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Nourish Yourself offers healthy, home-cooked meals to busy clients

After a 15-year career with P&G, Cherylanne Skolnicki became a certified health coach and started teaching people how to eat better. In January 2011, she started Nourish Yourself, a service that will cook dinner for you.
 
“The concept of a home-cooked meal resonates with busy families,” Skolnicki says. “Clients want to feed their families fresh, healthy, unprocessed, seasonal food, but struggle with the time and skills to cook those meals. We take the guesswork and challenge out of it.”
 
Nourish’s core team has three employees who focus on everything from customer care to menu development to marketing. A team of nine cooking partners go into clients’ homes and make the magic happen, Skolnicki says.
 
Clients are matched with a Nourish cooking partner in their area—they shop for and prepare meals in your kitchen. Meals are prepared all at once, and Nourish even cleans up afterward.
 
Nourish offers flexible pricing that starts at $159 per week plus groceries, and you choose the service date. Nourish’s winter menu is available on its website, with 50 entrée choices, many of which are freezable, plus fresh salad greens and homemade dressing.
 
The menu changes seasonally, but favorites include healthy makeovers of restaurant dishes, such as chicken enchiladas, Thai basil chicken and buffalo chicken meatballs. Skolnicki says both Nourish’s risotto with asparagus and peas and bison burger with Cabernet caramelized onions and white cheddar are also popular.
 
“Busy is the new reality for today’s families,” Skolnicki says. “We hope to make dining in the new normal for busy, health-conscious households. And cooking is one of the aspects of a healthy lifestyle that you can now outsource and still get all of the benefits.”
 
Today, Nourish serves the Greater Cincinnati area and northwest Arkansas (because of P&G employees), but Skolnicki hopes to expand to other markets in 2014.
 
By Caitlin Koenig
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Breadsmith raises funds for ArtWorks youth programs

On January 18, the new Breadsmith location in Hyde Park raised $1,600 to benefit ArtWorks. One hundred percent of the funds raised during the sneak preview and open house went to ArtWorks to benefit its summer youth development programs.
 
The event included a behind-the-scenes tour and free samples of Breadsmith’s award-winning breads, muffins and sweets. Customers got a look at the bakery’s European-style interior design, and the handmade, hearth-baked process of Breadsmith’s products.
 
ArtWorks’ summer program, Adopt-an-Apprentice, will directly support the 120 teen apprentices who will be hired this summer to work on 10 new community murals and other creative projects throughout the city. To date, ArtWorks has provided opportunities for more than 2,500 youth artists and 650 professional artists, and has graduated 175 creative entrepreneurs and artisans from SpringBoard, the organization's 9-week business development class.
 
Breadsmith currently has 30 independently owned retail bakeries across the country. It has received awards for its European-style breads, including top honors from Bon Appeit magazine, Modern Baking, the International Culinary Salon, the National Restaurant Association and “Best of” awards nationwide.
 
The new Cincinnati location, which is located at 3500 Michigan Ave., is open Tuesday-Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Saturday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
 
By Caitlin Koenig
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Keegan's Seafood to open second location on Hyde Park Square

Keegan’s Specialty Seafood Market is opening a second location on Hyde Park Square at the end of January. They work directly with fishermen, seafood auction houses and purveyors to bring the best seafood from around the world to Cincinnati.
 
Keegan’s also stocks a variety of specialty foods with an emphasis on local products, including salads, spreads and soups, which are prepared in their Anderson Township location’s kitchen. They will also continue to host private dinner parties in addition to their weekly Thirsty Thursday wine tastings in Anderson. During the wine tastings, customers can purchase a selection of four wines for $12, along with seafood, meat and cheese. Sometimes there are impromptu cooking demos.
 
The Hyde Park location will carry a variety of local products; Keegan’s popular housemade foods; and a selection of high-end grass-fed beef, lamb and pastured pork. The soups and sauces will be packaged in reusable Mason jars that customers can return for a rebate.
 
Although not a restaurant, the Hyde Park Keegan’s will feature a custom-made, German-style communal table for gathering and eating. Customers can order their food to-go or enjoy their meal at the table.
 
Keegan’s rotating breakfast and lunch menus will feature items prepared in-house, including New York-style bagels boiled and baked by Jean Paul’s Paradiso, housemade cream cheese and authentic lox from New York City. There will also be healthy made-to-order smoothies, fresh-pressed fruit and vegetable juices, and daily specials like steel-cut oatmeal, lobster quiche and shrimp and grits.
 
Owner Tom Keegan expects the new location to be an extension of the Sunday Hyde Park Farmers Market, as he says he has a good relationship with the vendors there.
 
Keegan’s is open daily from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Customers can sign up for e-mail alerts for more information about the new store opening and menu offerings at both locations.
 
By Caitlin Koenig
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Hyde Park's 2770 Observatory under construction

Greiwe Development Group has partnered with North American Properties and Sibcy Cline Realtors for the redevelopment of the intersection of Observatory and Shaw avenues in Hyde Park. Demolition is expected to be completed by mid-December.
 
Five properties will be cleared to make way for the new project. Developers purchased the buildings in 2011; an affiliate, NAP Oak Park LLC, purchased four parcels on Linshaw Court and Shaw Avenue in March 2011, as well as two parcels at 2762 and 2770 Observatory Ave. Since acquiring them, Greiwe has been renting the apartments, which were built in the 1930s, ‘40s and ‘50s.
 
The condos at 2770 Observatory will follow the established business model that Greiwe and NAP used in Mariemont with Emery Park, Nolan Park, Jordan Park and Phase IV.
 
Messer Construction will build the shell for the condos, and NAP will complete the interiors.
 
More information will be available in January as the project develops.
 
By Caitlin Koenig
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Neighborhood Asset Mapping tool focuses on neighborhoods' strengths

The Community Building Institute recently partnered with Xavier University and the United Way of Greater Cincinnati to develop and launch the Neighborhood Asset Mapping tool. It’s an online resource that allows all 52 Cincinnati neighborhoods to create a profile of community-based assets and resources in the area.
 
NAT was made available to the public this spring,and was in development for six to eight months before that. It’s free, and it promotes engagement and resource-sharing among residents. Residents can add assets to NAT, and they’re immediately available to other users.
 
“If you’re new to the community or thinking of moving to a neighborhood, you can find what’s going on there,” says Trina Jackson, program director of the Community Building Institute. “You can find community councils and neighborhood associations. Lots of people don’t know about grassroots organizations, and Nat allows residents to connect with one another through smaller organizations.”
 
The United Way helps support community development and community-based organizations, and NAT is the community engagement arm for Xavier, Jackson says. “We were focused on getting people connected with each other, and helping them see what’s out there.”
 
For example, in Evanston, many people know about the employment resource center. But if you’re not from the neighborhood, you don’t necessarily know it’s there, so you turn to the computer or your phone to find the things you need.
 
NAT focuses on a neighborhood’s strengths, and doesn’t include crime data or vacant property statistics. It's intened to be used by new and potential residents, entrepreneurs and developers as a tool to help find the best locations to live, work and play.
 
The Community Building Institute plans to host a series of “data entry parties” where people can get together and enter assets into NAT and learn new things about the neighborhood they live in. The first one is planned for Walnut Hills, but the date is to be determined.
 
By Caitlin Koenig
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Cumin undergoing changes with new chef

Cumin Eclectic Cuisine has seen a number of changes in the past few weeks, including a new chef and menu. Matthew Cranert, who has been the chef for four months at M Wood Fired Oven next door, plans to rely on simple ingredients and good cooking at Cumin.
 
Cranert was born and raised in northern California and spent his summers working in his grandfather’s restaurant in Hawaii. After graduating high school, he attended the Culinary Institute of America and worked in several restaurants in San Francisco. He then returned to Hawaii, and worked under chefs like Sam Choy and Roy Yamaguchi, who taught him to balance French and Asian flavors.
 
Cranert, his wife Stacey and their 7-year-old recently moved to Cincinnati for the opportunity to work in the food scene. Before M, Cranert worked in different restaurants around the city, including Senate. Now Cranert spends his nights running back and forth between the kitchen at M and the kitchen at Cumin.
 
“I want to bring more of what’s going on in other cities to Cincinnati,” he says. “I’ve lived all over and traveled a lot, and want to go head-to-head with New York City and Chicago.”
 
Growing up, Cranert was exposed to Latino and Asian flavors, but was influenced by his mother’s Southern cooking and Hawaiian food as well.
 
“I like to call upon all different flavors,” he says. “There’s a good meld between Asian, Southern and French cooking. People specialize in certain cuisines, but I think you need to learn to throw down with everything, and we’re going to be doing a bit of everything at Cumin.”
 
Cranert wants to make Cumin the best it can be. He has already flipped Cumin’s menu, and plans to change it weekly.

By Caitlin Koenig
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New online tool aims to keep Cincinnati residents engaged in their neighborhoods

On July 24, the City of Cincinnati adopted Nextdoor, a free, private social network for you, your neighbors and your community. The goal is to improve community engagement between the City and its residents, and foster neighbor-to-neighbor communications.
 
Each of Cincinnati’s 52 neighborhoods will have its own private Nextdoor neighborhood website, which is accessible only to residents of that neighborhood. City administrations and several city departments will also use Nextdoor to share important news, services, programs, free events and emergency notifications to residents, but they won’t be able to see who is registered to use the site or the conversations among residents.
 
Founded in 2010 in San Francisco, Nextdoor’s mission is to bring back a sense of community to the neighborhood. The site was tested in 175 neighborhoods across the country, and results showed that neighborhoods had some of the same issues, plus a variety of different issues.
 
“We all remember what our neighborhood experience was like as kids, when everyone knew each other, looked out for one another and stayed in the community longer," says Sarah Leary, co-founder of Nextdoor. “We want to invoke that nostalgia for neighborhoods.”
 
To date, Nextdoor is being used by about 17,000 neighborhoods across the country. In June, Nextdoor partnered with New York City and Mayor Bloomberg to communicate with the city’s 8.3 million residents. The site plans to roll out in other major cities like Cincinnati over the course of the next several months.
 
Nextdoor also recently released its iPhone app. “We’re really putting the lifeline of the neighborhood into the palm of the residents’ hands,” says Leary. “The common thread is an interest in using technology to make connections with neighbors. But it doesn’t stop there—once people have an easy way to communicate, they’re more likely to get together in the real world.”
 
You can sign up for Nextdoor on its website, or download the app in the App Store.
 
By Caitlin Koenig
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Local fitness instructors start workout group for moms

After Amber Fowler, 32, gave birth to twins in August, she started teaching group fitness classes at Body Boutique in Oakley. But she and Body Boutique’s owner, Candice Peters, 34, felt they weren’t servicing an important group in the community: moms and their young children.
 
Last week, Fowler and Peters started Fit Mommies, a fitness class for moms who need help getting back in shape after having a baby or who need help staying in shape, period. The class is unique in that it’s held in local parks, and is focused on moms working out with their children.
 
“We wanted a place for moms to bring their kids while they were working out,” Fowler says. “It’s like a playgroup atmosphere at the same time—moms don’t have to find a sitter, and their kids get to play with others in the fresh air.”
 
Besides a playgroup, Fit Mommies is also intent on building a community for moms. Fowler says it’s like a group therapy session and workout all in one. The women want their clients to be able to vent, get advice and get great ideas from others, all while working out.
 
“Fit Mommies is a place where moms can go to talk about things that they’re going through,” Fowler says. “It’s stressful for new moms; and it’s helpful to see other people going through the same things you are.”
 
Fowler and Peters also plan to offer Family Fit Days each month, where the whole family can come and work out for free. Fit Mommies will also host a Final Friday zoo workout—the workout is free, but you need a zoo pass.
 
The pair will also be sending out monthly newsletters and provide a resource list for clients that includes ideas from moms, family-friendly meal ideas and contact information for dentists, doctors, hairstylists, etc.
 
Fit Mommies offers power-walking and circuit training combination workouts for women who are at all different fitness levels. Classes run from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. Mondays and Wednesdays in Hyde Park’s Ault and Alms parks, and Tuesdays and Thursdays in Loveland’s Nesbit and Paxton Ramsey parks. Classes are $59 per month for unlimited sessions; class passes are available.
 
By Caitlin Koenig
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Bronte Bistro gets a makeover at Rookwood Commons

Coffee and a good book go hand-in-hand, but what about a good book and lunch? Joseph-Beth Booksellers at Rookwood Commons recently remodeled its full-service restaurant, Brontë Bistro, to better serve its customers.
 
Joseph-Beth opened at Rookwood Commons in 1986. At the time, the Bistro was a smaller component, and was added on to in the early 1990s. But there haven’t been any significant changes to the Bistro—until now.
 
The remodel began on Jan. 7, and was 99 percent complete as of Wednesday. The entire restaurant was gutted and remodeled, from the kitchen—where new equipment was put in, including a grill—to the front of the house—where there is now a coffee kiosk for customers on-the-go. Before renovations, the only entrance to the Bistro was through the bookstore; now, there’s a front entrance that is accessible from the parking lot.
 
“The remodel really adds more offerings to our customer base,” says Joseph-Beth Booksellers’ CEO Mark Wilson. “Our goal is to create an experience for our customers. We want them to find a place where they can broaden their perspective and deepen their thinking, and the bookstore and Bistro provide that now with a nicer ambiance.”
 
The Bistro’s menu isn’t going to change much, but there will be a few new entrees available for dinner, says John Gains, general manager of the Bistro. In April, the Bistro will roll out a new dinner menu, which will include about two-thirds of the Bistro’s favorite lunch offerings, plus the new dinner offerings.
 
A meeting space was also created at the far end of the Bistro, complete with presentation screen that has the ability to house 50 people for business meetings and community events. There’s also a smaller part of the large meeting room that seats 20.

"With the remodel, we wanted to make seating more comfortable," says Gains. "Before, the dining room was loud, but we put in booths and put a wall up between the restaurant and the kitchen so people would be able to enjoy a meal and have a conversation."
 
By Caitlin Koenig
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Hyde Park's only bridal boutique helps brides-to-be find dream dresses

The soft, flowing material of hundreds of wedding dresses line the walls of Hyde Park Bridal. Light pink furniture and mirrored tables add a distinctly feminine touch to the brightly lit boutique.
 
Amanda Topits, 26, opened Hyde Park Bridal on Sept. 8, and has since outfitted about 500 brides in the dresses of their dreams. Topits says she has always had a passion for fashion and knew she wanted to work in the bridal industry. She graduated from UC’s DAAP program in June with a major in fashion design, and has worked for Glamour and Elle magazines and bridal boutiques in California and Cincinnati.
 
Topits' bridal shop is the only bridal boutique to ever open in Hyde Park. “I knew as soon as I decided to open a bridal boutique that it would be in Hyde Park,” she says. “It’s the perfect place to be, and I wanted to be somewhere different than all other stores.”
 
Topits and her staff aim to offer brides the best possible experience while helping her find her dream dress. During a bride’s appointment, the entire shop is reserved for the bride and her guests. There’s a personalized parking spot for the bride, and champagne and cupcakes are on hand during the appointment.
 
“Boutiques can offer a better experience not only for the bride, but for the guests that she brings with her,” Topits says. “A boutique atmosphere gives you a sense of relief knowing that you and your gown are going to be taken great care of from the beginning to the end of the process.”
 
Hyde Park Bridal carries designers that are exclusive to Cincinnati and the Midwest, including Alvina Valenta, Badgley Mischka, Blue Willow by Anne Barge, Hayley Paige, Jim Hjelm Blush, Justina McCaffrey, Lillen Collection, Somsi Couture, Tara Keely by Lazaro and Winnie Couture Blush. The boutique also sells bridesmaid dresses and bridal accessories to complete brides’ fairytale visions.
 
By Caitlin Koenig
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Lexington's newest craft brewery brings new brews to Cincinnati

Although there won’t be a West Sixth Brewing taproom or beer garden in the Cincinnati area, beer lovers will still be able to buy the new brewery’s beer around town.
 
West Sixth opened in Lexington on April 1, and founders Ben Self, Brady Barlow, Joe Kuosman and Robin Sither have already seen the demand for their beer go through the roof. “We’ve had people drive down from the Cincinnati area just to buy our beer,” Self says.
 
The Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky area was the last part of Kentucky that West Sixth added to its distribution network—the taproom and beer garden are in Lexington, and West Sixth’s beer is available in Louisville, too.
 
The quartet has heard from lots of retailers, bars and restaurants that they’re excited to be getting West Sixth’s brews, Self says. West Sixth beer became available locally about two weeks ago. The brewery kicked off its expansion at Cincy Winter Beerfest, which featured the West Sixth IPA and Deliberation Amber.
 
West Sixth does things a bit differently than other breweries, Self says. It’s the only brewery in Kentucky to can its beers; and Self and his co-founders are not only committed to brewing great beer, but to giving back to the community. They give six percent of the brewery’s monthly profits to local charities and nonprofits to support environmental packaging efforts and rehabilitation projects in Lexington.
 
You can order West Sixth’s beer at Gordo’s Pub in Norwood and Bakersfield in Over-the-Rhine. You can also purchase it at:
By Caitlin Koenig
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City Hall launches app as a community-organizing tool

The City of Cincinnati has taken out the back-and-forth that can occur when residents try to reach them to report issues in their neighborhoods. At the Neighborhood Summit on Feb. 16, Vice Mayor Roxanne Qualls announced that the Cincinnati City Hall mobile app is available to the public.
 
With the app, residents can look up trash, recycling and street sweeping days, and set reminders; locate and report problems by address; bookmark locations for quick reporting; and track the status of reports. City Hall mobile also has GPS, so users can report issues, even without an address. There’s even a searchable map with property owner information, which enables residents to see if a property is occupied or vacant.
 
A few years ago, residents had to use the Yellow Pages to look up the number for city departments to file complaints, says Kevin Wright, executive director of Walnut Hills Redevelopment Foundation. The city then implemented a hotline for all complaints, but residents never knew the status of their reports.
 
“It’s amazing how comprehensive the app is,” Wright says. “If you see a broken window, pothole, graffiti, hanging gutter or anything else that is physically wrong with your neighborhood, street or community, you can report it in an instant. It’s a great tool for neighborhood redevelopment.”
 
The app can also be used as a community-organizing tool, Wright says. For example, if there is a property owner who historically hasn’t taken care of his or her property, social media can help organize a community and target the property to enforce codes until the property is fixed, which is what neighborhood councils and organizations like WHRF do.
 
“We’re really putting power in the hands of the citizens of the neighborhoods,” he says.
 
As with most tech programs, the app has room to grow, too. In the future, it could be linked with Facebook or Twitter, so your friends and followers will know who reported problems and where they are.
 
Cincinnati residents can download the app in the Apple App Store or download it through Google Play.
 
By Caitlin Koenig
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10 bars in 10 years: 4EG debuts Igby's this month

With 10 restaurants and bars launched in 10 years, and more set to open soon, Four Entertainment Group (4EG) continues its successful run with Igby’s downtown, at 122 E. Sixth Street in between Main and Walnut streets.

4EG founders Bob Deck, Dave Halpern, Dan Cronican and Ben Klopp have two spaces reserved in the new U Square development in Clifton, one of which will be the group’s third Keystone Grill (other locations are in Covington and Hyde Park) and an adjacent bar.

“I think Cincinnati’s just moving in the right direction,” says Deck. “I grew up here, so, just seeing the city change over the last, you know, six or seven years, with all the independent restaurants and all the independent owners, it’s pretty cool.”
Deck and his partners cemented their commitment to the city by opening a central business office in Over-the-Rhine, across the street from The Anchor-OTR restaurant and above Zula, a bistro and wine bar slated to open soon.

“We moved our offices down here because we’re invested in the city,” Deck says. “We didn’t have a central office, so we thought, ‘Hey what better place than to put our offices down in OTR, and support the whole area and movement.’”

Just across downtown, Igby’s represents 4EG’s collaboration with Core Resources, Beck Architecture and 3CDC. Think its name sounds mysterious? That’s the point.

“We called it Igby’s because we really wanted to come up with a name that didn’t really give you any idea of what the bar would be before you walked in,” Deck says
.
“We’re really designing this bar around good beer, and good wine and good craft, fresh cocktails,” Deck says.

Open Monday through Saturday, Igby’s weekends ramp up the energy by opening its second and third floor open up and featuring a DJ.

The space itself is huge—approximately 7,500 square feet. The Civil War era building posed challenges, but developers persevered through massive restoration work to create a wood-filled, modern and hyper-stylized space. Igby’s atrium features balconies around each level so that patrons can look up or down onto the other floors. Igby’s also has an outdoor patio with a lounge.

Cincinnati Chef Lauren Brown has a five-item menu, featuring oysters, sodabread and cheese and even seasonal salads, that is served from 4 to 10 pm. “It’s really meant to accompany people coming in and having some drinks,” Deck says. “It’s all very high-quality and fresh, and everything we can source locally, we try to source locally. It’s hard to source West Coast oysters locally, though.”

All of the juices for the extensive cocktail list are also fresh. Mixologist Brian Van Flandern from New York created the craft cocktail menu, which includes the bourbon-tinged Black Cherry Sling (with a kick of nutmeg), the Apple Toddler, which has Gerber Apple baby food in it, and locally themed drinks like RedsRum and Naked in Newport. Igby’s has 16 beers on tap, including craft beers, imported bottles and cans.

By Stephanie Kitchens

Italian-Argentine fusion moves to Hyde Park Square

Fans of Poco a Poco who were saddened by the restaurant’s recent closing may be comforted to learn that a new venture—Alfio’s Buon Cibo, which boasts veteran Cincy chefs and Italian-Argentine fusion—will soon occupy the vacated spot on Hyde Park Square.

Alfio’s is the product of 18 months of collaboration between owners Scott Lambert, Alfio Gulisano and Ken Arlinghaus. The trio aims for an affordable-yet-upscale dining experience to showcase the distinct culinary style that head chef Gulisano has been fine-tuning since growing up in an Italian section of Buenos Aires. 

With a résumé that includes stints at Bella Luna and VIEW Cucina, Gulisano brings his multi-ethnic expertise to his namesake endeavor, which he describes as, “probably 75 percent Italian and 25 percent Argentine.”

Alfio’s Buon Cibo, with a planned opening of Nov. 5, has a menu that features modern twists on classics: meat-and-cheese-stuffed empanadas, short-rib ravioli and traditional Argentine beef soup with potatoes, corn, tomatoes and onion.

A carefully selected yet deliberately modest wine list rounds out Alfio’s offerings, with Argentine, Italian and North American bottles ranging from $26-42. The owners plan to introduce a variety of events and promotions in the coming weeks, including half-price wine and specialty martini nights.

“There are a lot of places that are more for special occasions, like birthdays and promotions,” says Lambert. “But we want people to be able to come in here just because it’s a Tuesday or a Thursday. It’s affordable, and it’ll be a relaxed, fun atmosphere.”

By Hannah Purnell
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Big plans in the works for Cincinnati

As many areas of Cincinnati are being rejuvenated, including OTR and Washington Park, the City of Cincinnati approved a comprehensive approach to focus on development in the city as a whole, not just targeted neighborhoods. 

Last Friday, the City Planning Commission approved and adopted Plan Cincinnati, which was designed with input from residents. The Plan is an opportunity to strengthen what people love about the city, what works and what needs more attention, says Katherine Keough-Jurs, senior city planner and project manager.
 
The idea is to re-urbanize suburbanized Cincinnati; in a sense, to return to the strengths of the city's beginnings. Cincinnati was established just after the American Revolution in 1788 and grew into an industrial center in the 19th century. Many of those industries no longer exist in the city, which is part of why Cincinnati has become more suburbanized in the past 50 years. One of the long-term goals of the Plan is to bring new industries to Cincinnati.
 
With a new approach to revitalization, Cincinnati is blazing the trail for other cities. With a focus on building on existing strengths rather than tearing down structures and creating new ones, the Plan aims to capitalize on the city's “good bones” and good infrastructure.
 
Cinicinnatians had a huge role in developing the Plan. The first public meeting for the Plan was held in September 2009, when residents offered their insights into “what makes a great city?" and "what would make Cincinnati a great city?” A steering committee of 40 people representing businesses, nonprofits, community groups, local institutions, residents and City Council helped develop the Plan.

The Plan also got support from a grant from the Partnership for Sustainable Communities, which the City received in 2010. The grant allotted $2.4 million over three years to support the Land Development Code, which combines and simplifies Cincinnati's codes, reviews the development process, implements Form-based Codes and considers more creative uses for land. The grant allowed the city to start implementing some of the ideas voiced in public meetings.
 
Visionaries included youth, too. City staff worked with community centers and Cincinnati Public Schools to develop an art project for children. They were given clay pots and asked to paint their fears for the city on the inside and their dreams for the city on the outside. The children saw the big issue was quality of life, just like the adults did.
 
“It was an interesting way to get the kids involved and thinking about the future,” Keough-Jurs says.
 
The Plan aims to strengthen neighborhood centers—the neighborhoods’ business districts. It maps out areas that people need to get to on a daily basis and found that most are within about a half-mile of the business districts. But in some neighborhoods, residents can’t access their neighborhood centers. 

The accessibility of a neighborhood center is based on walkability—not just for pedestrians, but also about how structures address walking. For exampke, if a pedestrian can walk from one end of the neighborhood center to the other without breaking his or her pattern (the window shopping effect), the area is walkable; if he or she has been stopped by a parking lot or vacancies, it’s not walkable, Keough-Jurs says.
 
The neighborhood centers are classified in one of three ways in the Plan: maintain, evolve or transform. Some neighborhoods have goals to maintain levels of walkability, whereas others need to gradually change or evolve. Still others need to completely transform in order to strengthen their business districts.
 
“Cincinnati is at the heart of the region,” Keough-Jurs says. “If we strengthen Cincinnati, we strengthen a region.”

The next step for the Plan is to go before the Cincinnati City Council, specifically the Livable Communities Committee, which is chaired by Vice Mayor Roxanne Qualls.
 
By Caitlin Koenig
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