Business Development News

Project manager delivers construction update on $120M Cincinnati Riverfront Park

As the new $120 million Cincinnati Riverfront Park (CRP) is being built, the Cincinnati Park Board has been producing regular video updates highlighting the progress and taking us inside the development of the park. Each update when viewed together really tells the story, from start to finish, of one of the region’s most significant developments currently underway.

In this Spring 2011 update, project manager Dave Prather walks us through the ongoing construction site that will soon become the front door to the city. The video provides updates on the Jacob G. Schmidlapp Stage & Event Lawn, scheduled for a May 2011 opening, as well as the Walnut Street Steps & Fountain and the which are both slated to open in fall 2011. Prather also takes some time to address ongoing budget concerns for the new park.

“The capital budget is still not affected on the contracts underway and the phases of the project under construction,” Prather stated. He also says that the park board expects many of the Phase I features to still be open during the 2011 or 2012 seasons pending operational budgets.

On Thursday, May 26 the Women’s Committee for Cincinnati Riverfront Park will hold their fifth annual “Hats Off” luncheon at the new event lawn. This will be the organization’s first event held at the new park for which they have raised thousands of dollars to make reality.

Arts & Entertainment News

Vanishing Cincinnati exhibit opens at The Betts House this weekend

The Betts House, one of Cincinnati’s best kept secrets, has a new exhibit opening this weekend featuring over twenty drawings by the husband and wife team of Barbra and David Day. Vanishing Cincinnati includes drawings that depict Cincinnati’s urban landscape from the mid 1800’s to the  mid 1900’s. They feature both very familiar landmarks such as Findlay Market and the Roebling Suspension Bridge as well as landmarks that have been lost as time moved on including the Albee Theater and the Bus Depot.

The Days are design consultants that work in Pendelton, and are fourth and fifth generation Cincinnatians that have taken many projects on around the city. Some of their work around the city has included the architectural restoration of the historic Enquirer building on Vine Street, the Over-the-Rhine Gateway Monument at Liberty Street and Reading Road, and the mosaic in the market house at Findlay Market which was installed to celebrate its 150th year of operation.

In interviews, David Day has said that through the multiple generations of his family there has been a David Day shopping at Findlay Market since the end of the Civil War. Clearly he and his wife have a passion and deep understanding of Cincinnati which should come through loud and clear in their drawings.

The partnership with The Betts House is really a match made in heaven as The Betts House has deep historical connections as well. Not only is it the oldest residential building in the Cincinnati basin, it is also the oldest brick house in the state of Ohio.

Built in 1804 as a part of the Betts Family Farm (a 111 acre piece of land that makes up today’s West End neighborhood), the Betts House is currently used as a gallery hosting various art projects through the year, there were five generations of the Betts family that called the house on Clark Street home and it basically sits unchanged today, after some restoration of course. The house and the exhibits are privatley funded through grants and sponsorships with donations and memberships available for individuals as well.

Vanishing Cincinnati, made possible by a grant from ArtsWave, will open this Friday, February 11 with a reception starting at 5pm and run through April 23. The Betts House is otherwise open Tuesday through Thursday from 11am to 2pm, and on the second and fourth Saturday each month from 12pm to 5pm.  Admission for Vanishing Cincinnati is just $2.

Arts & Entertainment Business News

Macy’s Music Festival to compliment GMWA Convention, fill downtown Cincinnati with music

The Gospel Music Workshop of America (GMWA) will return to Cincinnati for the fourth time as it hosts its annual convention in late July 2010. The convention, which runs from July 24-30, will be complimented by the annual Macy’s Music Festival which takes place on July 30th and 31st at Paul Brown Stadium in downtown Cincinnati.

The GMWA is expected to draw more than 5,000 people from around the world to Cincinnati to celebrate gospel music, and is expected to have an economic impact of approximately $3 million according to the Cincinnati USA Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB).

“We are excited to once again bring the GMWA to Cincinnati USA,” stated James Robinson, board of directors member for the Gospel Music Workshop of America, in a prepared release to UrbanCincy. “From Cincinnati’s great music heritage to the wonderful partnership we’ve been able to develop with the Macy’s Music Festival, this region has so much to offer our members. We’re looking forward to GMWA’s best convention ever in July.”

The Macy’s Music Fesitival is expected to be a perfect compliment to the GMWA convention, and is anticipated to drive an economic impact of more than $25 million. This year’s R&B and soul music festival has already experienced a 50 percent surge in ticket sales over last year’s event, and will welcome the likes of Charlie Wilson, Teena Marie, Jaheim, Melanie Fiona and Cameo, Maze, Jill Scott, En Vogue, K’Jon and Raheem DeVaughn.

The coordination of the two major events was announced on Fountain Square this afternoon where local leaders and officials celebrated the impact the events will have on Cincinnati’s center city.

“Cincinnati continues to be a premier destination for important conventions and a hotbed for great cultural events and entertainment,” said Cincinnati Mayor Mark Mallory. “During this particular week in July, it all comes together in a special way. Our events and attractions have collaborated extremely well to create an unforgettable week of music and arts events for the thousands of convention and leisure visitors coming to the region.”

Arts & Entertainment News

Newport’s East Row Historic District Walking Tour Now Available on Smartphones

When city officials examined how to update Newport’s East Row Historic District tour they decided they wanted to do so in a way that was up to the standards of the 21st Century. As a result, Newport’s Historic Preservation Specialist Emily Jarzen and Main Street Coordinator Robert Yoder developed the walking tour to be compatible with smartphones and their users.

“A couple of years ago, smartphones with web browsers were a novelty,” Yoder said in a press release. “Now with prices continually dropping and more choices entering the marketplace we felt delivering the walking tours formatted for smartphones would an innovative and cost effective way to bring Newport’s rich architectural history for a broader audience.”

Once a popular area for wealthy business owners and merchants in the late 1800s, Newport’s historic East Row district boasts proud architectural examples of Italianate, American Four Square, and Queen Anne. Over time the neighborhood suffered from deterioration and neglect until restoration began in the 1980s creating the vibrant historic district known today.

The neighborhood has nearly 1,100 homes, all of which are listed on the prestigious National Register of Historic Place, and is Kentucky’s second largest historic district.

“Having the walking tours available on the web allows us to provide a richer experience and the ability to develop more walking tours of Newport in the future without needing to print a new brochure for every tour,” Jarzen explained.

Those interested in exploring Newport’s historic East Row district can do so by pointing their smartphone browser to

Arts & Entertainment News

Newport Gangster Tours return, complimentary Cincinnati tours announced

Last August UrbanCincy reported on the Newport Gangster Tours which take people on a walking tour through the heart of Newport sharing stories of the city’s infamous past of gambling, gangsters and girls. The idea sprang up as a way to raise funds for Global Service Learning Inc. and really took hold as the guys landed on an idea that many people gravitated towards. Last fall, the group ran tours every Saturday, and now with the weather changing for the better, they are back for a full season of fun.

Picked by Cincinnati Magazine as the “Best Historic Walking Tour of 2009”, the Newport Gangster Tour will be starting back up on May 1 with two tours each Saturday. The success has extended beyond the tour itself as Newport’s infamous past seems to be catching on as a theme. Late last year the Gangsters Dueling Piano Bar opened on 5th Street. While not officially affiliated with the tour, the new watering hole provides a perfect spot to wrap up the tour and have a few beverages while staying with the gangster theme.

Most of the tours will be on Saturdays, but the group decided to kick off the season in style with a “Gangsters & Grub” night on Thursday, April 29. Two separate tours will go out that night stopping at various restaurants around Newport for a progressive dinner. Group One will depart at 6pm and make stops at York Street Cafe, The Green Derby and Detroit Joe’s. Group Two will depart at 7:30pm and make stops at Pompilio’s, Gangster’s Piano Bar and Mokka. Tickets include the tour, dinner, non-alcoholic beverages, gratuity at each stop, cost $35 per person and can be purchased online. These tickets have nearly sold out already, but event organizers say that there will be a “Haunted Progressive Dinner” in October and possibly more sooner due to the extreme popularity.

Those looking to learn a little bit about the northern side of the river there will be a new tour called Queen City Underground which is scheduled to launch on May 31. The tours will meet on Saturday mornings in the Gateway Quarter and travel through historic Over-the-Rhine for a 90 minute walking tour. Stay tuned to UrbanCincy for more details on the Queen City Underground tours as they develop including a review.