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Tristate celebrates 4th of July with variety of events, music and fireworks


Looking for a way to celebrate America's birthday? Check out the variety of events around town to honor the 4th of July.
 
Thursday, July 2
American Salute
6 p.m., Burnet Woods, Clifton
Music from the Cincinnati Contemporary Jazz Orchestra's Little Big Band and the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra’s string quartet will be followed by fireworks at 9 p.m.

Northside Rock n’ Roll Carnival
Music, food and craft beer fills Northside’s Hoffner Park all weekend. The event itself is free, and you can purchase drinks and food from a variety of vendors.
 
Friday, July 3
Cincinnati Reds Fireworks Friday
Game at 7:10 p.m., Great American Ball Park, Downtown
Fireworks will follow the game, with a live soundtrack provided by the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra. If you don’t go to the game, you can still catch the fireworks from points along the river, including Smale Riverfront Park and Newport on the Levee.
 
Fireworks at Kings Island
10 p.m.
The park itself is open until midnight. Fireworks show comes with price of admission.
 
LaRosa’s Balloon Glow at Coney Island
10 p.m.
Head over to Coney Island for a day of nostalgic rides as well as LaRosa’s 15th Annual Balloon Glow, which begins at 8 p.m.; fireworks will follow the Balloon Glow. Tickets are $10.95 and up for Coney Island rides and the Sunlite Pool, but the Balloon Glow and Fireworks are free with the price of parking.
 
Independence Day Celebration on Fountain Square
9:45 p.m., Fountain Square, Downtown
After the MidPoint Indie Summer Concert Series, the fireworks show will begin from the roof of Macy’s downtown store.
 
Saturday, July 4
4th of July Jam
3-10 p.m., Washington Park, Over-the-Rhine
Enjoy live music from The Almighty Get Down, The Infinity Project and Ray’s Music Exchange as well as a simulcast of The Grateful Dead’s “Fare Thee Well” concert at Chicago’s Soldier Field on a large LED screen. The free event will end with fireworks and will also include food, craft beer, carnival games and face painting.
 
Ault Park Independence Day Fireworks
11 a.m., Ault Park, Mt. Lookout
A children’s parade will begin the day of festivities, food and music. A fireworks show will end the day at 10 p.m.  
 
Cincinnati Reds Independence Day Fireworks Show
Game at 7:15 p.m., Great American Ball Park, Downtown
Fireworks to follow the game.
 
Covington Neighborhood Bicentennial Independence Day Parade
10:30 a.m.
Stake out a spot along the Peaselburg neighborhood parade route (Euclid to 16th Street and up Russell) and join the rest of Northern Kentucky for an after party at St. Augustine Church.
 
Fireworks at Kings Island
10 p.m.
The park itself is open until midnight. Fireworks show comes with price of admission.
 
Northside Fourth of July Parade
12 noon
Northside businesses, organizations and residents show off their creative sides with a variety of floats. The parade route is down Hamilton Avenue, beginning at the corner of Ashtree and Hamilton and ending at Hoffner Park.
 
Red, White and Blue Ash
4-10:30 p.m., Blue Ash Summit Park
Lots of free entertainment, including The Doobie Brothers at 8:15 p.m. and fireworks at 10 p.m.
 
Red, White, and Boom!
8 p.m., Riverbend Music Center
The Cincinnati Pops will play patriotic favorites, accompanied by the May Festival Chorus and the USO Show Troupe. Tickets are $15-35; ticketholders can visit Coney Island for free on July 4 (excluding Sunlite Pool).
 

Local musicians opening Northside Sound Factory this weekend


The papered-up windows of 4172 Hamilton Ave. don’t look like much now, but on June 13 Northside Sound Factory will open its doors at the storefront. Local musicians Clinton Vearil and Josh Pilot, formerly of The KillTones, wanted to bring affordable instruments and accessories and vintage pieces to the neighborhood.
 
“The area is growing rapidly, and we felt it’s something the town could really use,” Pilot says. “There are lots of musicians in Northside, so we knew it was something the community could use and appreciate.”
 
The space used to be a restaurant but has been remodeled to fit a musician’s every need. One of the two restrooms was soundproofed and will be a testing station for instruments, where customers can set up an amp or drum set to try it out.
 
Vearil and Pilot will sell new and used musical instruments and accessories as well as unique and interesting pieces the two have been collecting. In the next few weeks, Northside Sound Factory will also begin offering a consignment service for instruments. Besides instruments, the shop will also offer an instrument repair service and lessons.
 
Shortly after opening, the shop will offer a delivery service for bands and musicians who are ready to start their set and either forgot something or are in need of a replacement string, pick or strap.
 
“With Northside Tavern right across the street, a bartender will be able to call our delivery number and we’ll bring over whatever the bands need,” Pilot says. “It won’t be a huge thing for the shop, but we really want to help musicians as well as help the surrounding music scene.”  
 
Pilot says they also plan to donate instruments to a number of schools and other organizations that help kids get into music. The guys already have a number of guitars to donate and are looking for other instruments as well.
 
“Music has been such a great thing in our lives, and we want any kid who wants to learn to have that ability,” he says.
 
Northside Sound Factory will be open 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday through Saturday, but the shop will open at noon on June 13. The grand opening event will include music from The Good Morning Heartaches, Betsy Ross and The All Seeing Eyes featuring Johnny Walker. The bands will play in the alley next to the shop, and Lyric food truck will be set up on Hamilton Avenue. 
 

Local and organic burger/milkshake bar coming to Northside


Tickle Pickle burgers-and-milkshake café and catering company will open in Northside later this summer. Owner Sarah Cole originally thought about moving her other catering company, Sarelli’s Catering, from Newport to Northside, but when she purchased the building at 4176 Hamilton Ave. she decided to start a new business instead.
 
“I grew up in Clifton but moved to Northern Kentucky when my kids started school,” Cole says. “As soon as I saw a chance to buy something in Northside and be in Cincinnati again, I jumped at the chance. We come to Clifton all the time and want my kids to know the beautiful diversity (in the city of Cincinnati) that Northern Kentucky doesn’t always have.”
 
Tickle Pickle will be a fast-casual restaurant offering organic milkshakes that cater to dietary restrictions, including gluten-free and vegan. And Cole is trying to keep her food as local as possible.
 
“At Sarelli’s we’re really into organic, non-GMO foods and being conscious about what we put into our bodies,” she says. “We try to buy local, but a lot of the time companies can’t provide enough to support Sarelli’s. But Tickle Pickle will have a smaller menu, and it will be much easier to do that here.”
 
Organic milk will come from Snowville Creamery, chicken from Gerber Honest Hatchery Chicken Farms, no-preservative pretzel buns from Hot Pretzel in Northern Kentucky and vegan and whole-wheat buns from Sixteen Bricks Bread. Cole is working with Tiny Footprint Distribution, which is Green BEAN Delivery’s wholesale side, and Findlay Market as well as Northside Meat.
 
“I want to give Northside and the surrounding neighborhoods my money, keeping the food as local as possible and as organic as possible,” she says.
 
The 2,000-square-foot space was already outfitted with a kitchen, but Cole is renovating the building’s dining area and storefront. She’s working with the American Sign Museum to create an awesome Tickle Pickle sign and plans to use reclaimed wood and recyclable items when remodeling.
 
The catering side of Tickle Pickle will open June 8. The restaurant is able to cater business lunches and meetings for groups of 15 or more.
 
Tickle Pickle is also hiring, so if you’re interested send your resume to sarah@ticklepicklenorthside.com.
 

Homebrewer expands palette to kombucha brewing, to move in with Urban Artifact


Algis Aukstuolis began experimenting with fermentation about 10 years ago when he first started homebrewing. A few years ago, his wife purchased a bottle of kombucha at Whole Foods, and Aukstuolis decided he could find a way to make the probiotic-heavy fermented tea less tart and sell it as Skinny Piggy Kombucha.
 
“Kombucha fermentation is very similar to beer,” he says. “With beer you need to extract the sugar from grain, but kombucha is more like making sweet tea and focusing on steeping it correctly.”
 
Skinny Piggy currently operates out of the Northern Kentucky Incubator Kitchen in Covington, and Aukstuolis brews about once per month but bottles more frequently. He has plans to expand the business and move into the same building as Urban Artifact in Northside.
 
“I met with a number of breweries, but Urban Artifact seemed like a good fit because they specialize in wild yeast and tart beers,” Aukstuolis says.
 
Skinny Piggy's Kickstarter campaign ends on Monday, June 1, and Aukstuolis has already reached his $10,000 goal. Funds from the Kickstarter will go toward a larger brewing system and bottling equipment.
 
Skinny Piggy is an original tea blend that makes the drink less tart. In a few weeks, Aukstuolis will have his first flavored kombucha: lavender. Once he’s expanded production, he plans to add more flavors.
 
“I think Cincinnati deserves its own kombucha,” Aukstuolis says. “There are a number of styles coming from California, but Cincinnati has its own specific taste. I want to cater to that taste as well as help encourage healthy drinking lifestyles.”
 
Bottles of Skinny Piggy are currently available at The Gruff in Covington, Happy Belly on Vine and the Hyde Park Remke. It’s also available on draft at Urban Artifact. Once the Kickstarter campaign ends, he and a distributor will begin working to get the drink in Whole Foods stores.
 

Bike Month promotes bicycle safety, healthy lifestyles


The tristate area is increasingly becoming more bike-friendly, with new bicycle lanes in many neighborhoods and Red Bike locations throughout the city, with expansion coming soon. May is Bike Month, a time to reconsider healthy lifestyles and the use of bicycles as transportation.
 
Bike Month is organized by Queen City Bike, but a number of local organizations and businesses offer bike-related deals, lead bike rides and host events throughout the month. Things kicked off May 1 with a poster show at Coffee Emporium that runs through May 26; and on May 2, a ride to various pubs in the basin area.

If you missed these events, though, don’t worry. There are plenty more coming up — 21 below, to be exact.

Bicycle Happy Hour at The Brew House, 1047 E. McMillan, Walnut Hills: Ride your bike to The Brew House and, if you’re wearing a helmet, get a free appetizer during happy hour. May 4, 11 and 18 at 5-8 p.m.

Urban Basin Bicycle Club, meet at Fountain Square: Join the club for a slow, interesting themed ride for all skill levels that begins and ends in the basin. Every Tuesday at 6:30 p.m.

Hump Day Hill Challenge, meet at greenspace by the old SCPA building in Pendleton/Over-the-Rhine: A difficult ride up and down Cincinnati’s hills. To check out the routes, use the Hill Challenge App in the Google Play Store. Every Wednesday at 7 p.m.

Thursday Night Slow & Steady Ride, meet at Hoffner Park, Northside: These rides are open to anything with wheels and take about 1.5 to 2 hours. Every Thursday at 7:30 p.m.

Eastside to Findlay Market Ride, meet at Coffee Emporium, 3316 Erie Ave., Hyde Park. Every Saturday at 8:30 a.m.

Findlay Market Bikegarten, Findlay Market, OTR: Learn more about the bike-friendly changes that are coming to the city, pick up free bike maps and lots more. Every Saturday at 11 a.m.-5 p.m.

Ride for Reading, meet at Coffee Emporium Warehouse, 12th and Walnut Streets, OTR: Join in the bike parade, then distribute books to students at Chase Elementary in Northside. May 8 at 10 a.m.

The Color Ride, meet at Washington Park: Grab the kids and dress in a single color from head-to-toe and take a short ride through OTR and downtown. May 9 at 4 p.m.

Element Cycles City Ride, meet at Element Cycles, 2838 Observatory Ave., Hyde Park: This casual ride will end at the Growler House in East Walnut Hills. May 9 at 4 p.m.

Bike Happy Hour, Fries Café, 3247 Jefferson Ave., Clifton. May 12 at 5-7 p.m.

Trivia Fundraiser for Mobo, The Brew House, 1047 E. McMillan, Walnut Hills. May 13 at 7:30 p.m.

Breakfast on the Bridge, Purple People Bridge on the Newport side: Pastries and coffee will be available, and there will also be a station set up with a mechanic to help you fix up your bike. May 15 at 7-9 a.m.

Bike to Work Day: All rides are free on Metro, Transit Authority of Northern Kentucky (TANK) and Clermont Transportation Connection for those with bicycles. All day May 15.

Bike to Work Day Celebration, MainStrasse, Covington: Rides will be led to Fountain Square and back. May 15 at 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.

Bike 2 Baseball: Ride to Great American Ball Park for the sixth annual event. A free bike valet will be available, hosted by Red Bike. Tickets must be bought in advance. May 17 at 1 p.m.

Second Annual Preservation Ride, meet at Rhinegeist, 1910 Elm St., OTR: The Cincinnati Preservation Collective is celebrating Bike Month by hosting a slow riding tour of some of the urban basin’s historic sites. May 17 at noon.

Trivia Fundraiser for Queen City Bike, The Brew House, 1047 E. McMillan, Walnut Hills. May 20 at 7:30 p.m.

The Pink Flamingo Bike Ride: Ride from Covington to Bellevue Beach for this family-friendly event that touts Northern Kentucky pride. May 30 at 10 a.m.

Queen City Bike+Dine: Email info@parkandvine.com for more information about the 10th annual event on June 6.
 
There will also be three Blinkie Light Distributions throughout the month:

• Kenton County Health Center, 2022 Madison Ave., Covington, May 10 at 3 p.m.
• Campbell County Health Center, 1098 Monmouth St., Newport, May 17 at 3 p.m.
• Boone County Health Center, 7505 Burlington Pike, Florence, May 24 at 3 p.m.
 

Mayday space in Northside becoming restaurant and live music venue


The Northside staple Mayday, which was a craft beer and whiskey bar, closed at the end of last year. But musicians Stuart MacKenzie and Jon Weiner — both with backgrounds at Molly Wellmann's bars — purchased the building and plan to turn it into a restaurant and live music venue.
 
The 4,000-square-foot space will reopen in June under the name Northside Yacht Club. Although it’s not near water, the building had flood waters up to the third floor during the flood of 1937, when it was the Northside Electric Company (see photo above).
 
MacKenzie, who has played in the bands like the Cincinnati Royals, DAAP Girls and Lions Rampant, and Weiner, who has been in the Cincinnati Royals and Dopamines, want to host a steady schedule of live music. The pair plans to bring in national, regional and local acts throughout the week, and most shows won’t have a cover charge.
 
Chef Ryan Whitcomb, most recently of Nuvo and Local 127, is working on a menu that features smoked wings with housemade sauces and poutine as well as a smoked vegetarian option.
 
The bar menu will feature cocktails made with rum and bourbon as well as local craft beer. There are also plans for an outdoor bar, which would be added to the building’s existing outdoor patio.
 

Northside organization working to provide more single-family housing


Cincinnati Northside Community Urban Redevelopment Corporation recently changed its name to Northsiders Engaged in Sustainable Transformation to more accurately reflect the organization’s goal to develop single-family homes in the neighborhood. To date, CNCURC/NEST has created 17 single-family houses, including new ones at 4118 Lakeman St. and 1726 Hanfield St.
 
“Research indicates that homeowners have greater investment in their property and are more likely to maintain and stay in their homes,” says Stefanie Sunderland, executive director of CNCURC/NEST. “Homeowners will potentially become more involved in the community and support the local economy by patronizing local businesses.”
 
A healthy neighborhood should provide housing for all, including rental units, so CNCURC/NEST focuses on single-family houses that were built by members of the community but time, disinvestment and abandonment have left them in disrepair. Many of the houses CNCURC/NEST has reclaimed were slated for demolition.
 
CNCURC/NEST acquired the house at 4118 Lakeman, which was built in 1873, from Bill Dorward and his sister, Deborah. Meanwhile, 1726 Hanfield, which was built in 1921, is the first building CNCURC/NEST has acquired through the Port of Greater Cincinnati.
 
Construction began on both houses last spring and will be completed in the next few weeks. The house on Hanfield has already been sold, and the one on Lakeman is still for sale.
 
Both houses were redeveloped creatively and for use of space, with an emphasis on preservation and restoration. CNCURC/NEST also focuses on duplicating historic architecture and features as well as energy efficiency.
 
The 1,243-square-foot house on Lakeman now has a new front porch, woodwork, windows and doors as well as matching gables on the second-story addition. The 1,071-square-foot Hanfield house has a visitable first floor and was designed to be an accessible unit.
 
Over the next month or so, CNCURC/NEST will break ground on two new-construction houses at 4135-37 Witler St. and 1720-22 Hanfield as part of the Blockwatch 45223 Homeownership Project. Three sources of funding are required to complete the project, including NSP funding through the City of Cincinnati, a revolving construction loan from the Cincinnati Development Fund and general funds from CNCURC/NEST.
 
Sunderland says they’re also waiting to hear if their NOFA application for gap financing for the development of five single-family houses for the Fergus Street Homeownership Project has been approved. This project includes the rehab of four single-family houses, three of which are currently owned by and land-banked with the Port Authority, as well as one new construction on a lot owned by CNCURC/NEST. 
 

Revisiting recently opened and still-to-come restaurants


Over the past several months, the Soapbox Development News section has covered a large number of restaurants and breweries planning to open all over the region. We thought it was time to provide updates on these new businesses as well as when you can hope to visit those that aren’t quite ready to launch yet. (Links go to our original Development News coverage of each business.)
 
Arcade Legacy
3929 Spring Grove Ave., Northside
The bar and vintage arcade concept plans to open its doors in April.
 
Braxton Brewing
27 W. Seventh St., Covington
The grand opening is at 5 p.m. March 27. There will be four beers on tap, including their flagship Storm Golden Cream Ale and Juniper Hoppy Wheat Ale. Neltner Small Batch will reveal their largest indoor installation, two local bands will be playing, and guests will be able to tour the brewery.
 
Brezel
6 W. 14th St., OTR
The Columbus-based pretzel shop opened its second location in September, offering everything from your traditional salted pretzel to more unique, seasonal creations. Hours: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesday & Wednesday, 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday.
 
E+O Kitchen
3520 Edwards Road, Hyde Park
The Asian restaurant, opening in the former Dancing Wasabi space, doesn’t have a grand opening timeline.
 
The Gruff
129 E. Second St., Covington
The grocer, deli and brick oven pizza restaurant opened on Jan. 14. Hours: 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m. to midnight Friday & Saturday.
 
Krueger’s Tavern
1211 Vine St., OTR
The owners of the Bakersfield and The Eagle opened the American-style restaurant, which is known for its house-made sausages and 100 cans of beer, in December. Hours: 4 p.m.-midnight Monday-Thursday, 4 p.m.-2 a.m. Friday & Saturday.
 
Macaron Bar
1206 Main St., OTR
The city's only bakery dedicated to macarons opened Dec. 12. Hours: 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday, 9 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday.
 
O Pie O
DeSales Corner, Walnut Hills
The sweet and savory pie shop is shooting to open in May. Until then, their pies are available each weekend at Findlay Market.
 
Off the Vine
1218 Vine St., OTR
The cold-pressed juice bar opened Nov. 17, offering to-go juices and take-home cleanses. Hours: 7 a.m.-6 p.m. weekdays, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. weekends.
 
Revolution Rotisserie & Bar
1106 Race St., OTR
Featuring free range chicken and all-American sides, the restaurant opened March 2. Hours: 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday & Saturday.
 
Tap & Screw Brewery
5060 Crookshank Road, Westwood
The Westside restaurant changed its name, revamped its menu and added a brewery, reopening Dec. 19. Hours: 11 a.m.-2:30 a.m. Monday-Sunday.
 
Tillie’s Lounge
4042 Hamilton Ave., Northside
The turn-of-the-century bar’s grand opening is set for March 19. Hours: 4 p.m.-2 a.m. Thursday-Sunday.
 
World Cup
4023 Hamilton Ave., Northside
Owner Alex Kuhns is working with new partners on his sports-themed international restaurant. He plans to open by the end of the year, but an exact date remains up in the air.
 
Zinomobile
The food truck that will serve dishes from the former Cincinnati favorite Zino’s is still finalizing locations where it will serve and could possibly open a brick-and-mortar space, too.
 

Picnic and Pantry opening second location in OTR, focusing on catering in Northside


Picnic and Pantry, a Northside staple for the past five years, will no longer serve as the neighborhood’s specialty grocery store. Instead, the location on Hamilton Avenue will become the headquarters for owner Lisa Kagen’s catering business, while a new retail location will open in three weeks at 1400 Republic St. in Over-the-Rhine.
 
“We love cooking food, but trying to keep up with the retail part is distracting us from our catering goals and the lunch crowd we plan to serve downtown,” Kagen says.

Over-the-Rhine Community Housing (OTRCH) and restaurant owner Thunderdome approached Kagen about bringing a storefront to OTR, specifically to the building being rehabbing at 14th and Republic across from Salazar Restaurant & Bar. The 770-square-foot OTR store will be menu-driven, with a variety of grocery essentials and pet food as well as specialty, artisan, local, organic and conventional foods.

All of the packaged sandwiches, salads and snacks that Northside customers have grown to know and love will still be available at Melt Cafe.
 
As for the Northside storefront, it will become Picnic and Pantry’s office and expanded commissary to accommodate the growth of the catering side of the business. It will be a place to meet clients and showcase pictures, platters and linens, Kagen says.
 
Picnic and Pantry’s handcrafted counter and two registers will be moved to Melt to better serve customers during the checkout process.
 
“We love Northside, and that’s why we’re centering our business operations here,” Kagen says. “We’re committed to supporting the historic business district.”

Kagen is working with students from Miami University, OTRCH and Acanthus Group, the general contractor, to get the store up and running by mid-March.
 

Former homebrewers bringing something unique to Northside


An old white barn sitting on several acres next to Spring Grove Cemetery will soon be home to Cincinnati’s newest alcohol-based venture, Northside Distilling Co. The distillery will start on a small scale but will eventually distribute to Cincinnati bars and restaurants, starting with Northside first of course.
 
Co-founders Chris Leonidas and Josh Koch have dabbled in homebrewing and winemaking for several years, eventually deciding they wanted a new challenge. After researching distilling, they learned there are various outdated Prohibition-era laws that make distilling a tricky business.
 
“It’s 100 percent illegal to make any spirit without the appropriate federal and state permits, which are hard to navigate in the first place,” Leonidas says. “Within a few weeks of receiving my still, I got a letter stating the laws of distilling and the penalties should I break any of these laws. It really lit the fire to keep moving and to get open.”
 
Once open, Northside Distilling will start with a small retail sales area — taprooms and bars are illegal for distilleries. But Leonidas says there are a few Ohio distilleries that are fighting that law and trying to create a system where distilleries can operate a bar or taproom much like a brewery.
 
Retail sales will be during certain hours, and each customer will be allowed to purchase 1.5 liters per day. Customers can sample, but only four quarter-ounce pours per visit.
 
If the law changes, Leonidas plans to build a taproom setup where customers can learn about distilling and taste a variety of spirits.
 
Northside Distill will have two stills — a one-pot still for corn whiskey (moonshine) and rum and a secondary column still to clean vodka to a very smooth, sippable flavor. Its current setup is able to produce about 250 cases per year. Once in production stage, Leonidas’ business plan is to triple capacity within six months, close to 1,000 cases per year.
 
He also plans to bottle some of the corn whiskey in 20-liter barrels to age for a bourbon that will be released at a later date and will also create flavored moonshine for seasonal and mixing drinks.
 
“We hope to bring some attention to Northside,” Leonidas says. “If one person drives down Hamilton Avenue to pick up a bottle of our moonshine, he might come back for dinner or a drink that night. And our way, we helped the neighborhood.”
 
He also hopes that Northside Distilling becomes a place that hosts community events and becomes part of the culture that is Northside.
 
“The history, culture and vibe of the neighborhood have always put it on the cutting edge,” Leonidas says. “Hundreds of years ago, Northside was on the edge of the eastern part of the country and was a place that people set out from to head to the great unknown, the Wild West. There was a mingling of frontiersmen, Native Americans, adventurers and explorers. To this day, Northside keeps a certain attitude about it and has an incredible blend of industrial buildings, residential homes, wild creative art and lively flair.”
 
Stay tuned to Northside Distilling’s Facebook page for news about opening dates and products.
 

Northside chosen to participate in national EPA workshop


The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently announced that 22 communities across the country, including Northside, will participate in its Buildings Blocks for Sustainable Communities program. The program gives communities technical assistance in order to pursue development strategies that support small growth and sustainability goals as well as encourage local economic development.
 
EPA staff and national experts will conduct one- to two-day workshops from April to June focusing on the specific sustainability tool that each community requested: Bikeshare Planning, Supporting Equitable Development, Infill Development for Distressed Cities, Sustainable Strategies for Small Cities and Rural Areas, Flood Resilience for Riverine and Coastal Communities.
 
Northside’s workshop will focus on Supporting Equitable Development.
 
“Northside faces a common problem that many communities across the country are facing,” says the U.S. EPA's announcement. “When communities grow and develop using smart growth principles, as we’ve seen Northside successfully do in recent years, existing community members can sometimes be priced out of the local housing market.”
 
The neighborhood is looking to evade this challenge by focusing on development of affordable housing for a range of income levels. The EPA hopes to take the lessons learned in Cincinnati and apply them to other communities that are going through the same types of development challenges.
 
The workshops are held in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Department of Transportation through the Partnership for Sustainable Communities. The organizations work together to coordinate investments in housing, transportation and environmental protection.
 
Since 2011, the Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities program has provided assistance to 130 communities in 40 states. As a result, community groups, local governments and tribal governments have increased their capacity to successfully implement smart growth and sustainable approaches that protect the environment, improve public health, create jobs, expand economic opportunity, prepare for effects of climate change and improve the overall quality of life.
 

New single-family housing project coming together in Northside


Over the past 11 years, there have been several larger single-family developments in Northside — Northwind by Potterhill and Rockford Woods and Virginia Place, which were both CitiRamas by In-Line Development. Large land parcels further from the business district became available and attractive for larger for-profit developers, and about 100 new homes have been built and sold.
 
Infill, nearer to the central business district, is harder to come by. The lots are smaller and disconnected and can take years to assemble into potentially larger projects.
 
Five new single-family houses will soon be developed at the northwest corner of Fergus and Lingo streets in Northside. The Cincinnati Northside Community Urban Redevelopment Corporation (CNCURC) received the first parcel of land for the project in 2006 and purchased the remaining three parcels by 2013.
 
Northside was chosen for the development because of its character and to add diversity to its new housing stock. Most of Northside’s residential projects in recent years have been apartments.
 
“Much of Northside’s success is due to the diversity, creativity, compassion and involvement of residents and business owners,” says Stefanie Sunderland, executive director of CNCURC. “As an organization, CNCURC strives to provide different housing options for the growing eclectic population interested in relocating to the community or wishing to establish more permanent roots in the neighborhood.”
 
D-HAS Architecture Planning & Design partnered with Great Traditions Land & Development Company for the project, which is part of D-HAS’s City Series. The project is being funded through the presale of the homes.
 
The two- and three-bedroom houses will have detached garages and will range in size from 1,600 to 2,000 square feet. Prices will start in the mid-$200,000 range. Potential homebuyers will be able to choose from 12 different exterior options and various floor plans. There will also be an option for a third floor and accessory dwelling unit that would expand the house to 3,000 square feet and raise the price to about $350,000.
 
A groundbreaking date hasn’t been set yet, but it's expected that construction on each house will take about six months to complete.
 

Northside church renovations to yield brewery, theater, event space

Urban Artifact, formerly Grayscale Cincinnati, recently purchased the old St. Patrick's church in Northside, which was most recently home to Queen City Cookies. Plans are to renovate the church property into a brewery and event space by spring. Urban Artifact was also working on a project at the old Jackson Brewery in Over-the-Rhine, and their plans for Northside contain some of the same program elements.
 
“The church has the same reused aesthetic as the Jackson Brewery,” says Urban Artifact’s Scott Hand, who is serving as construction manager and architect for the project. “It’s a great architectural space, and preservation is big for us.”
 
The Northside property includes the church and nearby gymnasium and rectory, totaling over 20,000 square feet. The church will have a 200-seat theater upstairs in the sanctuary and a taproom, bar and smaller event space on the ground level. The gym will be home to the actual brewery, and the rectory may be the site of a future restaurant.
 
Bret Kollmann-Baker and Scott Hunter are focused on the brewery part of the project, along with Hand and his business partner, Dominic Marino. Kollmann-Baker says the taproom will have 8-12 of its own beers on tap as well as a full liquor license. The plan is to offer something for everyone and to create unique beer cocktails to introduce people to the beer.
 
There are also plans to distribute the beer to Northside bars.
 
Urban Artifact is bringing other Northside businesses into the space. New Edgecliff Theatre will perform upstairs. Groundwork Cincinnati, which is in charge of the Mill Creek bike path, is renting part of the rectory for office space and its educational outreach program.
 
Hand also hopes to create a courtyard biergarten, something that will help bring the project to the forefront of the open container entertainment district that's in the works for Northside. Urban Artifact purchased the St. Patrick property as one parcel, which means that it requires one liquor license.
 
“This facility is perfect,” Hand says. “There’s lots of density and historic elements in the neighborhood, and it would benefit from a larger venue like this. There’s nowhere that can hold 700 people here. We also get to be Northside’s brewery (and) to be the brand for local pride.”
 

Ruth's Parkside Cafe owners hoping to host American Can reunion


Built in 1921, the American Can building in Northside was home to the American Can Company, which manufactured can-making machines. After the company closed in 1963, it reopened as the Cleveland Machine Company, which used the first floor for machining purposes.
 
The building then sat vacant for almost 30 years, until it was redeveloped into 110 apartments, Ruth’s Parkside Café and Fisher Design.
 
Since Ruth’s opened in October 2013, customers have come in whose parents, relatives or themselves worked at American Can. In its heyday, the company employed about 2,500 people. Restaurant owners Mary Kroner and David Tape want to keep those memories alive by hosting an American Can reunion of sorts.
 
For now, Kroner is gathering a list of people who are interested in the idea. She’s working with a professor at the University of Cincinnati who specializes in local history, and she wants to hear what others remember about their time at American Can.
 
Details haven’t been ironed out yet, but Kroner plans to have the reunion on a Sunday (when Ruth’s isn’t open) and pass around photos, memorabilia and stories about American Can as well as learn a little more about its history.
 
If you’re interested in participating in or learning more about the American Can reunion, please email Mary Kroner at info@ruthscafe.com.
 

Northside's Barrio Tequileria changes owners, updates menu


Northside’s Barrio Tequileria opened in spring 2013 but closed after just a few months in business. Chuck Eberle and Thomas Placke recently reopened the restaurant and have updated the menu to include Tex-Mex favorites.
 
“Over the last 12 years, we’ve formed a bond over our love of food and drink and the different cultures they’re associated with,” Placke says. He and Eberle own 3TC Entertainment Group, Barrio’s parent company.
 
The pair revamped the menu to feature Tex-Mex dishes that combine items from the past owner’s menu with Texas-style favorites. Menu highlights include a build-your-own Barrio — a half-pound burger, grilled chicken breast or black bean veggie burger with a variety of toppings — as well as pulled pork and smoked beef brisket sandwiches, with the option of adding the smoked meat to tacos, nachos, quesadillas and burritos.
 
Barrio still has a wide variety of tequila and specialty cocktails, but Eberle and Placke also added local and national craft beers in cans, bottles and drafts, which will rotate often. 
 
Barrio will also feature local artists and bands on the weekends as well as weekly open mic jazz night on Tuesday, trivia on Wednesday and karaoke on Thursday. Brunch will soon be served on Saturday and Sunday, featuring bloody Mary/Maria, margarita, mimosa and belini specials, plus an add-your-own-garnish bar. The patio is dog-friendly and has giant Jenga, Connect 4 and cornhole. There’s also a roast your own s’mores dessert menu and dog-bone shaped treat menu for the pups.
 
“The excitement in Northside’s South Block area is growing tremendously, with the grand reopening of Barrio along with The Littlefield and soon-to-be Arcade Legacy and Tajine sandwich shop,” Placke says of the neighborhood's stretch of Spring Grove Avenue. “We hope to continue to add to this excitement.”
 
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