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Leadership Cincinnati designs projects to strengthen region

Every year, Leadership Cincinnati develops projects that will benefit Greater Cincinnati—the charitable pharmacy at St. Vincent de Paul, Cincy Red Bike, Crayons to Computers and the Power Pack Program at Freestore Foodbank all began at Leadership Cincinnati. 
 
In its 38th year, Leadership Cincinnati is made up of people who are in senior management at both for-profit and nonprofit companies and organizations. As a class, they focus on what will help make the region stronger.
 
“We seek to have a diversified class each year, and have a mix of people who come from many different backgrounds,” says Dan Hurley, who is in his seventh year as director of Leadership Cincinnati. “The theme is bridging the gap—how do we identify, learn about, understand and strategize the gaps in the regional community.”
 
This year’s class has already participated in a number of things, from looking at the proposal for the governance structure of the airport to dealing with gaps in the justice system. Each member of the class went on a police ride-along, and saw interrogations and court cases.
 
“The experience is important,” Hurley says. “You can’t begin to come up with solutions until you’re willing to stand in the gap yourself.”
 
Leadership Cincinnati is the beginning of many projects, including Preschool Promise, which aims to provide quality care and education for preschool-age children. STRIVE is currently leading it, but was started at Leadership Cincinnati three years ago. Each project has to have an organization already formed that is willing to take it on and continue it beyond the initial startup phase.
 
Ozie Davis, executive director of the Avondale Comprehensive Development Corporation and member of the current Leadership Cincinnati class, proposed that no matter the project, it uses Avondale as the focal point.
 
One group is looking at food security issues, another is addressing infant mortality. Davis’ group is working on rehabilitation options for St. Andrew’s Catholic church.
 
“It’s a collective impact,” Hurley says. “Some projects will work, some won’t. We’re not going to solve infant mortality, but we’re trying to find a niche where we can be helpful.”
 
Some projects also shift halfway through, when a group realizes their initial idea won’t work, but something else will. For example, Cincy Red Bike started out as a streetscape project in Over-the-Rhine. Group members began looking at what was going on in other cities, and although bike share wasn’t everywhere then, they decided it would work in Cincinnati.
 
“I love when people go in thinking they know what the answer is, and finding out it isn’t the best approach, and they pivot and make something else really work,” Hurley says.
 
If you’re interested in Leadership Cincinnati’s 10-month program, visit its website to learn more.
 
 

Local theater company setting up shop in Northside

New Edgecliff Theatre is currently between homes, but by April, it will be rehearsing and performing in a new event space in the old St. Patrick Church in Northside, located at 1662 Blue Rock St. Grayscale Cincinnati is currently renovating the church, which will also be home to a brewery and taproom.
 
“We hope to help strengthen the arts in Northside, and bring more vitality to the area,” says Jim Stump, New Edgecliff’s producing artistic director. “Northside has an arts profile already, but it doesn’t have a permanent theater company.”
 
On Nov. 15, the theater group is performing a murder-mystery fundraiser at Below Zero Lounge. It will feature The Whodunit? Players, as well as members of the New Edgecliff staff. There’s also a radio drama performance of Miracle on 34th Street at Northside Tavern this winter. During the extended intermission, the audience will be able to enjoy desserts from Cincinnati State’s culinary arts department.
 
New Edgecliff is also working on doing bar nights at Northside haunts over the next few months. Stump is performing his one-man show at Below Zero in January to help raise funds for the theater.
 
“Northside is very similar to our former home in Columbia Tusculum,” Stump says. “It’s a unique community with lots of locally owned and operated businesses. And our new facility has so much potential.”
 
New Edgecliff’s mission is to create a powerful artistic experience by utilizing local professionals and stressing the fundamental communion between the actors and the audience.
 
New Edgecliff will christen its new space with its performance of Race April 9-25. Tickets to all performances are $27, and student tickets are $20. You can purchase them online or by calling Cincy Ticket at 888-428-7311.
 

New housing project breaks ground in Avondale

A groundbreaking ceremony was held Nov. 6 for Avondale’s newest residential development, Northern Townhomes. The eight market-rate townhomes are located at the corner of Northern and Harvey avenues, and are part of the area’s larger Burnet Avenue Plan.
 
Northern Townhomes is the first new market-rate housing in the neighborhood since the '90s, and is part of a larger infill development plan to bring more residents to Avondale, says Beth Robinson, president and CEO of the Uptown Consortium.
 
“We’re trying to bring homeowners into the neighborhood,” she says. “Avondale has a lot of rental units, but research has shown that when homeowners are invested in the community, they tend to stay, get involved and help bring the neighborhood up.”
 
Avondale has a variety of housing choices for all income levels, including a number of in-need-of-rehabilitation homes, which are costly to renovate. And when new houses come on the market, they don't stay for sale for long, says Ozie Davis, executive director of the Avondale Comprehensive Development Corporation.

"Northern Townhomes is an opportunity for higher-end housing," he says. "Major rehabs are costly endeavors, and this way, people won't have to worry about renovations for years."

The townhomes were designed to attract young professionals, and all feature two full master bathrooms and one-car garages, with additional parking available on the street. Six of the 1,400-square-foot units are two-bedrooms, and two are three-bedrooms, which is meant to attract families. The townhomes will start in the $175,000 range.
 
Avondale is planning to add another eight units in the same area along Northern, but the design concept is still in the works. Davis says he hopes the townhomes are a catalyst for future commercial development that could lead to an entertainment district much like that on found Short Vine, as well as amenities for new and current residents.
 
The roughly $2.4 million project, which is slated for completion next spring, is a partnership between A-CDC, Uptown Consortium and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. It is being funded through the Uptown Partners Investment Fund and the Uptown Cincinnati Development Fund.

Owner of Nicholson's opening bar, small plate restaurant

In the next few months, Nick Sanders, CEO of The Tavern Restaurant Group and owner of Nicholson’s Pub, will be opening a beverage-based bar and restaurant downtown.
 
The Horse & Barrel is named for a bar that used to be inside another TRG restaurant, deSha’s in Lexington. It will cater heavily to bourbon lovers, but will also serve cocktails and craft beer.
 
“There are lots of restaurants in the area, and this will be another space for people to relax and enjoy good beverages,” says Nancy Parrott, TRG’s director of marketing. “Whether you come by after work or you live downtown, Horse & Barrel will be another great space to be.”
 
Horse & Barrel’s main focus is bourbon, but the small food menu will feature small plates and shareable items with an American flare.
 
Not much renovation needs to be done to the space, which was most recently home to the Walnut Street Grill. The bar and restaurant has exposed brick and wood floors, and a drop ceiling is being added to create an intimate feel. The space is small, and will have cocktail-type seating for about 40.
 
TRG is also leasing the space above the restaurant, and will be creating a private event space for large groups, which will opened after Horse & Barrel.
 

Covington holiday pop-up market encourages shopping local

In 2013, three pop-up shops operated for four weeks of the holiday season in Covington. About 750 people visited the markets, which resulted in $23,000 in sales.
 
Two of the three shops—Uncorked Covington, which is opening soon in Mainstrasse, and Kelley’s Kloset—went on to open permanent retail spaces in the city.
 
Renaissance Covington is looking for about five retailers to fill a space at 801 Madison Ave. for this year’s holiday pop-up market. The shops will be launched in coordination with the city’s holiday activities, and will operate from Black Friday through Dec. 20.
 
“The goal of the holiday market is to add retail offerings to the city that both support existing retailers as part of the downtown Covington destination, and empower new entrepreneurs to test out the Covington market,” says Katie Meyer, Renaissance Covington manager.
 
Applications for the pop-up market have already been collected, but the final retail occupants haven’t been announced. Occupants will be chosen based on the innovation and creativity of their business concept, product or presentation; as well as their ability to activate the storefront and influence business on the street level.
 
The shops are required to be open on Fridays from 5 to 9 p.m. and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Meyer says additional hours will be added once the retailers have been selected.
 

New OTR event center hosts first show

Over-the-Rhine’s newest music venue, The Woodward Theater, is holding its first show with Nashville-based The Soil & The Sun on Nov. 10.
 
The 101-year-old theater was purchased and renovated by the owners of MOTR, who were looking for a venue that could handle larger acts and crowds.
 
“It’s a unique piece of architecture in OTR,” says Dan McCabe, co-owner of MOTR and The Woodward. “It’s a rare building, and we want to keep it around for another 101 years.”
 
The inside of the building is a big open room, and can handle up to 600 people. Seating will be brought in to meet the needs of each event, and the stage is in the center of the room against one of the four walls. A horseshoe balcony overlooks the space, and allows for a more intimate feel for both the performer and the audience.
 
A bar runs along one side of the space and features 24 taps. McCabe says there will be a strong local brewery presence, with a wider variety of beers than you see at MOTR, which only has 10 taps.
 
The Woodward was built to be an event hall, McCabe says. Local businesses are renting the space for speakers, and they’ve already booked several wedding receptions. He also wants to show films on a regular basis.
 
“The Woodward will be a gateway for the region and for OTR,” McCabe says. “People are coming from out of town to see shows, and they’re coming early, shopping around and visiting local businesses before and after the show. We hope that people look up and look around, and make the decision to explore Cincinnati deeper, and maybe event more here.”
 
Ticket prices vary for each show, depending on the act. You can get advance tickets for shows at The Woodward here.
 

Cincinnati Neighborhood Olympics to encourage community engagement

This past summer, Henry Frondorf, chairman of the Cincinnati Neighborhood Olympics, watched the World Cup on Fountain Square, and he thought it would be cool to have a tournament like it within Cincinnati’s boundaries. Instead of country vs. country, it would be neighborhood vs. neighborhood.
 
Although the CNO is still in the early planning stages, Frondorf has received a lot of positive feedback from the city and residents.
 
The goal of the CNO is to bring neighborhood leaders together, and connect neighbors with neighbors, which is intended to make the neighborhoods stronger.
 
“You might know your next door neighbor, but you probably don’t know the ones three blocks away,” Frondorf says. “The CNO isn’t about the events, but about bringing people together.”
 
In order to participate in the CNO, each neighborhood will have to hold its own event championship in order to move on to the Olympics. The CNO will then take place on a weekend in July 2016 in various locations, including downtown and Over-the-Rhine.
 
“The point is to make it as inclusive as possible,” says Pam Roebel, marketing chair of the CNO. “It won’t be all about sporting events, but cultural events as well.”
 
The Games will consist of a variety of events, including a 5K, a softball throw, a football kick or throw, a wiffle ball homerun derby, a water balloon toss, table tennis, tug-of-war, chess and monologue reading.
 
Frondorf says the CNO will be simple—it will be all-inclusive and inexpensive, and there will be few referees or umpires and simple rules.
 
The Olympics will go live on March 7 at the Invest in Neighborhoods annual summit. An Olympic Congress will then be held next October, and neighborhood leaders will form an Olympic Committee and form a handbook that will make the Games easy.
 
“We hope that the Olympics create a sense of pride,” Frondorf says. “We’re going to encourage each neighborhood to come up with their own flag, and the flags will be raised when the neighborhoods medal in each event.”
 
The CNO is still looking for volunteers—if you’re interested, contact Frondorf at cincyolympics@gmail.com, Facebook or @cincyolympics.
 

Ultra nanobrewery coming to Mt. Healthy

Cincinnati is currently home to one nanobrewery, DogBerry in West Chester. Fibonacci Brewing Company will be the city’s second, and will open in the spring.
 
Husband-and-wife team Bob and Betty Bollas combined their love for math and their neighborhood when they decided to open a brewery. They secured a building about a month ago—a former flower shop located at 1445 Compton Rd.
 
The upstairs tasting area is about 1,100 square feet, with an outside space that is about the same size; the downstairs brewhouse is about 1,000 square feet. Bob says there won’t be official tours, but he’ll show anyone around who is interested in seeing the brewing process.
 
Bob has been brewing at home for about six years now, and started brewing on a larger system about three years ago. He’ll use that same one-barrel system at Fibonacci, which will allow him to get about 300 beers each time he brews.
 
The Bollas’ plan to have four or five year-round beers, as well as a few seasonals—Bob is thinking about doing an Imperial IPA, a Kolsch and an Imperial Stout to start. Fibonacci won’t have a kitchen, but Bob wants to partner with food trucks and local restaurants, which will allow customers to order food in and enjoy a meal with their beer.
 
“We want Fibonacci to be a place where people can come and hang out,” Bob says. “We want to create a sense of pride in our community and help promote other local businesses.”
 
He also wants to partner with local businesses, such as a coffee roaster up the street to create a coffee-infused beer.
 
Although plans are still in the early stages, Bob says Fibonacci will likely be open Thursday and Friday evenings, and all day on Saturday.

Video arcade to bring classics, food and beer to Northside

You may have visited Arcade Legacy at Forest Fair Village (formerly Cincinnati Mills), but owner Jesse Baker will soon open another arcade in Northside. Arcade Legacy: Bar Edition will be serving up video games alongside beer and food.
 
“I personally love Northside,” Baker says. “I’ve been hanging out and shopping there for years, and I never considered another area when I was looking for a new space.”
 
The arcade is coming to the 3,300-square-foot space formerly occupied by Alchemize on Spring Grove Avenue. It will feature about 40 arcade games and five pinball machines, including classics like Ms. Pac Man and Donkey Kong, as well as old-school consoles like Super Nintendo and N-64.
 
Games will be free to play, but gamers will pay a $5 cover at the door, and will receive $5 worth of food and drink tickets. The menu is still being finalized, but it will feature items not already found in Northside.
 
“The arcade will provide nostalgic fun, and it won’t feel like a bar,” Baker says. “Think of it as an arcade for adults that serves food and drinks too. I know we’ll attract people who normally hesitate going to a bar—they’ll feel more comfortable here.”
 
Arcade Legacy is slated to open in the first part of 2015. Baker plans to be open from about 5 p.m. to 3 a.m. on weekdays, and all day Saturday and Sunday.
 

Lavomatic space to become neighborhood tavern

When Lavomatic closed this summer, Thunderdome Restaurant Group quickly signed a lease for the space, which is right next door to Bakersfield. There was lots of speculation surrounding the coming restaurant, and this December, a new concept, Krueger’s Tavern, will open.
 
Many years ago, the space was home to a Laundromat, and opened as Lavomatic in 2008. It was the first restaurant to open in the Gateway District.
 
The building, which is the only open-air restaurant in Over-the-Rhine, is currently undergoing a remodel to fit the tavern concept. The Krueger’s menu will feature sandwiches and tavern food, with more than 75 varieties of canned beer, as well as a full bar.
 
Four types of sausages will be made in-house, and will be served with sides instead of on buns. The sandwiches will include a sloppy joe and a chicken club, made on bread from 16 Bricks.
 
The name for the restaurant comes from Krueger’s Brewing, which was a New Jersey brewery that, in 1935, was the first to sell beer in cans.
 
Thunderdome owns four Bakersfield restaurants with two more to come, several Currito locations, The Eagle Food and Beer Hall and SoHi Grilled Sandwiches in Oxford.
 

Outdoor theater coming to Northside

Not only is PAR Projects building an art and education center in Northside, but it’s also bringing an outdoor theater to the neighborhood. The theater will be part of the new building, and will show films March-October.
 
Films will be projected on two stacked shipping containers, which will be Phase I of PAR’s new building. The rest of the 2,000-square-foot building will branch off of either side of the theater, creating a horseshoe-shaped first floor.
 
“Everything we’re doing is a step toward the next piece in the building process,” says Jonathan Sears, executive director of PAR. For example, the Makers Mobiles that were around the neighborhood this past summer will be used to create the building.
 
PAR is currently holding a membership drive—for a $40 donation, members will get to watch 15 films for free, as well as receive a membership card, free access to other PAR events, swag and first dibs on PAR classes.
 
PAR’s goal is to gain 500 members in order to break ground, and raise $20,000.
 
You can donate to the project here.
 

Covington bicentennial celebration continues with #COV200Selfie

As part of Covington’s bicentennial celebration, BLDG is installing selfie murals throughout the city. There are currently three murals, with others in the works that will be unveiled in the coming weeks.
 
“The murals are a way to engage people on social media, and let them know about the cool activities going on in Covington,” says Kate Esarey, project coordinator for COV200, which is in charge of Covington’s bicentennial. “We want to send people to places in Covington they haven’t been—it’s like a mural scavenger hunt.”
 
So far, murals are located at 3938 Decoursey Ave. in Latonia, 424 W. Sixth St. in Mainstrasse, and at the corner of Orchard and Jackson streets. The murals incorporate aspects of the neighborhood they’re located in, and include directions for participating in #COV200Selfie.
 
The newest mural, which is in Latonia, depicts the area’s horse racing history with the image of Leonatus, the first winner of the Latonia Derby, and the winner of the Kentucky Derby the same year. The Mainstrasse mural focuses on the district as an entertainment area and features beer mugs, and the West Side mural is shaped like a hen and encourages photographers to “Love the Cov.”
 
A fourth mural is planned for South Covington, and will encourage photographers to take selfies with their dogs, as the neighborhood boasts the only dog park in Kenton County.
 
Covingten, an anonymous group that provides mini-grants for projects in Covington, provided funding for #COV200Selfie.
 
“The murals are creating a sense of community pride,” Esarey says. “It’s also a way to share the interactive art scene with the neighborhood.”
 
In order to participate in the project, take a selfie in front of one of the murals, and share it on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook using #COV200Selfie. The COV200 website populates the selfies as soon as they’re tagged on social media. COV200 will then pick 15-20 selfies and repaste them onto windows of vacant buildings to activate dead space.
 

Mt. Adams eatery and market focuses on fresh, local ingredients

Sprout Market & Eatery opened its doors Oct. 14 in Mt. Adams, with a focus on fresh and local ingredients. The restaurant’s market carries in-season produce, cheese, meats, breads, milk, eggs, sauces, condiments and other day-to-day essentials.
 
Sprout’s menu is similar to the market offerings, and is driven by what is seasonally fresh. The chef, Michael Brown, pulls fresh, seasonal produce from the market shelves in order to put his spin on brunch, lunch and dinner.
 
The small menu will change seasonally and often, depending on what’s available from farmers. Sprout also has 40 organic and/or sustainable wines by the bottle and a dozen by the glass; 14 beers on tap from local and craft breweries with growlers to-go; and three specialty cocktails in the works.
 
Brunch is served a la carte, and the highlights include corn cakes, ham and cheese, and a portobello and asparagus frittata. The lunch menu focuses on fresh salads, including a toasted quinoa and a Caesar salad, sandwiches, and a vegan cabbage soup. The current dinner menu showcases mussels with a house-made broth and corn grown just north of Cincinnati, as well as a fettuccine dish with house-made pasta, ricotta cheese and a late-harvest tomato confit.
 
“Throughout the building’s renovation process, we had so many Mt. Adams'ers stopping in to lend us a hand and show us that they appreciated our dream for Sprout,” says owner Whit Hesser. “Now that we have the doors open, we really hope to bring a sense of openness and a place that the residents are proud to call their own.”
 
The market is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. during the week, and from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on weekends. The dining room is open for lunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday, and for dinner from 5 to 9 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday, and 5 to 10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Sprout also serves brunch from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sundays.
 
There’s also a lounge beneath Sprout—Roots—that can be booked for private parties of up to 40 during the week. And on Friday and Saturday nights, you can catch live jazz, folk or bluegrass music there.
 

Former downtown mall gets new life

The city purchased the old Tower Place Mall last year for $8.5 million, and it is now the site of a 775-space parking garage and just over 8,000 square feet in retail space, now called Mabley Place. Former Bengals player Chinedum Ndukwe partnered with JDL Warm Construction to redevelop the site.
 
Standard Parking signed a 10-year lease, and will operate the garage. Monthly parking will cost $145. The Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza will use a portion of the garage for its valet parking.
 
Domino’s Pizza is opening a “pizza theater” in one of Mabley Place’s retail spaces. The 2,400-square-foot restaurant will allow customers to watch pizzas being made while they dine in. It will be owned and operated by John Glass, who owns 25 other Domino’s locations in the area.
 
Two other retail spaces—one with 4,800 square feet and the other with 1,200 square feet—are still available.
 
The mall purchase also came with the deteriorating, eight-story Pogue’s Garage. It served as parking for Pogue’s Department Store across the street, and when the store closed, it was replaced with Tower Place Mall in the '80s.
 
A 30-story apartment tower with about 300 units is planned for the site of the old garage. It will include 1,000 parking spaces and 16,000 square feet for an independent upscale grocery store.
 

Brooklyn-based muralists creating art for Covington buildings

From Oct. 9-23, Brooklyn-based art collective FAILE is creating a mural on two Covington buildings. The mural, called Around the Corner, will be 100 feet wide and about 60 feet tall, and is being painted on the rear of the Republic Bank building and Donna Salyers’ Fabulous Bridal on the corner of Sixth Street and Madison Avenue.
 
“FAILE is one of the most influential groups of street artists currently doing work in the contemporary art movement,” says Lesley Amann, a partner at BLDG. “Bringing FAILE to Covington adds one more artist to the city’s unique collection. Our ultimate goal is to put the city on the map, along with LA, NYC, London and Paris for having a collection of street art. It’s unexpected in this small town on the river, and it’s something to be proud of.”
 
The mural, which is being funded by private donors and businesses, will depict classic FAILE characters, including a dog catching a masked lady sneaking out into the night. The words ‘FAILE Dream Club’ represents the collective’s original studio that had no windows, and the hopes and dreams they had. The stock car represents FAILE’s newer body of work, and it also fits into Kentucky’s racing history.
 
“The mural was inspired by our rip style of painting,” FAILE said in a statement. “Given the opportunity to paint two buildings adjacent to each other, we wanted the murals to have a conversation and to connect to one another.”
 
BLDG hosted an in-progress party on Oct. 17, and the rest of FAILE will join the head muralist and his assistant on Oct. 22 and 23 for the last two days of mural painting.
 
“We hope the mural creates conversation and intrigue,” Amann says. “I hope that people who haven’t heard of FAILE get online and seek them out and learn about them. We want to educate people and raise their curiosity.”
 
If you pass by the mural, take a photo and tag it #aroundthecorner on all social media.
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