Month in Review – September 2010

During the month of September, UrbanCincy’s top stories covered two new businesses downtown, the formation of the Eight Street Design District, the loss of a popular Cincinnati blog, and the creation of UrbanCincy’s own Urban Kickball League.

Our top 5 most popular articles for the month of September were:

  1. The Yoga Bar to serve up strong sense of community downtown
    Rachel Roberts was tired of traveling, and as a well-known and beloved yoga teacher in the Cincinnati area, she was splitting her time between several different studios, none of which were near her home in downtown Cincinnati. As a result, Cincinnati’s newest yoga studio called The Yoga Bar was born.
  2. Join the first-ever OTR Urban Kickball League now!
    The league is open to all age levels and anyone interested in participating. The fall 2010 season will be the first-ever and will feature a variety of special treats and benefits for those participating outside of the kickball fun.
  3. With another Cincinnati blog possibly ending, how do we stop the bleeding?
    On Tuesday, the Cincinnati blogosphere learned that it would possibly lose one of its most well-respected and popular blogs. Kevin LeMaster, Editor and Publisher of Building Cincinnati, informed his readership that, “the Building Cincinnati experiment is likely to end,” and that he was almost certain it would end on that same day.
  4. 18 entities join to form 8th Street Design District, kick off month-long concert series
    It has long been a work in progress, but the 8th Street corridor through northeast downtown Cincinnati has evolved into a vibrant district. A district made up of trendy loft living inside former warehouses; diverse establishments like the Blue Wisp Jazz Club, Silverglades, and University Galleries; and an ever-growing collection of design-related businesses.
  5. Chef Josh Campbell to open first micro-grocery in downtown Cincinnati
    Already owner of successful ventures World Food Bar, a gourmet prepared food stand at Findlay Market, and Mayberry, a mid-range restaurant on Vine Street, Campbell (pictured, right) is expanding his food empire to include the Central Business District’s first grocery – a micro-market located at 7th and Main.

Cincinnati arts organization gathers community to paint entire city street

This past Sunday, September 26, over 1,000 people from all over Cincinnati converged roughly five blocks of Over-the-Rhine to participate in the newly branded ArtsWave’s Paint the Street event.

Students from the Art Academy designed and chalked out over 50 ten-foot squares into a mural that amassed 12th Street from Central Parkway to Main Street. Brightly colored abstract shapes illustrated some of Cincinnati’s pride and joy, with text saying “City of Choice” and “World’s Biggest Small Town.”

Being there in person, the highlight of the event was the enthusiasm and joy painting a mural on the street brought to participants and observers alike. The street was shut down to vehicle traffic for the day, and crowds of Cincinnatians walked slowly in the street, taking in the colors and working together.

Old and young, black and white, Cincinnati was brought together in one of its oldest and most historically significant neighborhoods – Over-the-Rhine – to show, as one citizen put it, that “12th street is a testament…OTR has a heart and is alive.”

Cincinnati wins economic development award for $24M Corryville Crossings project

The City of Cincinnati has received an Excellence in Economic Development Award from the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) for a $24 million mixed-use development uptown. The award specifically recognized the City for its public-private partnership on the project.

“We recognize the City of Cincinnati for providing successful strategies to promote new paradigms in economic development in this period of global recovery,” said William Best, IEDC chair. “Cincinnati is showing that they are at the forefront of the economic development profession and are using innovative and effective practices that can be replicated in other communities.”

Officials learned of the IEDC award on Tuesday at the council’s annual conference being held in Columbus, OH. IEDC officials say that the awards program is geared to, “recognize the world’s best economic development programs and partnerships, marketing materials, and the year’s most influential leaders.”

The Corryville Crossings development has been under construction for more than a year. Once completed the development is expected to create 200 permanent jobs, include a 132-room hotel, retail space, a 219-space public parking garage, and spark additional investment in the Short Vine business district.

The City has partnered with the Uptown Consortium and local developers to help move the project from the drawing boards to reality. Project officials also say that creative financing tools like Tax Increment Financing (TIF) and New Market Tax Credits were necessary to advance the development.

A Starbucks coffee shop and IHOP restaurant were originally planned for the retail portions of the development before changes in the market that drove both national chains away from the project.  The new Hampton Inn and public parking garage portions of the development are expected to be completed later this fall.

Ibrahim Abdul-Matin to headline fourth annual OTRCH fundraiser

On Thursday, October 14, Over-the-Rhine Community Housing (OTRCH) will host its yearly fundraiser at Music Hall. The fourth annual event is meant to raise money for the non-profit while also engaging interested members of the public with the concepts, projects, and programs that OTRCH oversees.

OTRCH began as the Over-the-Rhine Housing Network in 1988 as an affordable housing organization. The organization then merged with ReSTOC, another affordable housing organization, in 2006 to help improve the organization’s ability to secure and sustain affordable housing and community-based development in the historic neighborhood.

The non-profit organization now manages a variety of programs including housing, resident engagement, advocacy and education, and even physical development projects throughout Over-the-Rhine.

This year’s fundraiser, entitled Celebrating Our Beloved Community, will honor Elder High School for their work in the community, and feature Ibrahim Abdul-Matin as the keynote speaker. Abdul-Matin is the author of the acclaimed book Green Deen: What Islam Teaches About Protecting the Planet.

OTRCH executive director Mary Burke says that the event will also include a song and dance performance by Elementz, light food catered by What’s for Dinner, and a cash bar.

Admission for Celebrating Our Beloved Community costs $50, with all proceeds going to benefit the affordable housing efforts of OTRCH. Those interested can make reservations online, or by contacting Mary Burke or Sarah Allen at mburke@otrch.org and stallan@otrch.org respectively.

The event will take place inside Music Hall’s Ballroom (map) from 5:30pm to 8:30pm on Thursday, October 14. Those attending the fundraiser can access on- and off-street parking nearby, free off-street bicycle parking, or utilize Metro bus service (plan your trip).

Two area transit professionals recognized for young industry leadership

Two area transit professionals, Colin Groth and Ben Capelle, were named to Mass Transit Magazine’s 40 Under 40 list. The list recognizes industry professionals who have made “significant contributions” to the public transit industry.

According to magazine editors, those honored were nominated by their peers and then judged on their job commitment, industry involvement and contribution, professional achievement, and innovation in their particular field.

Colin Groth, Government Relations Director for Metro, was honored for his work with local, state, and federal officials since 2005. The publication notes that most recently Groth has been instrumental in securing more than $17 million in American Recovery & Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funding for the transit agency. Groth was also named to the Business Courier’s 2009 Forty Under 40 class, selected to participate in the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber’s 2010 C-Change program, and is currently active in eight different Cincinnati organizations outside of Metro.

“He represents the kind of dynamic, engaged and forward-thinking individuals that will help solidify public transit’s role in our nation’s future,” said Mass Transit Magazine editor Fred Jandt.

Ben Capelle, director of Clermont Transportation Connection (CTC), was also honored for his achievements. In particular, Mass Transit Magazine recognized Capelle’s leadership that has grown transit agency on a shoestring budget during his tenure.

“Capelle has helped grow the system from 15 employees to 32 and from providing 35,000 trips annually with a budget of $1.1 million to providing 95,000 trips annually with an increased budget of $3 million. CTC will also begin construction of a new operations center in 2013,” Jandt stated.

Combined, Metro and CTC provide roughly 19.1 million trips annually throughout the Cincinnati region.