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Easter Seals TriState partnering with Price Hill Will for Youth Build projects

This year, Easter Seals TriState is partnering with Price Hill Will for its Youth Build program. The first project and collaboration effort is a complete rehabilitation of 1017 Fisk Ave., a residential property in Price Hill, which will be put back on the market in much better shape.
 
Construction began on March 10, with a “wall breaking” event on March 14.
 
The project will provide 18 at-risk youth the opportunity to work in construction and learn pre-apprenticeship skills, while furthering their academic careers through a GED program or classes through Cincinnati State.
 
Participants will spend two days on-site and two days off, with the last day of the week reserved for their priority site—either academic, training or work site. Participants earn $8 per hour, which helps them meet their needs and provides a financial incentive for their academic progress, says Debbie Smith, VP of Education for Employment at Easter Seals TriState.
 
Youth Build is a national U.S. Department of Labor program, with more than 273 program sites across the country. Youth Build is open to men and women ages 18-24 who want to improve their lives by earning their high school diploma or GED while preparing for a career in construction or advanced manufacturing.
 
The program connects young adults to education, develops their leadership skills, provides one-on-one case management, connects them to job and apprenticeship opportunities, and builds their construction and/or advanced manufacturing skills.
 
To enroll in Youth Build, you must perform at a minimum 6th grade level in math and reading, be willing to commit to six months paid construction training, and be willing to work toward your high school diploma or GED with the goal of attending post-secondary school or training.
 
By Caitlin Koenig
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Local brewer paying homage to Taft with new brewery, restaurant

There will soon be a new brewery on the scene in Over-the-Rhine. Kevin Moreland, former head brewer at Listermann/Triple Digit Brewing Company, is opening Taft’s Ale House in the historic St. Paul’s Church complex.
 
Built in the 1850s, the church has been abandoned since the ’80s. The city acquired the church and attempted to repair it, but the funds were never there. 3CDC bought it in 2010 for $350,000, and later made about $450,000 worth of structural repairs, including a new roof and some internal work.
 
Several other tenants were considered for the space, including offices and other commercial options.  
 
Taft’s Ale House pays homage to the 27th President of the United States and Cincinnati native William Howard Taft. The $8 million brewery is looking to open this fall or winter.
 
Taft’s beer will be made from locally sourced ingredients and is inspired by OTR restaurants, bars and specialty food retailers. There will be 12 beers on tap—three staples chosen by patrons, and the others will rotate seasonally. There will also be a menu with pub fare, which will include tri-tip steak sandwiches.
 
All three floors of the church will be utilized by Taft’s. The first floor, or Big Billy’s Basement, will house the brewery’s barrel-aged projects and rotating taps of local beer. The second floor will be the main beer hall with a view of the entire brewing process, including the eight 20BBL fermenters and eight 20BBL serving vessels behind the bar, separated by a catwalk. The third floor, or Brauzzine, will be the dining room that overlooks the beer hall.
 
By Caitlin Koenig
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Sam Adams brewery expanding OTR location

In June, the city approved plans to develop a brewery district in Over-the-Rhine. Part of that district includes the expansion of the Sam Adams brewery.
 
Cincinnati is one of three places in the country to brew Sam Adams beer.
 
Sam Adams is planning a 6,700-square-foot expansion of its Central Parkway facility. The brewery will be putting $6 million of improvements into the facility, with $3.5 million toward building new beer storage and $2.3 million in new beer storage tanks.
 
The brewery, whose build-out is being handled by Cincinnati-based Reece-Campbell Inc., will hold 14 large tanks with the space for six more tanks to be added; nine tanks will be added to the bottling and packaging facility.
 
Sam Adams is currently hiring eight positions, including a project engineer and brewing operator.
 
By Caitlin Koenig
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LISC Community Advantage loans to benefit small businesses

This year, Local Initiatives Support Cooperation received its Community Advantage license from the Small Business Administration. The brand-new program is one of eight LISC markets in the country to offer this type of loans.
 
The loans range from $50,000 to $250,000, and can be used by small businesses for working capital, real estate, inventory, equipment and tenant improvements. Businesses must be for-profit, and even startups can qualify, as long as they have two years of experience in the industry and a strong team and plan in place.
 
“Community Advantage is an SBA-guaranteed loan program to help entrepreneurs launch or expand small businesses, particularly in low- to moderate-income communities,” says Patrick Duhaney, program officer for LISC.
 
LISC’s program now offers existing businesses and startups that are viable, but for one reason or another aren’t strong enough for traditional bank financing, access to the capital needed in order to launch or expand.
 
Community Advantage has yet to finance any businesses, but there are a few on the horizon, Duhaney says.
 
LISC has been operating in Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky since 2000. In that time, it has awarded more than $75 million in grants and loans, including loans that supported the new Anna Louise Inn, single-family and senior housing projects, and Covington’s Pike Star building.
 
By Caitlin Koenig
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Price Hill Will partnering with CBI to create neighborhood plan

Price Hill Will is teaming up with Xavier University’s Community Building Institute to create a community plan. The planning process will include a series of town hall meetings to engage residents, business owners, employees, property owners and other neighborhood stakeholders.
 
“We’re entering into another chapter of our revitalization story,” says Diana Vakharia, director of economic development for Price Hill Will. “Millions have been invested in roadways, housing, commerce, education and recreation, and without a doubt is a direct result of collaboration between residents, businesses, city and nonprofit organizations.”
 
Recently, there has been an emergence of different approaches to community transformation in Price Hill, including the work of CoreChange/Waterfields, LLC, Roberts Academy, Santa Maria’s International Welcome Center, the Arts Center at Dunham, MYCincinnati and Enright Ridge Urban Eco-Village/CSA.
 
The plan came about after East Price Hill was chosen to be part of the Neighborhood Enhancement Program, which begins this month in the neighborhood. The city will be handling the NEP zone, which is the Warsaw neighborhood business district, and CBI Lower, East and West Price Hill.
 
The plan will address ways to increase involvement from a broader spectrum of the community, and put structures in place to achieve specific goals and identify/prioritize redevelopment and revitalization projects.
 
“The engagement of as many stakeholders as possible isn’t a necessity, but it’s essential to getting a common vision, prioritizing projects and ensuring we have the capacity to turn that vision into a reality,” Vakharia says.
 
Since the Price Hill area is so large and is geographically connected to downtown, Northern Kentucky, the interstates and the west side of the city, Vakharia says it makes sense to approach planning and development regionally.
 
Price Hill Will also hopes the plan will help reinvigorate participation and engage the growing Hispanic and African American population in Price Hill.
 
“Communities directly affect one another, so we’re hoping the plan will help find the unique opportunities in each neighborhood and enrich those opportunities by placing them in the context of the entire area,” Vakharia says.
 
By Caitlin Koenig
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Senate, Abigail Street owners opening third restaurant

Over-the-Rhine restaurateurs Daniel and Lana Wright are looking to open their third restaurant, Pontiac Bourbon and BBQ, at 1403 Vine St. this summer.
 
The Wrights, owners of Senate and Abigail Street, plan to focus Pontiac’s menu on barbeque favorites such as Texas brisket, Memphis-style ribs, Alabama-style chicken and Frito pie. The bar will be stocked with a variety of bourbon, whiskey and beer; there will also be a choice of sodas from the Wrights childhood.
 
Pontiac will have seating for about 60, and will offer take-out options by-the-pound. It will be open for lunch and dinner Tuesday-Sunday.
 
By Caitlin Koenig
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Madisonville to build 500 gardens

Madisonville has a goal of having 500 food-producing gardens for residents and workers in 2014 and beyond. The initiative, 500 Gardens, was created by Sidestreams Foundation, Inc., and the Madisonville Community Urban Redevelopment Corporation.
 
Sidestreams is a nonprofit whose mission is to generate urban sustainability through education and infrastructure projects, and to change the landscape of communities one garden at a time.
 
Due to large lots, a tradition of gardening and active community partners, Sidestreams believes Madisonville is the ideal spot for 500 Gardens. It is also designated as a USDA Food Desert. And over the past two years, Sidestreams has worked with the Lighthouse Community School to build gardens in parking lots and a vacant lot.
 
Garden plots will be built in March, April and May as four-by-eight-foot raised beds filled with soil.
 
500 Gardens is looking for three types of volunteers for the initiative: gardeners who live or have a business in Madisonville who want to create a garden; volunteers to help build the gardens; and experienced food gardeners to server as mentors.

Sidestreams will provide a garden for a small fee, and gardeners will need to attend a basic gardening class where they will receive seeds and be paired with a mentor. There are also community garden plots available for those who don’t have a space of their own to garden.
 
By Caitlin Koenig
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Blend brings community space, coffee shop, restaurant to Covington

On March 3, Bobby and Stephanie Kimball will open their coffee shop/restaurant, Blend, in Covington. The space, which is located at 14 E. Fifth St., will seat 30, and food will be available to-go and for delivery via bicycle.
 
Bobby, a former chef, left the food industry about 10 years ago to become a comedian and magician. And in the last few years, he and Stephanie, who has also worked with food, decided it was time to open a restaurant of their own.
 
“In the last few years, it hit me that life is too short, so why not do what we’ve been dreaming of doing,” Bobby says.
 
Blend is a family affair, with Bobby and Stephanie’s daughter helping manage the restaurant, as Bobby still has a full schedule touring and performing. He built all of the cabinets, and all of the magazine racks are made from reused pallets.
 
Blend’s menu will focus on simple but gourmet dishes, and will feature four salads, two soups and about eight sandwiches for lunch. A few highlights include the quinoa salad with seasonal vegetables and a roasted garlic vinaigrette; vegetarian French onion soup that can be made gluten-free and vegan; and the Adult Grilled Cheese with aged cheddar cheese, sliced apples and prosciutto on sourdough bread.
 
There’s also a breakfast menu, including the Eggamuffin sandwich and maple wrap, which is a thin buttermilk pancake wrapped around eggs, sausage and a potato hash that you can dip in warm maple syrup.
 
All of Blend’s food is fresh and locally sourced, including the coffee, which is from Seven Hills Coffee in Blue Ash. Bobby is even smoking the turkey in-house and making the sausage.
 
“We want Blend to bring a sense of community to Covington,” Bobby says. “It’s really coming into its own, and it’s such a great area with lots of revitalization going on.”
 
Bobby wants Blend to be a place where people come to gather, and not just for great coffee and food. He plans to host pop-up dinners featuring local chefs and open the place to local groups for meetings.
 
“We’re reaching out to drug outreach groups who want to hold meetings for the friends and family of addicts,” Bobby says. “We think it’s important for families to have somewhere to go.”
 
Bobby also wants to see local art on the two large, bare walls in the dining area of Blend. Artists will receive 100 percent of the sales. If you’re interested in displaying your work at Blend, contact Bobby at 812-912-1448.
 
Blend’s hours are Monday-Thursday form 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., with later hours on Friday and Saturday for music and open mic nights (7 a.m. to 7 p.m.).
 
By Caitlin Koenig
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Go Dutch design firm moves to OTR

In May, brand design firm Go Dutch will move from Covington to its new home across the river. Its new location will be in the Emanuel Center Building at 1380 Race St. in Over-the-Rhine.
 
The firm will occupy a 4,600-square-foot space on the third floor. The move will allow Go Dutch to hire additional employees to add to its current staff of 10.
 
Formerly the Emanuel Community Center, the 143-year-old building was converted into office space for entrepreneurs by Grandin Properties.
 
Go Dutch, which was founded in 2011 by a group of former Landor employees, is doing most of the space design work themselves. The firm is working with Aubrie Welsh Interiors, a frequent collaborator of theirs, on the job.  
 
By Caitlin Koenig
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Moerlein adds restaurant to OTR taproom

Today, Christian Moerlein is holding a soft opening for Wienerwurst Mike Frankfurtary, a new restaurant at the brewery’s Over-the-Rhine taproom. The event marks the 161st anniversary of the founding of the original Moerlein brewery, and the 10th anniversary of the brewery’s renaissance.
 
The 19th-century deli and frankfurtary is named for the roaming sausage vendors who sold to hungry saloon goers in the OTR of the past. They were called Wienerwurst Mike.
 
The concept for the restaurant came from S&J Bakery and Café in Findlay Market.
 
Moerlein has tapped a new beer for the occasion, 10/161 Winter Warmer Ale, which was aged in bourbon barrels for three months. The beer has notes of vanilla and, of course, bourbon, as well as sharp oak tannins and rich chocolate malt.
 
Food will be served during taproom hours, plus Wednesday and Thursday from 4 to 10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday until midnight; and Sunday until 7 p.m.
 
By Caitlin Koenig
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Westfalen Lofts II offers condo living on future streetcar line

Westfalen Lofts II, located at 1426-1438 Race St. in Over-the-Rhine, is an extension of Westfalen Lofts. The project involved converting seven buildings into one condo development.
 
When completed, Westfalen II will include 33 for-sale units, plus about 4,000 square feet of commercial space right along the streetcar line. A few of the first-floor units have the ability to be sold as live/work spaces.
 
Units range in square footage from 531 square feet for a studio to 1,366 square feet for a two-bedroom. Prices range from about $90,000 to about $300,000. Units will go on sale in March.
 
Every fireplace in the original seven buildings was preserved for the development. Other features of the condos include sliding barn doors, stainless steel appliances, hardwood floors and open floor plans.
 
Northpointe Group is the developer on the project.
 
By Caitlin Koenig
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Fresh Thyme markets coming to Tri-State

A new specialty grocer will soon be opening two locations in Cincinnati—one in Oakley and one in Symmes Township. The Fresh Thyme Farmers Market is like an outdoor farmers market but combined with a full-service grocery store.
 
Fresh Thyme has plans to open more than 60 stores in the Midwest in the next five years. Its first location in Mount Prospect, Ill., will open this spring, followed by eight more in 2014, including the Cincinnati locations in the fall.
 
The stores are roughly 28,000 square feet, and 80-100 employees will be hired for each Cincinnati location.
 
Fresh Thyme focuses on locally sourced, organic fruits and vegetables. The stores will have more than 400 bins of natural and organic bulk items, plus small batch locally roasted coffee beans. Stores will also have a butcher shop with all-natural handmade sausage and meat raised without hormones, specialty sections with gluten-free and dairy-free products, a full dairy with local items, a Hops & Grapes department with wine and local craft beer, varieties of vitamins, supplements and natural body care products, and a section with ready-made healthy meals for on-the-go.
 
Follow Fresh Thyme on Facebook and Twitter (@FreshThymeFM) for updates on the Cincinnati stores.
 
By Caitlin Koenig
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NKY Galaxie Skateshop opening second location in Northside

Galaxie Skateshop has been operating in Newport for just over six years, and on March 1, owners Gary Collins and Zach Kincaid are opening their second location in Northside.
 
“Galaxie will be a centrally located place for skateboarders to grab their gear, meet up and help dispel the myth that skateboarding is a negative activity,” Collins says.
 
Collins and Kincaid remodeled and renovated the 1,200-square-foot shop on Hamilton Avenue themselves. The shop will sell anything and everything that revolves around the skateboard culture, from boards and apparel to footwear and accessories.
 
“We’ve always wanted to do a shop in Northside,” Collins says. “It’s the most diverse and artistic part of Cincinnati that attracts a lot of skateboarders, musicians and creative types that have connections to the skateboard culture.”
 
Galaxie is 100 percent skater-owned, Collins says, who has been in the skateboarding business for more than 20 years. He’s been running Instrument Skateboards for the last eight or so, and he plans to carry it and other local brands like Absorb, Hella Cool, OATW, Curb Cult and Revive in the store.
 
Collins is also the driving force, both financially and physically, of the Newport DIY skatepark Under471.
 
By Caitlin Koenig
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Nourish Yourself offers healthy, home-cooked meals to busy clients

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

Urban Awakening’s second year kicks off February 27 with a symposium on Price Hill. Speakers include Mayor John Cranely, and Ken Smith and Diana Vakharia from the Price Hill Will.

Urban Awakenings is geared toward sponsor Bayer Becker’s clients—the developers, architects, landscape architects and construction companies that are looking for new opportunities.
 
Last year’s series included Walnut Hills, Northside, Over-the-Rhine and College Hill. This year’s hasn’t been set in stone, but Bayer Becker is looking at several neighborhoods, including Bond Hill, Madisonville and Northern Kentucky.
 
“We’re trying to stay on top of neighborhoods with momentum, those that are utilizing form-based code and other developments,” says Mike Dooley, associate at Bayer Becker.
 
After last year, many neighborhoods and companies have approached the firm and have asked to be included in the series.
 
“Having different neighborhood organizations ask if they can be involved gives encouragement to continue in the future,” Dooley says.
 
The program this year is very similar to last year’s, but Bayer Becker is looking to bring in city leadership to get their perspective on different neighborhoods and share their vision for the future. This would be in addition to representatives from the neighborhood as well.
 
The symposium is invitation only, but Bayer Becker plans to make the presentations available to the public, and make them more about the city than about the firm.
 
By Caitlin Koenig
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