s heartland and formed what is now called the “German Triangle.” The triangle was formed by St. Louis, Milwaukee and Cincinnati…with Cincinnati being the largest of those cities and also the city containing the largest German influence. So, who cares?

Well what would Cincinnati be like today without the strong German influence of the past? We can attribute that strong influence to the current day butchers, bakeries and ice cream shops that still exist in nearly every neighborhood in the region. Over-the-Rhine was built by those German immigrants and thus the creation of the largest collection of Italianate architecture in America. Cincinnati’s built environment was greatly influenced by those same immigrants. They built a dense urban core with streetcars and all, not to mention they helped build what is considered to be America’s first major boomtown.

Oktoberfest Zinzinnati 2006: Photo from Cincy Images

It is also by no mistake that the largest Oktoberfest celebration exists in Cincinnati (outside of the Munich event). We also have the only Hofbrauhaus outside of Munich, Germany. In addition to that Cincinnati boasts the Fairview German Language School and one of the largest German-American book collections at the University of Cincinnati. In addition to that, roughly 50% of all people in the Cincinnati claim German as their ancestry…again, one of the largest percentages in the nation. A few other notable Cincinnati landmarks created or inspired by German immigrants are: Fountain Square, Roebling Suspension Bridge, Cincinnati Zoo, Spring Grove Cemetery, Music Hall, Findlay Market and the Cincinnati Park System.

Cincinnati’s German heritage has surely shaped the physical environment of our city, and has also shaped the social environment over the years as well. I just don’t think that Cincinnati would be the family-friendly place it is today without those unique Cincinnati features of being able to go to Humbert’s Meats or Servatii’s pastry shop. What do you think and how does Cincinnati’s heritage affect your day to day life? How would Cincinnati be different without this German influence…or is it even relevant today?

I have done a photo thread on Over-the-Rhine over at UrbanOhio, entitled Über-der-Rhein.

2Q State of Downtown Report

I don’t know how many of you get the quarterly emails from Downtown Cincinnati Inc. (DCI), but I do…and I am obsessed with the quarterly reports that they put out on the state of Downtown Cincinnati. No fluff…no shenanigans, just facts. If you would like to receive the quarterly emails as well just let them know. From here though I am going to highlight some of what I think are the most important numbers/pieces of information from the 2Q report:

  • The CBD/immediate periphery saw 44 condo sales and 9 single family home sales in the 2Q, selling for a median price of $279,032 and $228,000 respectively.
  • 10 new retail establishments opened (including bars/clubs) while 8 retail establishments closed…but in all honesty, a good chuck of the businesses that closed had other issues not related to downtown.
  • Downtown hotels continue to boast the best occupancy rates in the region (62.6%) and also saw the largest increase in occupied rooms over 2006 (+3.4%). Downtown hotels also boast the highest cost per room ($126.12) and accordingly the highest revenue per room($79.00) in the region.
  • Part 1 crimes (more serious crimes) are down 11.4% and Part 2 crimes (quality of life crimes) are down 16.1% over the numbers from the same time period for 2006.
  • DCI Ambassadors assisted 13,858 pedestrians, removed 23,740 lbs of trash, addressed 3,019 instances of panhandling, removed 513 graffiti tags and distributed 3,800 Go To Town Guides.

As for development…there is either proposed or under construction:

  • 4,877,160 sq. ft. of space
  • 2,641 residential units
  • 13,800 parking spaces
  • For a grand total of $1,450,300,000 in total investments.

Rehab Progress

Just want to keep everyone apprised on the changes I have made thus far. Some have been minor and barely noticeable, but hopefully will prove to make the site more navigable and user-friendly in the long run.

1. The first change I made was the background. I wanted to clean it up a bit, so that all those dots didn’t distract from the material on the page. I kept the matching color to keep the site tied together.

2. I wanted to keep the dots around somewhere…so I incorporated them into the Header Banner for the site. You still get the look, but without the overdone dots on the entire page.

3. That header is now linked to the main page for UrbanCincy (http://urbancincy.blogspot.com). This will come in handy if you link to the site via cinplify or somewhere else and are viewing a single post. Instead of retyping in the url or simply moving on…you can now just click the header and it will redirect to the main page with all of the recent posts.

4. I have increased the width of the content on the page. Previously I was annoyed by how narrow the content appeared on the page. So I tweaked with it and came up with a little wider format that I feel is more visually pleasing.

5. I’ve also added translation buttons for those international readers.

6. I have added a poll at the top of the page. This will stay around, but will change each month. The goal is to continue reader engagement on the site and get people thinking/discussing things about Cincinnati. The more discussion and exchange of ideas the better.

7. Finally…I removed the Google AdSense feature that used to be at the bottom of the page. It really added nothing to the page in terms of content, and just added more clutter in my opinion.

I am still working on another feature that will link to my photography collection, but that is still in the works and will take some time to get going the way I want it to be. If you have any more suggestions please let me know and comment on this post. Or if you would like, you can send me an email and I usually respond quite quickly.