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Transform Cincinnati announces six finalists, puts them in front of potential funders


Transform Cincinnati, an initiative that connects people with great ideas to those who have the money to make the ideas happen, held its first call for submissions in June. Each submission had to have a measurable, long-lasting impact on Cincinnati, be sustainable, be large enough in scale to be truly transformational and be supported by a group or organization that could see it through.

The program was developed by businessman and arts patron Richard Rosenthal, who realized that since the early 1800s Cincinnati has benefited from the engagement of community “investors,” or people who gave of themselves and their resources to elevate the region.

“While we are fortunate to continue to have many generous individuals, there is a need and an opportunity to enhance the ranks of these significant, individual funders of regional initiatives and to facilitate the development of ideas that inspire, engage and involve new generations of funders and investors,” Rosenthal says.
 
Six proposals were recently announced as Transform Cincinnati finalists from a pool of 150 entries, and those six groups now will pitch their ideas to investors. On Sept. 30, Transform Cincinnati hosts a Marketplace event that will be much like the TV show Shark Tank, where the six finalists will present to a group of investors who could make those ideas become reality.
 
The finalists are:

A Down Payment on the Preschool Promise
4C for Children wants to create a foundation for the educational future of children through Cincinnati Preschool Promise. The program, still in development, aims to ensure that every child in the area has access to two years of high-quality, affordable preschool regardless of income.
 
Activate Ziegler Park
3CDC plans to expand Ziegler Park on Sycamore Street in Over-the-Rhine. The existing park would be renovated into five acres of community space to include a neighborhood green space, a new deep-water swimming pool, a multi-use recreational field and a playground.
 
Cincinnati Neighborhood Equity Fund for Walnut Hills
The Cincinnati Development Fund plans to create a fund to accelerate jobs and redevelopment in urban communities beyond Over-the-Rhine, beginning in Walnut Hills. CDF would support the idea by advising on financing, investing its own money and leveraging other funding sources to complement the initial investment.
 
End Youth Homelessness in Cincinnati by 2020
Lighthouse Youth Services plans to develop a multipurpose center in Walnut Hills that would provide housing and services for youth, including an emergency homeless youth shelter and new units of permanent supportive housing as well as a range of services that are meant to get youth off the streets. The ultimate goal is to eradicate youth homelessness in Cincinnati.
 
Precision Cancer Care
UC Health and its cancer institute want to revolutionize cancer outcomes in Cincinnati by leveraging breakthrough discoveries in genomics, drug discovery and biological model systems. UC’s goal is to rank the city among national leaders in new and personalized cancer-care advances, then spread those discoveries across the world.
 
Venture Building Studio and OPA! Labs
Cintrifuse, in partnership with the Health Collaborative, plans to establish a consumer healthcare venture studio that will be dedicated to attracting the best health innovators and talent to the area in order to incubate, nurture and commercialize ideas.

“We hope that together we can think bigger and do more than we have before,” Rosenthal says. “Transform Cincinnati is working hard to identify and facilitate connections between organizations with big ideas and the investors and funders with between $1 million and $10 million who can help make them happen. We’ve heard from organizations that the process has already helped them to seek new collaborations and to become more focused on how to bring their ideas to life. We’ve heard from investors who never before thought of themselves as having the wherewithal to invest in bigger ideas and now recognize they can do so.

“It’s both gratifying and motivating to recognize that Transform Cincinnati has unlocked a new way to help the region become one of the best places in the country to live, learn, work and play.”

Transform Cincinnati has drawn on the experience and involvement of leading community organizations such as ArtsWave, the Greater Cincinnati Foundation, Haile/U.S. Bank Foundation, Interact for Health, the Jewish Federation and United Way.
 
If you’re interested in investing in one of these six ideas, register here before Sept. 28.
 

Business grants aim to help OTR entrepreneurs grow customer base


Four Over-The-Rhine businesses recently received funds through the Business Innovation Challenge Grant and the Business First Grant, both of which aim to help local businesses grow and help strengthen OTR’s economy.
 
“The Business Innovation Challenge supports existing OTR businesses by helping them flourish, expand and ultimately grow new products and services,” says Emilie Johnson, president of the Over-the-Rhine Chamber, which helps facilitate the grants. “The mission of the Business First Grant is to help benefit the city by strengthening the local economy, increase business and employment opportunities and animate the sidewalks of OTR.”
 
The Business Innovation Challenge Grant launched in April 2014 to focus on existing businesses. Segway Cincinnati/The Garage OTR, MOTR Pub and Cincy Shirts each received $1,000 from Fifth Third Bank to develop their new business strategies over the next six to eight months.
 
Segway Cincinnati/The Garage OTR plans to create a new guided Segway tour of OTR and downtown to feature public art and art institutions. MOTR Pub is interested in creating and hosting an online OTR interactive parking map. And Cincy Shirts hopes to create a wall of stadium seats for their in-store T-shirt display as well as develop a line of stadium seat furniture.
 
Artichoke, a new kitchenware store planning to open at 1824 Elm St., received a $10,000 Business First Grant. The grant offers unique businesses that are new to OTR the opportunity to open, expand or grow their services in the neighborhood.
 
Artichoke will be housed in a renovated, historic brick Italianate building near Findlay Market. The store will offer cookware and have a demo kitchen to showcase recipes featuring produce from market vendors.
 

Over-the-Rhine continues to boom with new businesses


A number of new businesses have opened in Over-the-Rhine over the past few months, especially in the Findlay Market area north of Liberty Street as residential developments continue to crop up. We’ve rounded up a few of the neighborhood's newest and provide the low-down on what you’ll find.
 

Dirt: A Modern Market at Findlay Market, 131 W. Elder St.
Hours: 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Tuesday-Friday, 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday

Dirt brings a year-round marketplace to Cincinnati that will help connect consumers with local producers. The full-time retail store sells only locally produced fruits, vegetables, meats, cheeses and dairy products along with a number of other goods.
 
Dirt also functions as a consignment store where growers and producers can rent space on a weekly or monthly basis. They keep 70 to 80 percent of their gross sales, construct individual displays and set their own prices. It gives producers the opportunity to continue selling their goods even when they aren’t physically at Findlay Market.
 

OTR Candy Bar, 1735 Elm St.
Hours: 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesday-Friday, 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday

Co-owner Mike Petzelf’s brother purchased the building on Elm Street, and then the family came up with the idea for a candy store. After renovations and build-out, they opened the doors in April.  
 
OTR Candy Bar offers a large variety of bulk candies, which are locally and nationally sourced, as well as more than 50 soda flavors. Customers can mix their own 4-pack to take home or enjoy one while they’re strolling through Findlay Market.

 
3 Sweet Girls Cakery, 29 E. 12th St., Over-the-Rhine
Hours: 10:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m. Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday

This Kenwood-based bakery opened its second location in OTR just in time for the All Star Game. The shop offers a variety of items to satisfy your sweet tooth, including eight cupcake flavors and 15 cake pop flavors; their specialty is a Flying Pig Cake Pop.

3 Sweet Girls also sells decorated cookies, chocolate pretzels and Oreos, cake push-ups and cupcakes in a jar, plus special treats for your furry friend.
 
 
Goods on Main, 1300 Main St., Over-the-Rhine
Hours: Thursday-Sunday, subject to change

Goods is a retail collective with an ever-revolving, themed inventory. It opened in June and currently has everything you would need for an adventure, whether that be outdoors or in the kitchen.   

The store also has an event space, which is used for special occasions in OTR like Second Sundays on Main and Final Friday. There are plans to expand Goods into that event space to become a much larger store.
 

Several local food truck owners taking next step and opening storefronts


Food trucks have become the meal-on-the-go option for Cincinnatians, whether it’s a business lunch or community event. After establishing themselves and their menu offerings, a number of those food truck owners are now expanding their businesses and opening brick-and-mortar locations.
 
Share Cheesebar
6105 Ridge Road, Pleasant Ridge
Emily Frank, owner of C’est Cheese food truck, is planning to open a cheese retail shop this fall in Pleasant Ridge’s Sixty99 development next to Nine Giant Brewing. The shop will be part retail and part cheese bar, with a large selection of products and a rotating variety of cheeses, wine, beer and fresh bread.
 
Frank started C’est Cheese in 2011, when there were about 10 food trucks on the streets of Cincinnati. Today there are about 60, and she decided to use her love of cheese to introduce another venture in the city.
 
“I’ve always been a huge lover of cheese but have always been a bit intimidated by most cheese shops,” she says. “There are so many choices, and sometimes it feels a bit overwhelming and I’m hesitant to ask questions in order to learn more.”
 
Share Cheesebar will have a relaxed atmosphere, where customers can come in and enjoy a cheese or charcuterie plate or a glass of wine. Cheese will also be available for purchase to take to a party or home for dinner.
 
“The name ‘Share’ is really what we want people to do in the space,” Frank says.
 
Even though Frank is starting another venture, she will continue serving up the cheesy goodness from Blanche, her food truck.

Urbana Café
1206 Broadway St., Pendleton/OTR
Daniel Noguera purchased a Vespa Ape in 2013 and converted it into a mobile espresso café that’s a Findlay Market staple on the weekends. Now Noguera plans to open a brick-and-mortar café in October next to Nation Kitchen + Bar in the Pendleton area next to Over-the-Rhine.
 
Urbana Café will serve high-quality espresso-based drinks as well as a limited food menu with both sweet and savory options.
 
Noguera plans to continue his mobile coffee business and currently has two Vespas roaming the streets of Cincinnati. He has plans to expand the mobile side of his business to a nearby city, such as Louisville or Columbus.
 
Che!
1342 Walnut St., Over-the-Rhine
Chef Alfio Gulisano and his partner Scott Lambert, owners of Alfio’s Buon Cibo in Hyde Park, recently started a food truck called Che Empanadas. They’re expanding on that concept and planning to open a restaurant based on the Argentinean staple of pizza and empanadas.
 
Che!, which means Hey!, will open its doors in Over-the-Rhine in the fall. The restaurant will feature a large bar with Argentine wines by the glass and craft beer options as well as an outdoor dining area with a parrilla, a large outdoor grill that will feature a rotating variety of grilled meats.
 
The restaurant will also have an ordering window that opens onto the street, where customers can get empanadas and pizza during late-night hours.
 
Catch-A-Fire
5164 Kennedy Ave., Pleasant Ridge
The owners of Catch-A-Fire Pizza opened a café inside of MadTree Brewing in February. It’s an extension of the food truck, and the menu features items infused with MadTree beer.
 
Dojo Gelato
1735 Blue Rock St., Northside
Dojo Gelato has been a staple at Findlay Market for six years, and next spring owner Michael Christner plans to open a stand-alone location in the old J.F. Dairy Corner in Northside.
 
Christner will continue to serve his gelato, which has become a Cincinnati favorite, but will also expand Dojo’s menu with twists on traditional ice cream favorites. That menu will eventually be served at the Findlay Market location as well, as all of Dojo’s production will be moved to the new Northside location.
 
O Pie O
1527 Madison Road, East Walnut Hills
While not a food truck, O Pie O will be expanding beyond its Findlay Market pop-up roots with a brick-and-mortar store opening soon at DeSales Corner. The store is currently hiring workers.
 
The pie shop will feature both sweet and savory options as well as a small menu of soups and salads. Wine, craft beer, coffee and ice cream will also be served as accompaniments.
 

Third annual Taste of OTR adds new experiences, "best of" contest


Tender Mercies will host its third annual Taste of OTR event Aug. 29 in Washington Park, with a lot more in store for foodies this year. The event showcases craft beer, local restaurants and food trucks as well as the art, music and shopping in Over-the-Rhine.
 
Tender Mercies created the Taste of OTR in 2013 as a way to contribute to OTR’s culture and its future. The nonprofit serves homeless adults with mental illness, and each year more than 200 men and women benefit from Tender Mercies’ programming and support.
 
“Taste of OTR has quickly become popular and is now a must-attend summer event,” says Jackie Baumgartner, development director at Tender Mercies. “The event is a celbration of Over-the-Rhine’s growth, vibrancy and cultural engagement. It’s a popular celebration of the continued revitalization of the neighborhood that we’re proud to be a part of.”
 
About 25 local and OTR restaurants will be featured at Taste of OTR, and drinks will be provided by Rhinegeist, Angry Orchard and Sam Adams. There will also be live music, with Sphynx as the headliner. Food truck alley will be set up on 14th Street with a number of Cincinnati favorites represented.
 
Taste of OTR is scheduled for 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Aug. 29 with free admission, and tastings ranging from $1 to $6. New this year are separate VIP tickets, limited to only 200 guests. The VIP experience will allow guests to enjoy Taste in a more private setting with special tastings throughout the day.
 
Also new this year is a “Best of Taste” contest, with the featured restaurants competing to be named a crowd favorite. Winners in each category will be recognized at the event and awarded a plaque to display in their restaurant.
 
“Our hope is that with continued growth Taste will bring unity and an increased cultural understanding and awareness of how many homeless are in need in Cincinnati,” Baumgartner says. “Taste shows the city that Over-the-Rhine is welcoming, engaging and a vibrant place to live, play and work that also helps those with nowhere else to turn.”
 
VIP tickets are $50 in advance and $60 at the door; drink tickets are included in the ticket price. To purchase VIP tickets and for restaurant information, visit the Taste of OTR website.
 

Findlay Market, community stakeholders plan for pedestrian-friendly Pleasant Street


A number of community stakeholders are exploring different options for a pedestrian-friendly walkway that would link Washington Park and Findlay Market in Over-the-Rhine. Two events have been held to gather community input and demonstrate options, with suggestions including seating, lighting, a playground, murals, interactive art, food trucks and musical installations.
 
Pleasant Street, which is parallel to and between Elm and Race streets and crosses Liberty Street, runs north/south from Findlay Market to Washington Park. Right now there are crosswalks, but the area isn’t heavily traveled by pedestrians or bicyclists. With the increased focus on development in and around Findlay Market, a pedestrian walkway would only add to the sense of community the neighborhood is attracting.
 
A community block party was held June 5 to start the conversation and get community members involved in the planning process. A follow-up event was held July 11 to showcase some of the improvements and designs that were developed by UC’s MetroLab with help from other planning, public art and ethics classes.
 
An ongoing public art project entitled “Alternate Steps” was installed, which follows the proposed walking path. The installation combines interviews with community members and photos of their feet, which were placed along the street to create a “walking path” of stories.
 
Another addition to the area is the Field of Greens, a wiffleball field in the 1500 block of Pleasant. It’s also serving as a working garden that will operate alongside Findlay Market’s production gardens and help supplement what’s produced there.
 
Seats made from old tires have been added along the path, and MetroLab has also designed an outdoor kitchen made from recycled plastic baskets that will be installed soon.
 
The ultimate goal is close Pleasant Street to cars at least some of the time. Elder Street, which borders Findlay Market on one side, is closed to cars during market hours and reopens after market hours. Closing Pleasant wouldn’t be tied to market hours, though — the idea is to make the area a safe, friendly place for pedestrians and bicyclists.
 
Join the conversation: What do you want to see on Pleasant Street?
 

Cincy Summer Streets back for second year, adds event in OTR


Cincy Summer Streets return car-free one-day festivals to Walnut Hills and Northside starting July 18 — after drawing about 4,200 people last year in the two neighborhoods — and will introduce a third version in Over-the-Rhine.
 
“We looked at many neighborhoods and there are so many options for expanding,” says Margy Waller, co-founder of Summer Streets. “This gives people a chance to play in their own neighborhood in a space that’s typically used by cars.”  
 
The areas in Walnut Hills and Northside are slightly different from last year — Walnut Hills will be focused on McMillan Street between Victory Parkway and Chatham Street, while Northside will use Hamilton Avenue between Pullan and Spring Grove avenues. OTR’s event will be held on Pleasant Street, which connects Washington Park and Findlay Market, between 14th Street and Glass Alley.
 
The majority of activities will be held on sidewalks, leaving the streets open to walkers, bicyclists and skateboarders. Many of the same organizations will be back for this year’s events, featuring events like climbing walls, double-dutch jump roping, lawn bowling, mini golf, jousting, hula hooping, yoga, dancing, belly dancing, art and crosswalk painting.
 
With the streets free of cars, people can walk, run, bike, skateboard and roller blade up and down the event space.
 
“Cincy Summer Streets is a celebration of the communities’ largest public spaces, the streets,” Waller says. “We turn the streets into parks for a day and we help connect neighborhoods with their people, while getting those people to enjoy healthy activities and art-making right in their own neighborhoods.”
 
In OTR, Summer Streets is partnering with Findlay Market, which is working with a number of community partners to further activate Pleasant Street to benefit the community. They’re planning to involve Market vendors in the event, which is different from the events in Walnut Hills and Northside.
 
Other community partners include Interact for Health, US Bank/Haile Foundation, Topic Design, Walnut Hills Area Council, Walnut Hills Business Group, Walnut Hills Redevelopment Foundation, Northside Community Council, Northside Business Association, Over-the-Rhine Community Council, Over-the-Rhine Chamber of Commerce, Art on the Streets and Cincinnati Development Fund.
 
“These events help foster civic pride as well as stimulate economic development and help to represent the community’s businesses and government investments,” Waller says. “The city has amazing parks, vibrant local business corridors, arts and artists and active community organizations. Summer Streets provides a chance to highlight all of these assets during safe, fun and free community events.”
 
The first Summer Streets event is July 18 in Walnut Hills. Northside’s event is Aug. 23, and OTR’s is Sept. 26. All three events are scheduled from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and are free and open to the public.

Make sure to keep tabs on the Summer Streets website for each event's specific activities and organizations.
 

Ohio announces recipients of state historic tax credits, including six Cincinnati projects


Six Cincinnati projects recently received $7.1 million in Ohio Historic Preservation Tax Credits. Statewide, 19 projects were chosen to receive funding, totaling more than $27.5 million. The projects range from new apartments to commercial space and are expected to leverage about $280 million in private investment.
 
512 E. 12th St.
Total cost: $700,000; tax credit funds: $76,800
Two Over-the-Rhine residents acquired the building from OTR A.D.O.P.T. and plan to renovate it into seven one-bedroom market-rate apartments.
 
Abington Flats, 33 Green St.
Total cost: $4,855,059; tax credit funds: $482,999
The four-story, 105-year-old building near Findlay Market will be converted into 18 fully accessible apartments and one commercial storefront. Cornerstone Corporation for Shared Equity, Model Group and 3CDC are partnering on the project.
 
Baldwin Piano Company, 655 Eden Park Dr.
Total cost: $39,233,265; tax credit funds: $4,840,000
The eight-story building served as the home of the Baldwin Piano Company until it was converted into offices in 1987. Neyer Properties plans to rehab it into 176 market-rate apartments.
 
Market Square A, 1808-10 Race St.
Total cost: $2,585,377; tax credit funds: $249,999
As part of the larger Market Square development near Findlay Market, the two buildings are over 11,000 square feet. Model Group plans to rehab the space into nine apartments and about 1,500 square feet of commercial space.
 
Market Square B, 101 W. Elder St. and 1812 Race St.
Total cost: $2,568,088; tax credit funds: $249,999
Another part of the Market Square development, the building at 1812 Race and the John and Henry Kruse Dry Goods and Notions Building at 101 W. Elder will become nine apartments and just over 1,500 square feet of commercial space.
 
Merchants Building, 34 W. Sixth St.
Total cost: $9,921,186; tax credit funds: $982,295
Ashley Commercial Group plans to turn the 103-year-old building into 62 market-rate apartments with first-floor commercial space.
 
Warner Brothers Pictures Building, 1600 Central Parkway
Total cost: $1,310,665; tax credit funds: $184,000
Built in 1940, the building has been vacant for a number of years. Grandin Properties has acquired the property and plans to convert it into office space.
 

Local vintage outfits host popup shop at Brick OTR during All Star Game week


Two local vintage stores, Flying V Vintage and Mike’s Vintage Toys and Collectibles, will host a popup shop at Brick OTR during All Star Game week. The shop will be open 11 a.m.-7 p.m. July 13-14 to sell items from the ’80s and ’90s.
 
Up to this point, both operations have sold exclusively online and through direct sales models. Jason Helferich, owner of Flying V Vintage, says the popup shop is an experiment in the feasibility of having a permanent brick-and-mortar store in the future.
 
“Both myself and Mike Patterson (owner of Mike’s Vintage Toys and Collectibles) were looking for a way to engage customers in an offline setting and generate awareness of our businesses and the type of products we sell,” Helferich says.
 
The popup will feature vintage sports apparel such as T-shirts, jackets, jerseys and snapback hats, with an emphasis on baseball apparel since it’s All Star weekend.
 
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, The Real Ghostbusters, GI Joe, WWF and WCW action figures and toy playsets will also be available for sale. Helferich says that the most desirable items might be be a Chalk Line Chris Sabo Fanimation jacket and the original prototype toys from the ’90s Jim Carrey The Mask animated series toy line. Items will range from $10 to $150.
 
“We hope to bring something unique and different to the weekend,” Helferich says. “We know that many are fond of the ’80s and ’90s, and I’m sure they will find something they remember or had as a kid. From the unique merchandise to the limited engagement, this isn’t something you see every day.”
 

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).
 

Kenwood-based bakery to open location in OTR


Lisa Ebbert comes from a long line of bakers, and the success of her homemade cupcakes led her to open 3 Sweet Girls Cakery in Kenwood in 2012. In mid-July she and her two daughters, Kristen and Lauren, will open their second location at 29 E. 12th St. in Over-the-Rhine.
 
Over the past few years, the bakery has had customers come out to the Kenwood location from downtown to pick up sweets for parties and meetings. It seemed like a logical next step to take the bakery closer to those customers.
 
“We’re very excited to see the growth downtown and want to be part of it,” Ebbert says. “We love Over-the-Rhine, the people and the energy and diversity of the neighborhood.”
 
Ebbert and her daughters are currently renovating the 500-square-foot space to be a mini version of their Kenwood location, with turquoise and pink walls and a whimsical mural. The OTR location is considerably smaller than the original and doesn’t have a kitchen, so they will be bringing everything to OTR from the main bakery.
 
3 Sweet Girls will offer a daily selection of eight cupcake flavors and about 15 flavors of cake pops, including their specialty Flying Pig Cake Pops. The bakery will also have custom decorated cookies, chocolate pretzels and Oreos, cake push-ups and cupcakes in a jar as well as homemade dog treats and pup cakes.
 
“We hope to bring a fun, creative energy to Over-the-Rhine and hope to satisfy everyone’s sweet tooth and bring a little joy to people’s days,” Ebbert says.
 
The Ebberts are currently hoping to be open before the July 14 All Star Game and plan to have a variety of baseball-themed treats.
 

In-fill townhouse development is Towne's first OTR residential project


Towne Properties is working on its first townhouse project in Over-the-Rhine. The development will sit on half an acre along the streetcar route at the northwest corner of 15th and Elm streets.
 
The seven townhomes will be 2,800 square feet, each with a 900-square-foot, partially finished basement. Three-bedroom units will also have two-car detached garages and private backyards, which are hard to come by in OTR, and will be priced at $650,000.
 
The townhomes will have a similar look and feel to Towne’s Beacon Hill condo development in Deerfield Township, which was designed after neighborhoods in Boston.  

"This is a very unique product in that we're using high-end, long-lasting materials that will stand the test of time," says Towne's Chad Munitz.

He also says that the units will be about 25 feet wide, when typical townhouses and condos in OTR are about 17 feet wide.
 
As part of the project, Towne is also redeveloping the existing building at 1517 Elm St. into first-floor retail space with two condos above. New Republic is the architect for the rehabilitation portion of the project, and PDT Architects is working on the townhouses.
 
Towne took the plans before the Historic Conservation Board meeting on June 8 for a preliminary design review to gather feedback. The plans were well received, and after a few tweaks Towne will bring them back to the board in several weeks to get approval for construction.

Towne will also approach the city to have the land rezoned from commercial property to single-family.
 
If things go according to plan, construction will start on the project in July and could be completed by next spring.
 

Retail collective coming to Main Street June 14


A new retail collective will open at 1300 Main St. in Over-the-Rhine on June 14, which is also this summer’s first Second Sunday on Main. Goods on Main will feature merchandise from national brands as well as locally made products.
 
Originally, Frameshop owners Jake Baker and Jake Gerth planned to open Workshop at the location. A larger space opened up in Walnut Hills, but they had already rented the space in OTR. The business partners decided that something else needed to go there.
 
“We’re hoping to bring more of a critical mass of retail to Main Street,” says Pat Feghali, local attorney and co-owner of Goods. "Right now lots of people go to Vine street to shop, but by opening Goods we’re hoping to make Main Street a stronger retail destination.”
 
The 1,500-square-foot, first-floor retail space will be split in two, with the front half devoted to Goods. The rest of the space will be used for more of a gathering area for special events like Final Friday and Second Sunday on Main. Feghali says they plan to devote the entire space to Goods in the future.
 
The merchandise available at Goods will center around a theme and change several times throughout the year.
 
When it opens, the theme will be "adventure.” Feghali says this could mean a camping adventure or something more outside of the box like a culinary adventure. Items available will range from bicycles and mopeds to camping gear and hot sauce.
 
Along with Feghali, Goods is owned and operated by OTR entrepreneurs Duru Armagon, owner of Sloane Boutique; Adam Atallah; Carl Hunt; and Micah Paladino, CEO of PB&J.
 
Goods’ hours aren’t set in stone yet, but the storefront will be open Thursday through Sunday.
 

Second Sunday on Main returns June 14 to celebrate festival's 10th year


Since its inception 10 years ago, Second Sunday on Main has grown from a small event featuring condo tours to a blocks-long festival with food trucks, live music, vendors and artists. The free event is held on the second Sunday of each month June through October along Main Street between 12th and Liberty streets, with the first 2015 event on June 14.
 
“Second Sunday is unique because it changes and grows with the neighborhood,” says Caitlin Behle, the current organizer of SSOM. “When the festival launched in 2005 as a weekly event, Main Street looked very different. At a time when people were reluctant to visit OTR, the Over-the-Rhine Chamber of Commerce started Second Sunday as an opportunity to bring people to the street on Sunday afternoons and showcase the area as a diverse, safe and welcoming place.”
 
This year, SSOM is partnering with the YMCA of Greater Cincinnati to add an area for kids. The YMCA Kids Square will offer free hands-on activities and crafts for kids programmed by the YMCA. Other community organizations will be present as well, including the Peaslee Neighborhood Center and the Art Academy of Cincinnati’s Community Education division.
 
Findlay Market will host the Celebrity Chef series, which will feature a free chef demo at Mr. Pitiful’s. Traditionally, the series has invited visitors to a drink pairing and chef demo by one of more local chefs, where guests are given the recipe for the dishes and drinks.
 
“By collaborating with Findlay Market, we’re able to celebrate what is unique and best about the market’s community, local crops, ethnic traditions and creative chefs,” Behle says.
 
To celebrate its 10th year, SSOM is going back to its roots to revisit monthly themes from the past decade. June’s theme is Dog Days and will feature a contest for Best Trick, Best Costume, Cutest Dog and Best Owner/Dog Look-a-Like as well as a parade and Dog Photo Booth hosted by Save the Animals.
 
The June event also includes a performance by Us, Today at 2 p.m. at the MOTR Stage and a cooking demo by Bryn Mooth, author of the Findlay Market Cookbook, and Katie Zaidan of Mediterranean Imports at 2:30 p.m.
 
There will also be beer ambassadors pouring at the Cincinnati Sports League’s Beer Garden on behalf of different nonprofits or community groups each month. June’s ambassadors are the Cincinnati Young Black Professionals. Food trucks Bistro de Mohr, Dojo Gelato, Empanadas Aqui, Fireside Pizza and Hungry Brothers will be at SSOM areas to supplement the 30 participating bars, restaurants, shops and galleries and 80 artists and vendors.

The remaining 2015 SSOMs are “Pride” July 12, “EcoMAINia” Aug. 9, “Dance on Main” Sept. 13 and “Foodie Finale” Oct. 11.
 
“As OTR continues to grow, Second Sunday will continue to define itself as a community-driven festival,” Behle says. “I love that Second Sunday was, and continues to be, built by the neighborhood. It’s largely volunteer-run by residents and business owners and changes and adapts in response to the community’s needs.”
 

OTR continues to introduce new retail and food/drink options


The Over-the-Rhine economy continues to boom, with new street-level businesses opening every week. Entities like 3CDC, The Model Group, Urban Sites and Over-the-Rhine Community Housing have helped spur much of the residential development in the neighborhood, and the influx of residents has led to a demand for more retail and eateries.
 
A number of new storefronts have opened recently, with several restaurants coming on-line soon to add to the area’s eclectic and diverse options. Here's a quick roundup:
 
Continuum, 1407 Vine St.
DAAP grad Erica Leighton-Spradlin opened Continuum on May 8. She curates home décor, gifts and women’s clothing items that are designed by local artists.
 
Elm & Iron, 1326 Vine St.
Columbus-based Elm & Iron opened its first Cincinnati location on May 13. The store sells a mix of new and vintage industrial home décor pieces and accessories.
 
Idlewild Woman, 1232 Vine St.
Article's sister store Idlewild Woman opened on May 16. The shop features clothing and one-of-a-kind home accessories exclusively for women.
 
Kit and Ace, 1405 Vine St.
Created by the family of Lululemon Athletica’s founder, Kit and Ace focuses on luxury clothing. The OTR store will be the company’s third U.S. location, with the others in NYC and San Francisco. It's expected to open June 5.

Low Spark, 15 W. 14th St.
The overall concept and opening date are still under wraps for this tiny bar from the 4EG folks, but keep a tab on its Facebook page for updates.
 
16-Bit Bar+Arcade, 1331 Walnut St.
Stepping into 16-Bit Bar+Arcade promises to be like a blast from the past, with arcade games, music and drinks straight out of the ‘80s and ‘90s. Work at the site is ongoing, and owner Troy Allen is shooting for an early summer opening.
 
TBA, 1429 Walnut St.
An as-yet-to-be-announced restaurant concept from the owners of Cheapside Café and The Rookwood.
 
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