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Over-the-Rhine : Development News

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OTR's Memorial Hall undergoing renovations to help expand programming

Last February, Hamilton County commissioners approved a five-year lease to allow 3CDC to spearhead the renovations to Over-the-Rhine’s Memorial Hall. The project is estimated to cost about $10 million, and will include cosmetic renovations to help expand programming. Funding for the renovations will come from historical and new market tax credits.
 
In 1992, Hamilton County (which owns Memorial Hall), private donors and the Cincinnati Preservation Society funded a revitalization to repair the concert hall and add an elevator; in 2006, the Cincinnati Memorial Hall Society was established to help support, revitalize and maintain the space, and has a lease with Hamilton County to preserve, manage and operate the hall.
 
The Society currently has 23 trustees, and was reorganized and expanded in mid-2012, and an executive director was hired to oversee the day-to-day activities at the Hall. In the past year, the Society has raised $75,000 for improvements such as repairing decorative areas and purchasing chairs, catering equipment and audio-visual equipment for the Hall.
 
The 600-seat performance space has an ornate arch, decorative molding on the walls and Tiffany lights. Renovations will include a new roof, new electric and heating, improved restrooms, expanded catering facilities, improved theatrical and production capabilities and air conditioning in the theater (the Hall’s three reception rooms are air-conditioned).
 
“Through the renovations and revitalization of Memorial Hall, we will stimulate the community through extraordinary performances,” says Teresa Summe Haas, Executive Director of the Memorial Hall Society. “The combined commitment by the city and citizens has revitalized OTR. Memorial Hall, combined with Music Hall and the School for Creative and Performing Arts, set the stage for a world-class Washington Park Arts District. Memorial Hall is excited to be part of the renewed focus celebrating Cincinnati’s arts and community.”
 
Memorial Hall was built in 1908 to honor the veterans of the Civil War and the Spanish-American War. Veterans of the wars used the Hall as a meeting place and for various events; but in the 1950s, the last of the veterans of those wars died and Memorial Hall began to fall into disrepair.
 
In order to expand Memorial Hall’s offerings, the Society has obtained an alcohol permit for the building and compiled a list of preferred vendors for organizations that use the reception rooms or performance hall for meetings, events and weddings. The Society has been working on rebranding Memorial Hall, including a new logo, website and Facebook page.
 
“Memorial Hall’s mission can be summed up in three words: arts, culture and community,” says Bill Baumann, president of the Memorial Hall Society. There are two banners outside of Memorial Hall with its mission on them, announcing to the community what it’s there for.
 
In 2013, 70 different arts, civic and other organizations held more than 150 events at Memorial Hall—these numbers are up moer than 300 percent from 2012. In 2014, there are already 168 events, concerts, meetings and weddings booked, and this number is expected to grow, Baumann says.
 
“These numbers indicate the improvements being made to the Hall, the renovations to Washington Park, other improvements to OTR and the parking garage under the park, which show signs that there is a need for a multi-dimensional performance hall and building like Memorial Hall,” he says.
 
Cincinnati firm John Senhauser Architects and Westlake Reed Leskosky of Cleveland have been selected to provide architectural and engineering services for the renovations.
 
The Society has put together its Signature Series, which will feature, music, art and food. The first event is November 15 at 6:30 p.m.; tickets are $40 and can be purchased here.
 
By Caitlin Koenig
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Home-based bakery business expanding, opening downtown storefront

Taren Kinebrew started baking with her grandmother when she was a child. Her love of baking has always been a hobby, but in the next few weeks, Kinebrew will be opening a storefront for Sweet Petit Desserts at 1426 Race St. in Over-the-Rhine.  
 
“I wanted to be in a community where people support small businesses,” Kinebrew says. “I like the walking traffic and diversity of Over-the-Rhine, and knew that Sweet Petit Desserts would fit in with what I know Cincinnati and the neighborhood to be.”
 
The 753-square-foot space will have a kitchen and two cases of bite-sized desserts for sale. The cases are moveable so Kinebrew can host events with the help of Christina Christian, owner of Something Chic, an event planning business. The two have teamed up in the past to plan baby showers, wedding receptions and fundraisers.
 
Sweet Petit will have a very artsy feel, with vibrant colors from the desserts down to the flooring, Kinebrew says.
 
Kinebrew hasn’t always done desserts. She was in the Army National Guard for seven years and has a degree in information systems and a minor in accounting. But she has always loved making sweets for friends and family, and her own business seemed like the next logical step. She started Sweet Petit out of her home in 2009.
 
Last fall, Kinebrew applied to be part of Bad Girl Ventures, and she won a $25,000 loan and $5,000 in marketing and website assistance from the program. Bad Girl helped her with forming a financial plan and official business plan.
 
Sweet Petit will offer red velvet mini cupcakes, bite-sized brownies, cheesecakes, key lime bars, lemon squares, pie tartlets, cake pops, cookies and desserts in cups—think chocolate mousse. Prices will range from $2 per dessert to $9.50 for a half dozen or $18 for a dozen. More expensive items like pie tartlets and chocolate dipped strawberries will be $24 per dozen.
 
Sweet Petit will have three paid employees, including Kinebrew. She also hopes to bring on interns so they can learn how to run a business and hone their pastry skills.  
 
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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LEED silver certified, single-family home in OTR for sale

One of the first LEED silver certified homes in Over-the-Rhine is for sale. The two-story, 2,000-square-foot, three bedroom, two-and-a-half bath home was completely renovated by Chris Reckman and his fiancé, Louisa Deutsch.
 
Reckman, of C.A.R. Construction dba Urban Expansion, purchased the structure at 1504 Race St. in March of this year. Reckman has rehabbed several other historic buildings and single-family homes in OTR—he and Deutsch did a complete and thorough gut and rehab on the property. They had to clear away a lot of trash from the inside of the house and repair the floor that had buckled due to water damage. The home is now live-in ready, and until they sell it, Reckman and Deutsch are living there.   
 
LEED, which stands for Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design, provides building owners and operators with a framework for identifying and implementing practical and measurable green building design, construction, operations and maintenance solutions. LEED certification provides independent, third-party verification that a building, home or community was designed and built using green strategies, including sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality. To be LEED silver certified, a building must receive 50–59 points.
 
“With the opening of Washington Park, there is now more of a demand for these types of homes,” Reckman says. “OTR isn’t just empty nesters and young professionals, but people with kids who see the value of living in the city. Plus, the streetcar is going to go right past the house’s front door, and that’s huge.”
 
By Caitlin Koenig
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City Flea founders hosting November market at 21c

Most of Cincinnati is familiar with the City Flea, the city’s once a month urban flea market. But this year, founders Nick and Lindsay Dewald are hosting the City Flea Small Mall November 17 from noon to 6 p.m. at the 21c Museum Hotel.
 
The Small Mall will feature locally owned small businesses under one roof, so it’s convenient for shoppers. The vendors are all ones that the Dewalds love from around the city.
 
“We want to bring a heightened awareness to the number of unique small businesses that are in the city,” Dewald says. “We’re hoping that, with the event being on a Sunday, more of the shop owners will be able to attend and answer questions, tell shoppers where they’re located and what’s around them. We want to get people excited about the city and what it has to offer.”
 
The 21c is working side-by-side with the City Flea to make the market happen, and Dewald is excited to bring more people to the hotel.
 
“I hope people take the extra time to look at the art at the 21c, and maybe go eat at the Metropole after the market,” he says.
 
The 21c is going to have a bar set up during the market and will offer fun cocktails for shoppers to try.
 
Currently, the Small Mall has about 30 vendors lined up. For a full list of Small Mall vendors, visit thecityflea.com/small-mall.
 
Upcoming City Flea events include the Factory Flea October 19 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the American Can Lofts in Northside and the Wrapped Up Holiday Market December 14 from 5 to 10 p.m. in Washington Park in Over-the-Rhine.
 
By Caitlin Koenig
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Findlay Market using crowdsourcing to fill three new storefronts

By December, three new storefronts will be open to the public at Findlay Market. The storefronts, which are located at 129, 131 and 133 W. Elder St., are on the south side of the Market across from the summer Biergarten.
 
The storefronts have been under construction for the past month and aren’t quite ready for tenants yet. But Findlay Market wants public input on what the stores should be.
 
“Like the ‘Before I Die’ public art project on Short Vine, we created two window displays for customers to tell us what should go there,” says Joe Hansbauer, Executive Director of Findlay Market.
 
The wishing wall, or “I Wish This Store Was,” is located at 129 and 131 W. Elder St.
 
Ideally, one of the three 1,000-square-foot spaces will be a restaurant, but the other two could be anything, Hansbauer says. Ideas for the stores range from a Hispanic grocery store to a store focused on local products that would complement what you can get on the weekends at the Market. A knife sharpener and cookware store are also potential options.
 
About 12 business models have been submitted, and Hansbauer expects to see more in the coming weeks. Both new and existing vendors have shown interest, he says.
 
The residential units above the storefronts won’t be developed at this time, but it’s possible that they’ll be developed and ready for tenants within the next 18 to 24 months.
 
The storefronts are all city-owned and will be transferred to the management of the Corporation for Findlay Market when complete. Graybach was the developer of the project.
 
By Caitlin Koenig
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Schwartz Building to be converted from offices to apartments

The Schwartz Building, which is located at 906 Main St., is soon to become apartments. Black Iron Capital LLC, an affiliate of Levine Properties LLC, purchased the nearly 100-year-old building at a sheriff’s sale earlier this year for $446,000.
 
Black Iron plans to spend about $500,000 renovating four of the five floors of office space into 20 apartments. There will also be 6,705 square feet of first floor retail space available for rent.
 
The five-story building will be completely renovated, and will be LEED Silver certified when finished. The City approved a Community Reinvestment Area LEED tax exemption for the project, which will save Black Iron more than $100,000. 
 
Restoration will repair the building’s terrazzo floors in the entryway, and stainless steel appliances and granite countertops will be installed in each apartment.
 
The Schwartz will house 16 two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartments and four three-bedroom, two-bathroom units that will range from about 900 square feet to 1,300 square feet. Rental rates are still to be determined.
 
Construction began late September, and apartments could be available as soon as May 2014.
 
By Caitlin Koenig
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ArchiNATI festival gives citizens a say in the city's built environment

During the week of Oct. 4–12, Cincinnatians will have the chance to experience the city’s built environment through the third annual ArchiNATI architecture festival. The week will include talks, tours and events throughout the city.
 
This year’s theme is Citizen Space, centering around the concept that every person has a right to the city’s spaces, a stake in its culture and a say in its built environment.
 
“Every year, we choose a theme to highlight one aspect of the city,” says Nick Cristofaro, one of the organizers of this year’s ArchiNATI festival. “This year’s goal is to let everyone know they have a stake in what happens to the city, especially its public spaces. It’s not just about the history of the city, but about celebrating the places we have, both old and new. We want people to see the potential that’s around us every day.”
 
Some highlights of the week include a reception and exhibit at the former Church of Assumption featuring submissions from Place from Space, a design competition in which vacant lots are turned into community spaces. The competition partners with community groups in Over-the-Rhine, Walnut Hills and Price Hill to turn empty spaces into places for the neighborhood. There’s also a dinner, prepared by Chef Stephen Shockley, and an exhibition curated by Daft Galleries at Rhinegeist. Plus, Rookwood Pottery is hosting a reception for the photo scavenger hunt and giving tours of its facility on Vine Street.
 
Most of the week’s events are free and open to the public, but a few of the events will require a small admission fee, tickets or reservations. To see the full list of activities, purchase tickets or make reservations, visit architecturecincy.org or archinati.org.
 
ArchiNATI is sponsored in large part by the Haile Foundation, GBBN Architects, Rookwood Pottery and Listermann Brewing. Each event also has a partner or organization behind it.
 
The Architectural Foundation of Cincinnati is partnering with ArchiNATI for the festival. AFC was founded in 1982, and has enriched the Greater Cincinnati community by connecting people with the places in which they live, learn, work and play. Through programming and educational outreach, AFC strives to involve the public in shaping Cincinnati’s built environment.
 
By Caitlin Koenig
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Third annual ArtWorks Box Truck Carnival brings free entertainment to MidPoint Music Festival

This weekend, MidPoint Music Festival makes its way back to Cincinnati. Music will fill Cincinnati venues, and the MidPoint Midway will take over 12th Street between Vine and Walnut with food, drinks and street festivities, including the ArtWorks Box Truck Carnival, ArtCars and KidPoint.
 
The free event features 10 box trucks, which are transformed from ordinary Penske moving trucks into whimsical, engaging “carnival booths” to fit with this year’s theme. The booths range from karaoke to a how-to on screenprinting.

The idea for the Box Truck Carnival came from ArtWorks’ CEO Tamara Harkavy. She heard of enterprise-based pop-up box truck festivals in San Francisco and Brooklyn, and thought it would be a great way to get ArtWorks involved in MPMF, says Sarah Corlett, director of creative enterprise at ArtWorks and producer of the Box Truck Carnival.
 
“For the first two years ArtWorks was involved in MidPoint, the box trucks were focused on artist installations and interactions,” she says. “But this year, they’re really focused on the carnival theme, and the participants are really playing it up.”
 
Participants include Crane, Neidhard & Stock; House of Leigh; Vincent Holiday, Bombs Away! Comedy, OTR Improv and Lofty Aspirations; Kathleen Rose; Paint by the Glass and Andy Mushaben; Powerhouse Print Lab; The Bird Haus; Grace Dobush, Michelle Taute, Tricia Bateman and Julie Hill; Collective Espresso and Chase Public; and the Kennedy Heights Arts Center.
 
“The introduction of the Box Truck Festival gives us the chance to interact with different artists,” Corlett says. “The biggest benefit is that we now have a deeper connection in the community by offering the box trucks.”
 
Amanda Crane of Crane, Neidhard & Stock (a group of second-year interior design and architecture students at DAAP) are running the Games box truck. They wanted people to engage in a “task” of some kind, which fits well with the carnival theme.
 
“We’re hoping to have a great time, while getting to know Cincinnati better,” Crane says. “We’re also excited to be collaborating with ArtWorks and the other box trucks.”
 
ArtWorks also moved ArtCars from Clifton’s Streetscape festival to the Midway for this year. The live art event employs more apprentices and professional artists than ever before—during the course of the three-day music festival, they transform cars and vans into mobile pieces of art.
 
This is the first year that MPMF and ArtWorks partnered for KidPoint, which is a family-friendly event from noon to 4 p.m. on Saturday. School of Rock Mason will be performing, as well as other bands. Plus, Cincinnati Ballet’s Second Company will be performing pieces of the Ballet’s "Carnival of Animals."
 
“Having something so unique and visible in the city is a huge shout-out for Cincinnati,” Corlett says. “It’s not just a fun place to play, but everyone who is participating lives and works here, too.”
 
By Caitlin Koenig
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Cincinnati Streetcar's Maintenance and Operations Facility underway

The last week of August, two vacant buildings at the corner of Henry and Race streets in Over-the-Rhine were demolished to make way for the Cincinnati Streetcar’s Maintenance and Operations Facility. The MOF will have a high bay area for storage and light maintenance of streetcar vehicles and equipment, as well as an outdoor storage track.
 
The 12,500-square-foot facility will also house offices, locker rooms, break facilities and a small parking lot for streetcar operators and staff. As the system grows, the facility can be expanded to accommodate up to 12 streetcar vehicles. The cost of the MOF is $11.9 million, and it will be completed in March 2015.
 
The streetcar itself, which will operate 18 hours a day and 365 days a year, will be ready for passenger transportation in spring 2016. The first phase will be a 3.6-mile loop that will connect The Banks and Findlay Market, with 18 stops along the route. The route will include stops at Government Square, Fountain Square, the Contemporary Arts Center, the Public Library, the Aronoff Center, Horseshoe Casino, the Gateway Quarter, the School for the Creative and Performing Arts, Music Hall and Washington Park.
 
Due to construction and excavation work at the MOF site, there will be minimal traffic restrictions and a detour—14th Street from Central Parkway to Elm will be closed for the installation of a new sanitary and storm drain installation.
 
By Caitlin Koenig
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Beasley Place housing development coming to OTR

Two buildings on Republic Street in Over-the-Rhine will soon become a 14-unit affordable housing project called Beasley Place. Redevelopment of 1405 and 1407 Republic St. will begin this fall, and should be finished by fall 2014.
 
The project is named for Willie and Fannie Beasley, who were former residents of one of the buildings. They were long-time residents of the building, and their roots ran deep on Republic Street—everyone knew them, says Ashleigh Finke, project manager at Over-the-Rhine Community Housing.
 
“I think the story behind the name really captures why we as an organization exists,” she says. “There are many wonderful people like the Beasleys who have strong roots in the neighborhood and contribute so much to the heart and soul of OTR that we want to make sure are able to continue to live in OTR.”
 
Beasley Place, which is a five-story historic building with about 23,000 square feet, will contain six one-bedroom units, four two-bedroom units and three three-bedroom units, ranging from 681 to 1,402 square feet. Ten of the apartments are designated for people with incomes below 60 percent of the Area Median Income, and three units are earnarked for people with incomes below 30 percent of AMI.
 
There will also be about 1,200 square feet of first floor, storefront commercial space, plus an elevator and on-site laundry for residents. The building will meet enterprise green communities requirements and will have Energy Star appliances and lighting.
 
The total cost of the Beasley Place project is just under $3 million. The buildings are owned and will be developed by OTRCH, and HGC Construction is the general contractor of the project.
 
The project is receiving state and federal historic tax credits, City of Cincinnati HOME funding, City of Cincinnati Lead Education and Remediation (CLEAR) grant funding, and Housing Development Gap Financing from the Ohio Housing Finance Agency.
 
By Caitlin Koenig
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OTR Foundation receives grant to help add 13 buildings to historic register

Thirteen buildings in Over-the-Rhine will soon be added to the National Register of Historic Places, in part because of a grant provided to the organization by the Ohio Development Services Agency. The $8,000 will allow the Over-the-Rhine Foundation to hire a third party to do the research and prepare the applications for the Register.
 
The grant is a fairly new state initiative—only three awards have been given, and the first was to the Kirby Road School in Northside. The OTR Foundation is the third organization to receive the grant.
 
“As far as we know, we’re the only state that has a program like this,” says Thea Walsh, deputy chief for the Office of Redevelopment. “This is a great new opportunity that the state is coming into with the Ohio Historic Tax Credit program. It will help build more opportunities for communities to attract investors.”
 
Made possible through a partnership with the Ohio Historic Preservation Office, the grant will make the buildings eligible for both the state and federal Historic Preservation Tax Credit programs. The grant will support expanding the historic district in OTR to include the buildings, which are mainly situated along Reading Raod and Central Avenue. These buildings were left out for one reason or another when OTR was named a historic district back in the 1980s, Walsh says.
 
The total cost of the project is about $13,000—the Foundation will work with property owners to raise the private funds needed for the remainder of the project, says Nathaniel Kaelin, program manager for the Ohio Historic Preservation Tax Credit program.
 
“Tens of millions of dollars have already been invested in Over-the-Rhine, and this will only help drive revitalization efforts,” Kaelin says.
 
Two of the buildings are already targeted for redevelopment, and several investors are interested in the future of the buildings.

By Caitlin Koenig
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Elm Street Senior Housing offers affordable housing to seniors in OTR

Construction began last month on the renovation of 1500-06 Elm Street, which in May 2014, will open as Elm Street Senior Housing. It will be the first and only senior housing project in Over-the-Rhine, and serves as the first project that will meet needs of accessibility, affordability and support services for this group.
 
The 14,545-square-foot project, which is owned and being developed by Over-the-Rhine Community Housing with Model Group Construction as the general contractor, will house 14 units of affordable senior housing, plus one live-in building manager. An elevator is being added to the building so seniors can access all three floors. The first floor will also offer a handful of senior services.
 
“Our mission is to help maintain the diverse community of OTR, and this is a huge step forward,” says Ashleigh Finke, project manager at OTRCH. “There’s now going to be a place for seniors to live in the neighborhood.”
 
Elm Street Senior Housing will be LEED silver certified because of its energy efficiency efforts. All of the building’s equipment will be high-efficiency, Finke says.
 
The total cost of the project is about $4 million, with construction costs close to $3 million. It’s being funded through historic tax credits, low-income housing tax credits and the HUD 202 grant for senior housing.
 
“One of the most unique things about the project is that it has to remain affordable senior housing for 40 years,” she says. “It’s not something that’s going to come and go. It will remain serving the needs of the seniors in OTR for a long time.”
 
OTRCH isn’t new to development—it has been around in one form or another since 1978. The nonprofit focuses on property management, property development, community building, and education and advocacy.
 
The building itself has been around for 150 years—Christian Moerlein Brewery Company purchased the site in 1863, and the building was constructed in 1864 to serve as the brewery’s icehouse. Moerlein owned the property for the next 56 years, until it was sold in 1919 during Prohibition. It also served as a saloon, grocery store, food store, market, lunch restaurant, barber, billiards hall and rental flat.
 
Elm Street Senior Housing is slated to be complete by May 2014. Units are available for rent, and interested seniors can apply through OTRCH. Rent is subsidized with HUD 202 money so no tenant will pay more than 30 percent of their income—total rent, including the tenant's portion and the subsidy will be around $470 per month.
 
By Caitlin Koenig
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Saloon Tours adds beer tasting to 'Brothels, Bootleggers and Booze'

Saloon Tours is known for its tours of Cincinnati's saloons, but throughout the month of August, the "Brothels, Bootleggers & Booze Tour" will include a post-tour tasting. Each week, different craft breweries and distilleries will be featured.

The tours, which are led by Michael Morgan, president of Queen City History and founder of heritage tourism in Cincinnati, start at 11 a.m. every Saturday in August at Arnold's Bar & Grill; the tastings immediately follow the tour.
 
“My goal is to really bring a fresh perspective to Cincinnati,” says Morgan. “The city has a rich history, and it’s very old for an American city. Cincinnatians haven’t done a very good job of retaining that history or celebrating it, or even knowing it. I want to turn people onto that rich history and make it enjoyable for them.”
 
This is the first time “Brothels, Bootleggers & Booze” has included a tasting. “Part of the inspiration behind it was that Arnold’s just got in a new 23-tap handle system, so they’re going to have the best selection of local beers of anyone in Cincinnati,” says Morgan.
 
The featured breweries and distilleries for August included Christian Moerlein (Aug. 3) and Listermann Brewing (Aug. 10). Middle West Spirits, which makes handcrafted OYO brand vodkas, bourbons and ryes out of Columbus, will be at the Aug. 17 tasting, and Rhinegeist is on tap for Aug. 24 and Blank Slate Brewing will be featured Aug. 31.
 
Arnold’s was built in 1838 as a brothel, and is Cincinnati’s oldest continuously operating saloon—it became a saloon in 1861. Tour guests get the inside scoop and colorful history of the saloon, and take a walking tour of Cincinnati’s dozens of breweries, distilleries and almost 2,000 saloons that made the city notorious for drunkenness and mayhem. The tours start and end at Arnold’s.
 
The tour and tasting combos are $30, and tours without the tasting are $25. Tickets are available on the Saloon Tours' website.
 
By Caitlin Koenig
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New food tradition coming to Over-the-Rhine

On Aug. 10, Over-the-Rhine restaurants and businesses will be participating in the first ever Taste of Over-the-Rhine. The event will be held from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. in Washington Park.
 
Taste of Over-the-Rhine celebrates the tastes, flavors and sounds of OTR through food, art, music, shopping and the people of the neighborhood.
 
The event is being put on by Tender Mercies, which provides permanent housing to about 150 formerly homeless adults who have mental illnesses. Its building and residences are located at 12th, Race and Elm streets in OTR. As a member of the community, Tender Mercies wants to be a neighborhood partner for OTR residents and business owners.
 
“The event is meant to provide another community and neighborhood element to OTR,” says Casey Gilmore, partner at Cincy Events Management. “All of the businesses that are participating are locally owned, not chains.”
 
The food and drink vendors that are participating in the event are The Anchor-OTR, Eli’s Barbeque, Coffee Emporium, Findlay Market, The Lackman, Lavomatic, MOTR Pub, Taste 513, Venice on Vine, Moerlein, Lucy Blue Pizza, Kaze and Street Pops. Food trucks Dojo Gelato, Café de Wheels and Urban Grill will also be part of Taste of Over-the-Rhine.
 
All OTR restaurants were asked to participate—featured restaurants said “yes” based on their staffing for the weekend.
 
Food and drink prices will be low, around $4 or $5. There will also be a tasting element for dogs, where they can try out different dog food from Pet Wants, the Findlay Market pet store.
 
There will be music too. The main stage will feature acts such as Joanie Whittaker, Peraza Music Workshop, Hayden Kaye, The Almighty Get Down, Cla-Zels, Golden Shoes, Magnolia Mountain and Wussy.
 
By Caitlin Koenig
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