The contest kicked off June 1 at 8am and will end at 11:59pm, June 30. First, second and third places will win $25,000, $10,000 and $5,000, respectively. The Over-the-Rhine neighborhood is one of the most architecturally significant in the country, with the largest collection of Italianate architecture, rivaling similar but much smaller areas in Charleston, South Carolina; the French Quarter in New Orleans, Savannah, Georgia, and even Greenwich Village in New York City.
Votes are counted by email registration – a quick 30 seconds registers an address and enables you to vote one time. The small contest has quickly become a grassroots effort to rally votes and energize the neighborhood. Vote now!
Sean Rhiney, Vice President of the Foundation, described the contest as “a significant opportunity not just for Over-the-Rhine, our oldest and most beloved urban neighborhood, but for the entire City of Cincinnati.” He sees the contest as a chance for the city to shine nationally.
“We’re already proving OTR can be a national model for how older cities can recognize their significant architectural and community assets and let them guide and enhance preservation and development,” Rhiney explained. “The National Trust recognized this when they placed us on their endangered list in 2006 – that wasn’t a death sentence, that was a national organization shining a light on the beauty of what we have, and the limitless potential in saving and celebrating it.”
$25,000 could do a lot of good – the Foundation will enhance several programs already in place. The Over-the-Rhine Legal Defense Fund provides money for lawyers as preservationists battle the city, corporations, and private owners who wish to demolish historic structures.
Another program is the Green Historic Study – demonstrating the marraige between sustainable building and historic property. “Of course, saving structures on the city’s most endangered list in OTR remains a top priority as well identifying proactive ways to deal with infill and greenspace,” said Rhiney.
On June 9, OTR was in 84th place. The effort to win began in earnest the next day and has catapulted OTR into 2nd place. The standings as of 5:00AM, June 20 are as follows (votes alone determine which organization wins the challenge but Facebook “likes” are another, unofficial barometer):
As one can see from the current standings, Over-the-Rhine is within striking distance of 1st place but cannot win without the support of all of us. This neighborhood is significant and this is a chance to show the country that we are all behind it.
Jenny is a local designer who has a passion for people and for Cincinnati. She began writing for UrbanCincy in September 2009, and served as the website's operation manager until March 2012. Jenny currently works for ArtsWave and manages the OTR Urban Kickball League.