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Metro issues RFP for streetcar branding

Today, Metro issued a request for proposals for the streetcar’s branding. Proposals are due May 23 at 4 p.m.
Earlier this year, the city requested that Metro assume responsibility for the streetcar’s marketing and community education. The branding RFP is a preliminary step toward Metro’s role as the operator of the streetcar.
The design of the station stops, vehicles, color scheme, maintenance facility and other physical aspects of the streetcar have been finalized. But the RFP will include the streetcar’s logo and guidelines related to the use that will be needed for everything related to its operations, including vehicles, signs, operators’ uniforms, website and printed materials.
All costs for the streetcar branding are being paid for by federal funds, not Metro’s operating budget.
To learn more about bid opportunities, including the branding RFP, visit Metro’s website.
By Caitlin Koenig
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Mansions of Lafayette Avenue featured on CPA House Tour

Three historic houses in Clifton will be featured at the Cincinnati Preservation Association’s 2014 Mansions of Lafayette Avenue House Tour. The tour, which requires advance reservations, is from 1 to 5 p.m. May 10.
The houses range in style, but all were built in the mid- to late 1800s. Two (Oakwood and Scarlet Oaks) are on the National Register of Historic Places, and two were built for “barons of Clifton.”
Oakwood, a Norman Revival style home that was built in 1866, has been on the National Register since 1972. Constructed for Henry Probasco, it was designed by William Tinsley and built by Isaac Graveson. The house sits on 20 acres of land, and is built from limestone and sandstone.  
Scarlet Oaks, which was built in 1870, is a High Victorian Gothic mansion that was designed by James K. Wilson for George Shoenberger. The two-and-a-half-story house has been used as a sanitarium, and is currently a retirement home affiliated with the Deaconess Hospital.
The last home, Stonehedge, is a Swiss Chalet with Arts and Crafts flavor home that was built in 1887. Plympton & Trowbridge were the architects, and it was built for Harries C. and Elizabeth J. Hulbert.
For tickets, call 513-721-4506 or order online at cincinnatipreservation.org. Tickets are $25 for CPA members and $30 for guests or nonmembers.
Will call and parking will be available at the Cincinnati Woman’s Club. The tour is sponsored by Kroger, Cincinnatihistorichomes.com, Crapsey & Gilles, ArchitectsPlus and Hincon, Inc.
By Caitlin Koenig
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Bourbon bar opening this summer in Northside

In June, Northside will welcome a bourbon bar to the neighborhood. The Littlefield, which will be located at 3930 Spring Grove Ave., is an idea that has been in the works for about five years.
“All four of us owners live in Northside,” says co-owner Matt Distel. “It’s where we choose to spend our time and money.”
Two of the owners are developers, and have started to get control of a number of buildings in the neighborhood. The Littlefield will actually be housed in one of those buildings.
The physical space is only about 400 square feet, but Distel says that the outdoor deck and patio are about triple that size.
Distel says they’re also looking to partner with Northside nonprofits and art organizations to focus on what makes the neighborhood fun and interesting.
“We want to highlight those organizations, and maybe have drinks specials or nights where we can help promote their events,” he says.
The Littlefield won’t just focus on bourbon, but will serve regional and craft-based beer and other alcohol, as well. Cocktails will be bourbon-based, with housemade bitters, and some will be cask-aged. Distel and the other owners are partnering with Shoshana Hafner, the former chef at Honey, on the menu, which will feature her take on typical bar food.
By Caitlin Koenig
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Covington police receive grant to strengthen community partnership

The Covington Police Department was recently awarded a competitive national grant that recognizes the vision and cooperation within the community. The department was one of three across the country to receive funding for the Community Development and Policing Project from the U.S. Department of Justice, the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services and LISC.
Covington Police, with assistance from the Center for Greater Neighborhoods, was awarded the grant to design a project that would help law enforcement build a partnership with community leaders as they respond to crime in vacant and nuisance properties. With grant and technical assistance from LISC experts, Covington will serve as grounds for innovative police training tools.
The grant isn’t a monetary award but a training one that Covington can then take to other communities. Fifteen sergeants and five lieutenants in the department will receive training, and they will then train the leaders of their street-level staff.
The Center for Great Neighborhoods staff and members of the City of Covington’s economic development department will also participate in training to ensure relationships and common language are developed throughout the city.
By Caitlin Koenig
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AtriCure to anchor Mason's new bioscience corridor, add 25 jobs

West Chester-based medical device maker AtriCure is moving its global headquarters to Mason. It will anchor Mason’s new bioscience corridor in the OakPark District when the facility is complete in late 2015.
Currently, AtriCure is located in a 50,000-square-foot-space on Centre Park Drive, and will move to a new two-story, 85,000-square-foot space on Western Row and Innovation Way.
OakPark is a walkable area that features restaurants, creative spaces and retail. Tenants include Luxottica EyeMed Vision Care, Stress Engineering Services' medical technologies division, Lindner Center of HOPE and Seapine Software.
The 14-year-old company has about 175 employees, and is looking to add 25 more employees over the next five years. The company received $2.9 million in financial investments over the next 15 years from the city of Mason, including property tax abatement.
Construction will begin on the building later this year, and should be completed by late 2015 or early 2016.
By Caitlin Koenig
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New website helps drivers navigate Cincinnati construction

The City of Cincinnati launched a new website last week to help drivers navigate the construction downtown. RoadmapCincy.com highlights construction areas and provides detours to help alleviate traffic.
RoadmapCincy focuses on construction in Over-the-Rhine, downtown and along the riverfront. It also aggregates tweets from the city and other organizations so users know what’s happening on the streets around them.
In the coming months, downtown will see construction continue or begin on several projects, including the new dunnhumby building on Race Street between Fifth and Sixth streets; a hotel on Walnut Street between Fourth and Fifth streets; streetcar tracks along Central Parkway and soon in downtown; a new apartment tower on top of the parking garage at Seventh and Broadway streets; and a building at Sixth and Walnut streets.
Cincinnatians can follow @roadmapcincy on Twitter for the latest updates.
By Caitlin Koenig
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Green Umbrella reveals master trails plan and app for locating trails

Green Umbrella recently unveiled the Tri-State’s first master plan for the countless trails that cross Southwest Ohio, Northern Kentucky and Southeastern Indiana. The plan was first shown to about 150 trail builders, leaders and advocates during the recent annual Trails Summit.
The master plan is the result of the effort to catalog the region’s trail system and get input on what it can become; 13 meetings were held across nine counties to gain input. The plan was funded by a $70,000 grant from Interact for Health, and Human Nature oversaw the plan’s mapping and helped facilitate community outreach.
During the summit, Green Umbrella also debuted MeetMeOutdoors.com, the first local tool to connect residents to the region’s trails, parks and other recreational assets.

The website includes a mobile-phone friendly app of regional trails that stretch from the Great Miami River Trail south of Dayton to the Connector Trails in Northern Kentucky. It also includes links to recreational events, destinations, retailers and volunteer opportunities.
By Caitlin Koenig
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Eli's Barbeque, Maverick Chocolate opening at Findlay Market

Two new businesses, Eli’s Barbeque and Maverick Chocolate, will soon be opening on Elder Street at Findlay Market. Both businesses signed three-year agreements for their respective spaces.
Eli’s BBQ got its start at the market years ago, and the new permanent location will be open until 9 p.m. six days a week. Maverick Chocolate is a craft chocolate maker that produces product direct from cocoa beans. It will be the first bean-to-bar chocolate company in Ohio.
The market’s main goal is to increase foot traffic and business activity on the south side of the market, and improve visibility for existing businesses like Saigon Market. In the coming months, additional storefronts will be built out on the south side, and all storefronts on that side are expected to be occupied, except Luken’s cold storage building and the Mr. Pig building.
There are also plans to bring in a café for one of the market’s more prominent spaces at the corner of Race and Elder.
The two new businesses follow a months-long renovation of three storefronts, 129-133 Elder St., on the south side of the market. Each space is about 1,000 square feet, and were made possible by a $500,000 contribution from the city’s Department of Trade & Development.
Findlay Market is still looking to fill the third storefront. If you’re interested in leasing it, please contact Joe Hansbauer or call 513-604-7567.
By Caitlin Koenig
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Kintimate Costumes expands in owner's Northside home

Lucia Jackson, a busy mother and corporate retail consultant, went to school to design wedding gowns. But somewhere along the line, her love of costumes turned into a business she runs from her Northside home. On June 14, Kintimate Costumes is holding a mod-themed open house to celebrate its expansion.
Jackson’s three-bedroom home at 1522 Knowlton will soon be full of costumes. Since its founding in 2011, Jackson has operated Kintimate from the house’s attic, but her inventory has grown exponentially since then.
“The costumes started to burst the seams of the attic, and I knew it was time to expand,” Jackson says. “No matter how much inventory I have, this house will be able to store it.”
With so much growth in Northside, Jackson says she’s in a prime location. Twenty new apartments will soon be built next door to her, and another 80 are going in across the street. “I hope that those 100 people will need costumes,” she says.
Jackson has something new in store for costume lovers and party-goers. Kintimate will now be offering a party planning option, with parties held at Jackson’s house or with Kintimate throwing a party at another location.
Although she hasn’t done any advertising for the party planning, she has already hosted a number of gatherings, from bachelorette parties to baby showers to a wedding reception for 500 guests.
“My friends and I recently dressed up as Disney princesses for a 4-year-old’s birthday party,” Jackson says. “We showed up, had cake and read the kids stories. It’s probably the most beautiful thing I’ve ever done.”
For the 2014-2015 school year, Kintimate is partnering with Cincinnati Public Schools through School Aids. Jackson wants to work with schools’ theatrical departments to teach kids how to find costumes, research them and make them rather than hiring a company like Kintimate to make them. With that, when a school is finished with a costume, Kintimate will then rent or sell it, with the proceeds from each sale or rental going back to the original designer.
“I would love to see us working with students from DAAP and independent designers,” Jackson says. “They could use the program as a great jumping off point. And I would love to see my costumes attached to a number of designers.”
Jackson has big dreams for Kintimate—in a few years, she would love to see a number of locations, each with a team of designers busy making costumes.
“When I was a teenager, my dad told me that I couldn’t party the rest of my life,” she says. “I think that’s the only thing he’s ever been wrong about.”
For starters, Kintimate will be open three or four days through the weekend, from noon to 6 or 7 p.m. It will always be available for appointments, and parties can be booked any time. 
By Caitlin Koenig
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German cafe opens in Newport

When Elena Williams moved to the United States from Germany in 2005, she didn’t think she would open a café. But after working as a manager at Panera and a barista at Starbucks, she realized she wanted to own a restaurant. On April 9, Katharina’s Café and Konditorei opened on Overton Street in Newport.
“I had this location in mind for a café, along with a few others,” Williams says. “When it became available, I knew it was perfect.”

Williams did some remodeling of the space, including painting, adding walls and a breakfast nook, as well as purchasing new tables and chairs and installing free Wi-Fi.
Katharina’s, which is named for Williams’ grandmother, serves breakfast and lunch with items made fresh daily by her mother and cook Christine Hambuch. The menu is made up of soups, salads and sandwiches, as well as a few main dishes like Tortellini in Rahmsosse (tortellini in a ham and cream sauce).
Williams says the chicken salad baguette and Belegte Brötchen (your choice of Black Forest ham, smoked ham, salami and cheese on a roll with sandwich fixings) have been customer favorites so far, as well as the potato soup.
Katharina’s also serves coffee and espresso with beans from Newberry Bros. Coffee, which is down the street. The restaurant resembles traditional German cafés, and has the atmosphere of gemutlichkeit, which is a coziness that inspires a cheery, peaceful mood.  
Katharina’s is open Tuesday-Friday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
By Caitlin Koenig
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BLOC Ministries to own, operate restaurant in Lower Price Hill

In May, BLOC Ministries will open a community-centered restaurant in Lower Price Hill. Blochead Pizza, which will be located at 712 State Ave., will be owned and operated by BLOC, but with local staff and management.
The 1,200-square-foot restaurant will employ about 13 people, and is slated to open the first week of May.
“We want to bring a community space that people can walk to, and gather and eat,” says Rev. Dwight Young of BLOC.
BLOC is also looking to bring two or three more businesses to State. It is starting a print shop and T-shirt printing company, and has its sights set on a building for the arts and training, and another for a new-businesses incubator.
“We’re interested in bringing jobs and training to the community that will ultimately help the community,” Young says. “There are great people who live here, and we want to partner with them and other investors to make a difference here that will affect the city.”
By Caitlin Koenig
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Covington community improvement projects receive federal money

Covington is looking to attract additional funding to further investment in the community from existing and potential stakeholders through programs like HUD's Community Development Block Grant and HOME. For Covington and other HUD-funded areas, the city’s Programs and Strategic Projects division hosted a series of public input forums during 2013 and early 2014 where citizen feedback was gathered, considered and used to determine which projects needed funding.
HUD funds focus on improving green space, neighborhood revitalization and economic development opportunities, plus public improvement, residential programs and public service. Federal CDBG and HOME programs concentrate funding on projects that enhance public infrastructure and residential properties. Regulations for these programs do allow for a more creative use of funding, depending on local decision-making, public input and community need.
Feedback supported recommendations that include allocating $50,000 to improve amenities in Mainstrasse’s Goebel Park and a playground improvement for Latonia Elementary School. The community raised $60,000 for the playground, and the city is contributing $20,000 for the project.
The public also wanted access to homeowner repair incentives, so the city created the Code Enforcement Hardship Program that provides grants to homeowners who were cited with code violations but couldn’t afford to address problems. The new Homeowner Repair Program will focus on providing grants for emergency repairs like furnace replacement and plumbing issues.
Money allocated to the Homebuyer Assistance Program increased due to a heightened interest in purchasing homes in Covington. Last year, the city allocated $148,162, and this year, the program will receive $205,553.
By Caitlin Koenig
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New Braxton Brewing Co. will combine beer, education, technology

Evan Rouse has been brewing beer in his dad’s garage for the past six years. After a visit to Upland Brewing Co. when he was 16, he fell in love with craft beer. Evan’s success in brewing competitions caught the attention of Richard Dubé, former vice president of brewing and quality at Christian Moerlein.
Later this year, Evan and his brother, Jake, and father, Greg, along with Dubé, will open Braxton Brewing Co. in Covington. They will start off with local production, and then expand to other areas of the Midwest.
“Looking across the industry and what’s happening in Over-the-Rhine, we saw the number of craft beer fans out there,” Jake says. “We’re looking to bridge the gap between Ohio and Kentucky, and prove that the river isn’t an ocean between us.”
Although Evan and Dubé will handle the brewing, Jake will be behind Braxton Brewing’s digital branding, and Greg is working on the brewery’s educational approach. Jake, a manager at ExactTarget, plans to launch a mobile app that will leverage what technology can provide in the craft beer industry.
“We want to help revolutionize beer, and we hope this app will do that,” he says.
Braxton Brewing partnered with Miami University for the digital branding aspect of the company, and Neltner Small Batch worked on the company’s physical branding.
The group also wants to focus on educating their customers. “We want to put the customer at the center of our brewery by creating an atmosphere around craft beer and learning about craft beer,” Greg says. “We think it’s important to keep people as close to the product as possible.”
The brewery will be housed in an 11,000-square-foot space on Seventh Street in the Pike Street Corridor. There will be between 15-20 beers on tap at any given time, with Braxton’s core brands and rotating seasonal and specialty beers as well.
Evan and Dubé designed the brewery’s 20-barrel, three-vessel system, and are now working with manufacturers on the actual product.
By Caitlin Koenig
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Last segment of Ohio River Trail to connect Anderson with East End

A 2.2-mile shared-use trail will be constructed adjacent to Kellogg Avenue between Salem and Sutton roads. The new segment of the Ohio River Trail would connect the existing trail at Salem Road, near Magrish Nature Preserve, to a piece at Sutton Road near Coney Island in Anderson Township.
Once finished, the trail will connect Five Mile Road at Kellogg to Corbin Street in the East End. The conceptual design for the trail includes a 2-foot wide grass strip between the trail and property line, with a 12-foot wide asphalt trail and a 6-foot wide buffer space between the trail and the street.
When completed, the Ohio River Trail will span 23 miles along the north bank of the Ohio River from Coney Island through downtown to Sayler Park. It will connect neighborhoods to downtown and the park, and complete the connection from downtown to Little Miami Scenic Trail, which will eventually extend to Lake Erie.
Construction is still a few years away, but city officials are gathering feedback from residents and property owners along the route. Feedback can be given here.
The plan will be presented to the public in October.
By Caitlin Koenig
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NKU to build Health Innovations Center

Northern Kentucky University will soon build a $97 million Health Innovations Center. Although plans for the center are still in the early stages, it will likely include classrooms and research labs.
The Center’s goal is to help improve the region’s health care in the short-term and help transform how medical care is delivered in the long-term.
St. Elizabeth’s Healthcare helped lobby for the new center, but hasn’t committed to placing clinics or other operations inside the building to cater to patients. They also haven’t said if they will pay for the programming.
The new center will likely include input from NKU’s Health Informatics and Big Data programs; training for nurses, occupational therapists, physical therapists and other growing professions; and recruiting by innovative health care companies to link with students.
By Caitlin Koenig
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