VIDEO: How Community Support Made The Cincinnati Streetcar a Reality

A new video series from Give Back Cincinnati focuses on new transportation choices in Cincinnati. In the first two installments, Cincy Red Bike and new Metro programs to attract young professional riders were covered. In the third and final installment, the series covers the Cincinnati Streetcar system which is scheduled to open in September of this year.

The video covers how the community came together in a grassroots effort to make the project a reality, and why it’s important that Cincinnati has taken the first step from being a bus only city to a multi-modal city.

Hamilton County Pushes Forward With Latest Phase of The Banks

Hamilton County has awarded the latest bid package for a variety of trade contracts on the infrastructure work for Phase III of The Banks, which includes a 690-space addition to the Central Riverfront Garage and a one-block addition of other infrastructure south of Freedom Way.

All three contacts were valued at a combined $653,228; and all went to area companies. According to Phil Beck, project executive for The Banks development, Universal Contracting Corporation will perform site work, Geograph Industries will handle signage, and ESI will manage security of the site.

While not particularly large or sexy contracts, project officials say they are representative of the continued progress being made at the massive central riverfront mixed-use development.

“Awarding these contracts for work at The Banks signals that another aspect of the riverfront development is nearing completion,” said Chris Monzel (R), president of the Hamilton County Board of Commissioners. “This phase of the project sets the stage for more economic impact.”

The University of Cincinnati Economics Center has estimated that, once fully completed, the first phase of The Banks will positively impacting the local economy by some $276 million per year – a figure they expect to grow substantially once later phases are built out. General Electric’s new 338,000-square-foot Global Operations Center, alone, is projected to boost the region’s economy by roughly $1 billion annually.

While Hamilton County is overseeing the construction of the infrastructure work at Phase III, the City of Cincinnati and the private development team is making progress on the vertical build of GE’s new building, the 165-room AC Hotel, and 291 apartments and 19,000 square feet of retail within the first two phases of the project.

THP Limited and Burgess & Niple are in charge of the design of Phase III work, while Messer is handling the construction.

As of now, all the infrastructure work being managed by Hamilton County and the City of Cincinnati is $29.3 million within budget; and project officials say that they have achieved 30% Small Business Enterprises participation on all work, but just 17.3% on phase three activities thus far. Beck also says that phase three work is on schedule to be complete by September.

VIDEO: Cincy Red Bike Provides New Transportation Choice for the Urban Core

Although it launched less than two years ago, Red Bike has already become a very popular way to get around Cincinnati’s urban core. This new transportation option seems to be equally popular with recreational riders and those seeking to get around for practical purposes.

In a new video produced by Give Back Cincinnati — the second in a series on new transportation options in the city — the creation and growth of Red Bike is explored.

Be sure to check out the first video in the series, which focused on the tri*Metro program, and stay tuned to UrbanCincy for the third and final part of the series.

Paragon Salon & Day Spa’s Relocation Paves Way For Pogue’s Garage Demolition

Paragon Salon & Day Spa celebrated the opening of their new location along Fifth Street in the Carew Tower yesterday. While smaller in size than their previous location, the move serves as a potentially monumental moment for the center city since it paves the way for the demolition of the decaying Pogue’s Garage.

While the location of Pogue’s Garage is one of downtown’s most prominent, it is also one of the ugliest and most inhospitable blocks in the city. In 2013 a plan was crafted to fix that by tearing down the decrepit garage and replacing it with a new parking structure, street-level grocery store and 300-unit residential high-rise. Due to politics, finances and other logistics, that plan stalled and was eventually amended in December 2014.

Under that revised plan, Indianapolis-based developers Flaherty & Collins agreed to build an eight-story residential structure, with 208 units, while 3CDC would build a 925-space parking structure that would serve as the tower’s platform. The project would also include 25,000 square feet of street-level retail space.

In addition to serving the project’s needs and providing a platform for the tower to rise, the new parking structure would also provide parking capacity for the many historic high-rises along Fourth Street that currently lack any parking options at all. City officials point to public garages such as this as an opportunity to better utilize those other properties.

But before any of that can happen, the massive Pogue’s Garage must be demolished. That, in and of itself, would serve as a major benefit for downtown as it would remove one of its biggest eyesores and improve safety for people walking and biking along Fourth, Race and Elm Streets.

That demolition effort is not expected to be easy. Due to its immediate surroundings, the structure will not be able to be imploded, and will thus need to be deconstructed using traditional methods over a much longer period of time. Further complicating the matter was Paragon’s ongoing presence in the structure, which was obviously relieved yesterday.

There is no word yet on when demolition work will begin, but it now appears likely that work will finally advance on one of the center city’s highest profile projects. The coming weeks should reveal what its revised design will look like and when residents will be moving in.

VIDEO: ‘Mobile Cyclist’ Explores Cincinnati’s Growing Bike Culture

The growth of Cincinnati’s bike culture has attracted national and even international attention over recent months. While much of the attention has been paid to the growth in ridership and use of Red Bike, less focus has been on the more intangible growth of the various support industries and groups helping fuel the change.

In the third episode of Mobile Cyclist, a web-based TV series focused on bicycling culture across the United States, host Anthony Barr explores the Queen City. In the nearly 13-minute video Barr takes viewers to a collection of bicycle friendly destinations that help shed some light on the region’s bike scene.

He first stops at Velocity Bike & Bean in Florence, where he tries some coffee and talks to the owners. Then he visits the Cincinnati Bike Center at Smale Riverfront Park to discuss how it operates, and how its bike rental services differ from those offered by Red Bike. Following that, Barr stops to speak with the ever-present Frank Henson from Queen City Bike, before making his way to Element Cycles in Hyde Park to check out their art work and bamboo bikes.

The last stop on his tour takes him to Fifty West Brewing where he learns about the Little Miami Scenic Trail and Oasis Trail, along with their bicycle friendly brew called Radler.