When the Over-the-Rhine Chamber of Commerce
hosted its first 5k
as a fundraiser in 2007, the organization raised about $9,000 dollars, and event organizers say the party was over when the single keg was finished.
Last year, the event brought in $66,000 dollars—just one of the dramatic changes that has occurred since the 5k’s inception.
“I think it’s been exciting to see the changes since 2007, and I think what’s happening in OTR
is probably one of the best revitalization stories that’s happened in the country in 10 years—that’s probably not an exaggeration,” says Bobby Maly, board chair.
For Maly, the race’s transformation parallels that of the community of OTR. “with the growth, the diversity and the vibrancy of it.”
When the 5k first happened, Maly says 12th and Vine streets—the first blocks where OTR redevelopment began—were just getting started. And Washington Park
, where the event now hosts 5,000 people for an after-run celebration, had not yet undergone expansion.
Community members and individuals who perhaps have never visited OTR before now join together, as small businesses and local vendors team up with artists, musicians and anyone with a passion for togetherness to celebrate a community whose social and economic vibrancy continues to grow.
“It’s cool for people who have never been to OTR, and it continues to be a great event for people to come and say, ‘What’s this all about?’ because they can come down with thousands of people, walk around and see the buildings, be in the middle of Washington Park and experience OTR with one of our best days in the neighborhood,” Maly says.
“So, I think it’s both a great opportunity for those who call OTR their own community to enjoy it, but it’s also a great chance for people who have never been.”
for the 5k, and attend the celebration May 17.
• Sign up to volunteer
at the 5k.
• Like OTR Chamber of Commerce on Facebook
By Brittany York
Brittany York is a professor of English composition at the University of Cincinnati and a project manager for Charitable Words. She also edits the For Good section of SoapboxMedia.