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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.

Local couple brings Wiedemann beer back to Newport

Next spring, Newport will once again be home to the Geo. Wiedemann Brewing Co., which closed and moved to Evansville, Ind., in 1983. But local Jon Newberry is bringing the brand back to Northern Kentucky, and will operate out of a 10,000-square-foot space in WaterTower Square.    
“I want to bring some of the good times people remember back to the area,” Newberry says. “There’s more nightlife in Newport, we want to add to it, and bring people from Ohio here, expanding the brewery trail development that’s going on over there.”
George Wiedemann founded the brewery in 1870, and under his direction it grew to be the largest in Kentucky. Heilemann Brewing, a Wisconsin company, purchased Wiedemann in 1967, and operated the brewery in Newport until 1983.
At the time, Heilemann was purchasing a number of regional breweries, and decided to move Wiedemann to the old Sterling Brewery in Evansville, but it shut down in the 1990s. Pittsburgh Brewing then acquired the rights to the Wiedemann brand and made the beer until 2006, when they filed for bankruptcy.
The trademark rights to Wiedemann had expired, so Newberry applied for the rights. When he brought the brand back, he introduced a new beer, Wiedemann Special Lager. Wiedemann is currently available in stores and restaurants throughout the Greater Cincinnati area, including Pompilio’s in Newport and Mecklenburg Gardens.
The new brewery will have a large taproom with about 12 Wiedemann beers on tap, and will serve food as well. Newberry also wants to offer tours and host beer-related events. There will also be an outdoor biergarten with a bar that will be set up in the building’s existing courtyard.
“This will be the third brewery in Newport, and people have been really encouraging and are excited to have some Newport pride back,” Newberry says.

Plans are still in the works, but Newberry hopes to have construction underway by next month.

Interact for Health awards grant for trail system work

Interact for Health recently awarded Groundwork Cincinnati/Mill Creek a grant for $186,000. The grant will go toward research and analysis on ways to connect the existing and planned trails in Cincinnati, and for securing local, state and federal funds.
This past year, the Green Umbrella Regional Trails Alliance, through another grant from Interact for Health, mapped 391 miles of existing trails, 439 miles of planned trails, and 1,293 miles of potential trails in the Greater Cincinnati area. Groundwork Cincinnati/Mill Creek’s grant will advance the planning for trails that will complete the core of the city’s trail system.
The goal is to create a green, urban loop of interconnected trails that will link people and places, as well as encourage walking, hiking, running and bicycling. The city’s current trails include Mill Creek Greenway Trail, Ohio River Trail West, Wasson Way, Little Duck Creek, Oasis Line and Ohio Riverfront Trail East.
The grant will make advance planning for each trail possible, and will help ensure that connector trails are identified and built in order to create a seamless trail system.
The Connecting City Trails Project Steering Committee will oversee the project, and will include representatives from Interact for Health, the city, Queen City Bike, Green Umbrella Regional Trails Alliance and the six city trail groups. The committee will be assisted by a team from Human Nature.

Frameshop opens Workshop in Walnut Hills

Frameshop recently moved the back end of its framing business to 700 E. McMillan in Walnut Hills. It’s in the same building as Beck Paint and Hardware, and will allow Frameshop the space to do the woodwork and finishing on pieces.
Co-owner Jake Baker says they ran out of space to make frames at the Over-the-Rhine location, and needed a place where they could test out their services and maybe develop new products.
“We were looking for new opportunities to work with wood,” Baker says. “Walnut Hills is looking to change the dynamic of the neighborhood, and we’re excited about that.”
Workshop will be housed in a 1,100-square-foot space on the first floor of the building, but they’re also testing out the third floor, which is about 2,000 square feet. It will solely be a workshop, and Frameshop will continue to offer retail options, with hours from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, and appointments during the week.
Baker says they might take appointments at Workshop, as there are customers who like to see the whole framing process, but that’s still up in the air.
Frameshop is expanding in other ways, too. Since opening in 2012, they hired two employees, both graduates of the Art Academy of Cincinnati. They also opened a location in Lexington last September, with the intention of moving to a new space in January. The lease at the new location fell through, so Baker and partner Jake Gerth decided to focus on Cincinnati and the new Workshop.
“Being active in Walnut Hills and OTR is going to allow us to get to know a new set of people, and introduce each neighborhood to a new set of people,” Baker says. “We’re ambassadors for business and the neighborhood of OTR, and we want to do that for Walnut Hills too.

New movie theater concept to offer classics and cocktails

Jacob Trevino’s heart is in craft cocktails—he works at Japp’s—but his other passion is movies. About six months ago, he started trying to find a way to combine his passions.
Trevino has been to movie theaters that serve beer, but he wants to improve upon that idea. His venture, Gorilla Cinema, will feature food and beverages that tie in with the movies being shown.
“Gorilla Cinema will be a truly immersive experience that celebrates the films that I love,” he says.

Trevino plans to show mostly classic movies that everyone has seen at least once. And Gorilla Cinema’s menu, which was designed by Chef Martha Tiffany of The Precinct, will feature upscale pub food that will change for special events. It will also reflect what movie is being shown.
“There’s something about watching a movie in a theater that you can’t get when you watch it at home,” Trevino says. “There’s something magical about going to the theater and seeing your favorite movie on the big screen. It invokes a kind of nostalgia that our generation really didn’t get to experience.”
Trevino is currently looking for a space in Bellevue or Pleasant Ridge to renovate and is seeking investors, but until then, he’s hosting popup events around the city to help build the company. The ideal permanent location for Gorilla Cinema will be in an old movie theater, with seats for 124 people, with space for a front bar and lounge area.
“Gorilla Cinema will celebrate the memories that movies bring back, and help recapture some of those memories,” Trevino says. “People talk about having their first kiss in the movie theater. I remember seeing Jaws for the first time. Movies are a weird art form that people remember when they saw something—they’re engrained in our culture.”
If you’re interested in a popup movie, Gorilla Cinema is hosting a horror movie double feature, with the original Dracula and House on Haunted Hill with Vincent Price, on Oct. 26 in a parking lot at the corner of Montgomery Road and Ridge Avenue in Pleasant Ridge. Keep tabs on its Facebook page for event information.

Permanently show your love for Cincinnati with a CincyInk tattoo

During Midpoint Music Festival, people were asked to share what they love about Cincinnati. Now that MPMF is over, postcards will be available throughout the city for more input.
Thousands of entries are expected, and each message will inspire the creation of a love poem for Cincinnati, which is being coordinated by Chase Public, a Northside-based collaborative art and assembly space. The finished poem will be shared with the city in December.
The campaign, called CincyInk, will serve as the centerpiece of The Cincinnati Tattoo Project. As part of the project, 200 people will get tattoos of words and phrases from the poem. Tattoo artists Kurt Gohde and Kremena Todorova, who were behind similar projects in Lexington and Boulder, will design each of the tattoos.
The tattoos will only be produced once, and each tattoo will be different. The tattoos will feature one to five words from the poem in a simple black serif font, and will be surrounded by a motif of “^,” which represents Cincinnati’s hills and valleys.
The Cincinnati Tattoo Project is free, but if you want to secure your chance to receive a CincyInk tattoo, you can underwrite a stanza of the poem for a monetary donation to the project. Once the poem is finished, underwriters will be able to choose their tattoo. Act fast because there are only 20 Get Inked; Give Ink sponsorships available.
Gohde and Kremena will also create a video that will feature a reading of the CincyInk poem, as well as images of each of the 200 tattoos that were inspired by the poem. The video will be shared with the community at the CincyInk celebration next October.
If you’re interested in a CincyInk tattoo, contact sara@artworkscincinnati.org or visit the CincyInk website.
And if you love Cincinnati but permanent tattoos aren’t for you, you can pick up a package of temporary tattoos here. The tattoos, which were designed by Artworks youth Apprentices, feature images of what make Cincinnati famous, including Graeter’s and the Cincinnati Zoo. Tattoo packages are $14.95, and all proceeds benefit the ArtWorks youth Apprentice Program.

NKY Scholar House to offer housing, programming for low-income student-parents

The Scholar House is a program of the Kentucky Housing Corporation, and is designed to help out low-income families as parents earn post-secondary degrees. The goal is for people to leave the program able to live free of public assistance, including housing.
NKY’s Scholar House, which will be located at 450 W. Sixth St. in Newport, is modeled after ones in Bowling Green, Lexington, Louisville, Owensboro, Paducah and Pikeville. The $8.3 million project broke ground in August, and the plan is to have residents moving in by next August. 
The project is the redevelopment of a parcel of land that houses a community center, which will be connected to the Scholar House’s education center. Eight apartment buildings will each house six, two- and three-bedroom apartments, for a total of 48. Programming at the Scholar House will include a child development center, and the space and staffing for life skills classes.
“The Scholar House’s main emphasis is on the education program, but it will also provide housing and childcare,” says Tammy Weidinger, CEO of the Brighton Center. “We want to be supporting each student throughout their educational endeavors, and if they run into a problem, we want to be there to help them work through it.”
The Brighton Center will manage the Scholar House, as well as provide the education programs, run the child development center and provide case management and life skills workshops for parents.
“We want to help create a community of learning and support for people who are going through the same experience,” Weidinger says. “It’s hard to be a parent and go to school full-time. There will be enough support to help parents work through that, and they will be there to support each other, too.”
The project is being funded through a variety of sources, but the largest is low-income tax credits through the Kentucky Housing Corporation, as well as a grant through the Affordable Housing Trust Fund. It also received a Community Development Block Grant from the Campbell County Fiscal Court.
In order to qualify for the Scholar House, residents must be at least 18 years old, be considered low-income and have children. They also must be enrolled in a two- or four-year degree program at a state college, as well as attend six life skills workshops a year.
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