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Cincy Stories launches new community-building project through storytelling

Cincy Stories storytelling producers are launching a multi-media website project, Street Stories, to feature stories from each of Cincinnati’s 52 neighborhoods, starting in Walnut Hills in partnership with Walnut Hills Redevelopment Foundation and LISC.
“When Cincy Stories started, our plan was to build community through story, which has given us room to grow and evolve and innovate in ways we didn’t originally anticipate,” founder Shawn Braley says.
Cincy Stories originated as a series of live events in order to get people together to share stories. As it has grown, Braley has been cataloging stories of the city in short, documentary-style segments for the website. Cincy Stories also recently launched a podcast, and now Street Stories will expand the program’s reach even further.
“We’re hoping that we can gather more stories from more people, especially those who maybe aren’t going to find us but still have stories to share,” Braley says. “We see this as continuing to get our hands dirtier, digging deeper into the exploration of how story and community are intricately connected.”
The Walnut Hills portion of Street Stories will feature an interactive Story Gallery at 961 E. McMillan St. It will be an art gallery for storytelling, complete with video gallery, timeline of the history of Walnut Hills and a place where people can get together and share stories.
The gallery is being made possible through a LISC placemaking grant, and Model Group is providing the gallery space.
The Story Gallery is a way for Cincy Stories to engage the community on the ground and invite them into the space for events and to share stories.
Cincy Stories will capture Walnut Hills stories over the next few months, and then in July there will be a party to unveil the website. The next neighborhood hasn’t been announced yet, but it needs to be a partnership between Cincy Stories and the community.
Braley says it made sense to team up with the Walnut Hills Redevelopment Foundation, which is working to connect people and build a diverse, inclusive and vibrant community, and doing it creatively.
“We have this crazy notion that if we all just shared our stories, any tension or wall or misconception that hinders the community would fall, and empathy and understanding would be built in its place,” he says.
The gallery will open on June 1, with regular hours of 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday. There will be a Street Stories gallery opening party from 6-10 p.m. on June 10.

Hellmann Creative Center receives grant for outdoor community space

The National Endowment for the Arts recently announced more than $82 million in grants awarded to help fund local arts projects and partnerships, and three Cincinnati area organizations, including the Center for Great Neighborhoods, received a total of $45,000.
The Center received $10,000 to help design the public space outside of the Hellmann Creative Center, a new creative placemaking hub in Covington. Hellmann Creative Commons will be a gathering space for the community that will further help tie the arts and the neighborhood together.
Not only did the Center preserve and repurpose a vacant building, but it’s also working to make the arts a more prominent part of the conversation in Northern Kentucky. Covington is a city of makers, which the Center wants is celebrating through business mentoring and a May 21 public event.
The Hellman Center grant will go toward the first phase of the project, which includes gathering community input and working with design professionals. Once fully funded, Hellmann Creative Commons will feature sculptures designed and installed by local artists from a new apprenticeship program that will collaborate with established artists doing a one-month residency in Covington.
Work on the Hellmann Creative Center is to be completed this summer. Stay tuned the Center for Greater Neighborhoods’ Facebook page for ways you can give your input into the design of the outdoor space.

Adaptive reuse development helps promote bicycle-centered lifestyle in Pendleton

With the addition of bicycle lanes around the city, ride services like Lyft and Uber and the coming streetcar, more people are turning in their car keys for bike helmets. Many local businesses are jumping on board too and are teaming up with organizations like ArtWorks to help design bike racks.
A new Pendleton apartment building — designed, developed and rehabilitated by BiLT Architects — is the first to be named an official “Bicycle Friendly Destination” by Queen City Bike. Located at 512 E. 12th St., Abigail@512e12 has a number of amenities that make it bicycle-friendly.
Dedicated bicycle lockers are available for tenants, and there is also a fully outfitted bicycle workstation complete with bicycle stand, pump and repair tools. Tenants can also purchase a membership to Cincy Red Bike for half price.
Abigail@512e12 is a member of Queen City Red Bike, and tenants can enjoy the organization’s membership benefits as well.
There are no dedicated on-street parking spots for tenants, which helps promote a more bicycle-centered lifestyle.
The seven one-bedroom apartments began pre-leasing in April and should be move-in ready within a few weeks. Rent ranges from $840 to $880 per month, or $1.50-$1.60 per square foot.

Outdoor bar and beer garden to be first along Central Parkway bike lane

Queen City Radio will open this summer in the former automotive service and repair shop at the corner of Central Parkway and West 12th Street. But it’s not a radio station — it’s an outdoor beer garden.
The auto body shop also installed car and satellite radio systems, and the new QCR will celebrate that history by keeping the name.  
Louisa Reckman and Gabriel Deutsch, her brother and business partner, think another outdoor dining and drinking space in Over-the-Rhine will do well, and they want to pay homage to their German heritage.
“Both Gabriel and I have dual citizenship, and I lived in Germany for over 12 years,” Reckman says. “I actually had my first sip of beer in a Dusseldorf beer garden.”
Environmental remediation on the property began last June, and historic and building permits were issued in March. Reckman and Deutsch have been working on the building ever since.
QCR will feature gas fire pits, wooden tables and benches, lots of greenery and garage doors that will open when the weather permits. Reckman says it will be a place to tailgate or watch a game as well as enjoy a pint with friends, family, coworkers and pets.
“We hope to bring a sense of community and celebrate Cincinnati’s beer culture while restoring a local landmark,” she says.
QCR also plans to dedicate one day each week to help promote and support local charities, nonprofits and other causes. It will also be the only bar/beer garden located directly on the Central Parkway protected bike lane.
“I hope we are an integral oasis and rest stop for the local bicycling community as well,” Reckman says.
As for the menu, there will be a rotating list of local, regional and national best-selling beers as well as a full bar with wine, cocktails and boozy slushies. Beers will include 50 West, Blank Slate, Braxton Brewing, Listermann’s, MadTree, Moerlein, Rhinegeist, Rivertown and Taft’s Ale House as well as national brands.
Beer and wine will also be available to go, and QCR is also working with 53T Courier to offer a beer and wine delivery service.
Keep tabs on QCR’s Facebook page for updates.

Listermann partnering with Renegade Street Eats for permanent cafe within brewery

Renegade Street Eats has been rolling up to food truck rallies, festivals and other events across Cincinnati since 2014. Later this year, owner Kris Buening plans to open a brick-and-mortar cafe in the newly renovated Listermann Brewing across from Xavier University.
“When I started my truck, this wasn’t something I thought I would want to do,” Buening says. “I didn’t want to worry about attracting enough customers in a brick-and-mortar space, and being mobile means that I can go where the hungry people are.”
Renegade has partnered with Listermann for about one and a half years now for Wing Night on Thursdays, as well as Xavier basketball pre-games and festivals. When Listermann approached Buening about possibly having a kitchen in its taproom, she couldn’t pass it up.
The numbers work for both parties — having food keeps taproom visitors around longer, and the additional customers drum up more profit for Buening. With the added kitchen space, she plans to keep operating the food truck and using the kitchen for prep and storage space.
The menu will be much the same as on the truck, but where the truck can carry just four to five items per day, the taproom cafe will be much larger. Customer favorites like wings and the gyro burger will be there, as well as a number of new items. Buening plans to offer snack-type items too, plus more options for dinner. She also wants to have special menus for events like beer dinners and collaborations with other food trucks.
“I hope to bring another option for lunch eventually and dinner that isn’t a chain, with scratch-made food from quality ingredients,” Buening says.
There isn’t a concrete opening date yet, but Buening is aiming for anywhere between June and September. Plans are still being drawn up, and permits have been applied for.

As soon as the space is remodeled and inspected, Renegade will open with limited hours and then expand them once everything is established.

Panino food truck owner opening restaurant in OTR

Another food truck owner is adding the title of “restaurant owner” to his resume. Nino Loreto, who started serving charcuterie and artisanal sandwiches to Cincinnatians in 2013, plans to open a brick-and-mortar location for Panino in the Union Hall facility at 1315 Vine St. in Over-the-Rhine.
Loreto is committed to sourcing meat and produce locally, and his menu will feature handmade, cured meats. His food truck has had a presence at Taste of Cincinnati for the past two years and has also appeared at a number of events around the city.  
The casual deli/restaurant will feature a meat counter serving made-on-site salami and charcuterie. The menu will be small, with the option to dine at Panino’s patio or take it to go. There will also be a bar and dining room that will be open for dinner. That menu will include wine and craft beer as well as charcuterie plates, crostinis, bruschetta, paninis and a small selection of entrees.
Loreto hasn’t announced an opening date for Panino yet, since once the meat processing facility is set up a number of the meats will take several months to cure.

Covington event to give the public a look into "maker" culture May 21

The Center for Great Neighborhoods is hosting a “meet the makers” event in Covington’s Orchard Park from 1 to 4 p.m. May 21. The event will also serve as a launch party for Westside Makers, who are also releasing an independently published book, Westside Makers.
Over the past four months, Calcagno Cullen has interviewed and photographed about 30 local makers for his book, which includes neighborhood recipes, designs and instructions from Westside Makers as well as photos and portraits of those entrepreneurs.
The event calls for all residents who consider themselves makers to move their practices outdoors in order to interact with visitors and each other. Orchard Park will serve as home base for the event, but there will also be a map of the neighborhood so the public can tour the Westside and meet makers in their homes and studios as well.
Participants include DC Sonix, Gutierrez Deli, Lil’s Bagels, Pique, Skool Aid, Wunderbar, Yogi and the Farmer and more. Keep tabs on the event's Facebook page for more information.

The Center for Great Neighborhoods has been hosting a six-month small business training program for local makers, including some of those participating on May 21.

Entrepreneur plans to open deli/retail storefront in Walnut Hills

Gary Leybman, a trained chef, has been smoking meat and pickling vegetables for years. In 2013, his hobby grew into Smoky Bones, all-natural beef femur bones that are slow-smoked for dog treats. That business evolved into The Pickled Pig, which specializes in smoked meats, pickles, fermented vegetables and the smoked dog bones.
For the past few years, Leybman has been selling these items at a number of retail locations and farmers markets in the area. Leybman and his wife Libby recently purchased the building at 645 McMillan St. in Walnut Hills, and they plan to open a deli/retail location for The Pickled Pig within the year.
“It’s an up-and-coming neighborhood and due to its location is a great fit for us,” he says.
Leybman recently moved The Pickled Pig into the Northern Kentucky Incubator Kitchen. He had been utilizing a restaurant’s kitchen, but the building was recently sold, so he had to find a new location. Once his own space is up and running, The Pickled Pig won’t have to move around.
The 1,300-square-foot building will have a deli counter where everything will be made from scratch. Leybman plans to focus on smoked pork and chicken, which can be served on locally made breads. There will also be space for The Pickled Pig’s fermented Napa kimchee, carrot kimchee, caraway kraut, dill kraut, sour pickles, kimchee pickles, garlic beets, Georgian cabbage and pickled cauliflower.
“Even with the storefront, I would love to still have a presence at the farmers markets,” Leybman says. “It’s great to be in the community and getting the word out about our business.”
In the back of the building is a patio, which will house Leybman’s smoker. He plans to set up picnic tables and have an outdoor seating area to give the building a sense of place and atmosphere.

Stay tuned to The Pickled Pig's Facebook page for future announcements.

Kirby School Apartments to host open house for former students & teachers, prospective tenants

Built in 1910, Kirby Road School served as a Cincinnati Public School until 2012. CPS sold the facility to Bloomfield/Schon+Partners, which is redeveloping the 50,000-square-foot building into Kirby School Apartments.
The project will yield 40 units, a mix of one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments. The units range from 560 to 2,000 square feet, ranging in price from $680 to $1,400 per month.
Amenities include exposed ductwork, high-end slate kitchen appliances, granite countertops, wood cabinetry, washers/dryers and high ceilings. As the building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Bloomfield/Schon is working to preserve much of its character, including the hardwood floors, Rookwood fountains, cabinets and chalkboards.
Landscaping around the building will remain part of the historic features, with open green space instead of a courtyard.
A 60-space parking lot behind the building will be gated and will allow for off-street parking for residents. All of the outside entrances to the building are accessible from the parking lot.
Three studio apartments are located in the old library, which is lofted above the third floor, and three lofts are in the school’s former gymnasium. They each have 22-foot ceilings, and two of them have 1.5 bathrooms.  
Kirby School will host a public open house 4-7 p.m. June 1. The tour is meant to give the neighborhood a peek at what’s been going on and attract potential residents as well as bring back former students and teachers.

Former veterinarian switches careers to open online bakery

Ryan Carneson, a former veterinarian, moved with his family to the U.S. from South Africa on a medical visa. While living in Los Angeles, Carneson decided to switch careers and attended the Art Institute of California, where he graduated with honors with an Associate Science Degree in Baking and Pastry.
“I’ve enjoyed both of my careers very much,” Carneson says. “I loved being around animals and working with them, but pastry gives me a chance to express my artistic side. I have the freedom to create and design beautiful things. I love taking the raw ingredients and turning them into something beautiful.”
Carneson grew up helping his mother in the kitchen, but culinary wasn’t really an option for him in South Africa. But once in the U.S., he had the chance to start his culinary education and he began in savory and then moved to pastry.
The Carnesons relocated to Cincinnati in 2015 to be near Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center for their son’s medical treatments. Carneson decided that he wanted to establish himself in the community and decided to start his own business, Indulgence by Ryan.
The online bakery is operated by Carneson and his wife Lydia and specializes in custom cakes, cupcakes, cookies, desserts and a variety of chocolate creations. Carneson’s favorite things to make are chocolate eclairs and children’s cakes.
Carneson says that in the future he’d love to open a brick-and-mortar bakery that features all types of baked goods, including homemade breads. It might be a sit-down coffee bar, where customers can come in and order a coffee and enjoy a pastry too.
There isn’t a timeline in mind, but Carneson says maybe early next year, as they’re still getting their young family settled in Cincinnati.

Five Points Alley mural pays homage to Walnut Hills

Five Points Alley in Walnut Hills has undergone a major facelift over the past year. The area was resurfaced with a stable, pervious aggregate, and electricity and lighting were installed. It hosts the Five Points Alley Biergarten, it will soon be the home of Gomez Salsa and it’s the site of a new mural from BLDG.
The mural, titled Wind!, portrays chaste and stoic faces of Walnut Hills residents that over time are chipped away by wind to reveal the windblown faces of the same residents. BLDG knew of a similar project by local photographer Jon Bob; designers blew it up and created a larger-than-life project that’s now installed on the walls of Five Points Alley.
Wind! is a reminder to look underneath what is readily apparent in order to find the bright, playful and whimsical potential underneath,” says Sarah Dotter, events and public outreach coordinator for Walnut Hills Redevelopment Foundation.
Before its redevelopment, Five Points Alley was a forgotten space that has been reclaimed and rejuvenated by Walnut Hills.
“Under all of the litter, brush, illegal dumping and criminal activity was a space waiting to become a place,” Dotter says.
More art will be coming to Five Points Alley in the next few months. BLDG plans to paint a large mural on the side of Gomez Salsa, and this summer ArtWorks will paint the last of its five wayfinding murals (designed by international artists and installed by BLDG) on the side of the Race Refrigeration building, which faces downtown.
The mural will be unveiled May 5 during the Cinco at Cinco at Cinco event at Five Points Alley. There will be tacos and turtles from Gomez Salsa, Rhinegeist and Urban Artifact beer for sale and live music by Mambo Combo from 5 to 9 p.m. The Walnut Hills qualifier of Supersize Jenga for the Cincinnati Neighborhood Games will also take place during the event.

ReNewport calls for mini grant applications

The city of Newport unveiled its ReNewport Quality of Life Plan earlier this year, outlining six categories that the community wants to see improvement upon by the year 2025: education; healthy, safety and wellness; housing; economic development; parks, recreation and beautification; and community engagement. After two years of planning, these goals were announced to the public in March.
Newport has now established a mini grant program to help start the process of implementing ReNewport. The grants will help fund community engagement efforts for Newport residents who want to help advance the program’s goals.
Applications are now being accepted for the first round of mini grants. All projects must center on improving the quality of life in Newport, and all applicants must either live or work in Newport. Grants are available in amounts up to $500. Two or more groups that work together on a single project can submit one grant application and request a maximum of $750 for their joint project.
Funding for the mini grants is made possible through LISC Place Matters.
The first round of mini grant applications are due by May 31, the second round of applications by Aug. 31 and the third round by Nov. 30.  

If you have a project idea, download the mini grant application here.

Good Food Fund gives grants to six local food-related projects

The Greater Cincinnati Regional Food Policy Council recently awarded six local food-related projects a total of $39,500 through its Cincy Good Food Fund, which is designed to support innovative and promising projects that can make a positive impact on Cincinnati’s food system.
Cincinnati Public Schools received $6,600 for its Aeroponic School Garden Pilot Program, which will test the potential of incorporating education about nutritious food into its curriculum by using indoor aeroponic gardens. The gardens will help students learn how to grow and harvest fresh food year-round. 
La Soupe’s Cincinnati Gives a Crock Cooking Classes received a total of $8,800. The grant money will allow La Soupe to expand its high school education program, which helps kids from food insecure families learn to create tasty, fresh and nutritious meals from food donated from local food businesses and farmers.
Northside Farmers Market’s Summer SNAP Outreach Pilot Program received $9,000 for its multi-pronged approach to reduce the barriers for those who use SNAP benefits to access fresh food at Northside Farmers Market.
The Ohio Valley Food Connection received $5,000 to help increase the availability of fresh, locally produced food through an online food hub that will facilitate the logistics of farm-to-table.
An $8,000 grant was awarded to Our Harvest’s Winter Harvest Day Food Access Program. Through the grant money, Our Harvest will increase the availability of its Harvest Day Program, which provides affordable fresh fruit and vegetables at natural distribution points like schools, churches and community centers.
A grant for $2,100 was awarded to the St. Leo the Great Church Community Garden. The project will help address food insecurity and community engagement by establishing a community garden in North Fairmount.
The Greater Cincinnati Regional Food Policy Council helps bring together multiple stakeholders from the region’s food system to develop position statements, recommend policies and support initiatives that promote a healthy, equitable and sustainable food system.

Cincinnati Public Schools announcement puts Vision 2020 plans into motion

Seven Cincinnati Public Schools are getting updated curriculum for the next school year, the first changes in a five-year plan, called Vision 2020, to help bring greater equity, access and opportunity for all district students.
Traditionally, CPS has been divided into magnet schools and neighborhood schools. Magnets are harder to get into and often involve a citywide lottery for admission, while neighborhood school enrollment is based on where students live. Vision 2020 intends to break down these divisions and add specialty programming to neighborhood schools as well as some magnet schools.
Next year, Chase Elementary School in Northside and Woodford Paideia Academy in Kennedy Heights will have new art and culture programs. With the new fine arts initiative throughout the district, students at Chase will play in a band and students at Woodford will play in an orchestra.
An environmental science program will be enacted at Pleasant Hill Academy in College Hill. The school has access to about 18.5 acres of green space, and students will spend a lot of time learning outside.
A high-tech program will start at Hays-Porter Elementary in the West End, which will include online learning paired with traditional learning, and students will begin studying coding, robotics and gaming.
A gifted program will begin at Cheviot Elementary School, much like the gifted program at Hyde Park School. Student enterprise programs will also start at Rothenberg Preparatory Academy in Over-the-Rhine and Westwood Elementary School, where students will learn marketing and networking skills while designing and building new products.
Vision 2020 will expand during the 2017-18 school year and beyond, with other new programs starting across the district. A few ideas include building a high school ROTC program and creating a gender-based elementary school.
Program costs are being figured into CPS’ budget, but specific numbers won’t be available until May when the district presents its annual budget. 

Howl at the Moon returns to town to fill another empty space at The Banks

A new concept from an old favorite will open this summer at The Banks in the former Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar and Grill space along Second Street. Howl at the Moon music bar is collaborating with Splitsville Luxury Lanes to bring an entertainment venue and bowling alley to downtown.
Howl at the Moon was founded by Jimmy Bernstein in Greater Cincinnati, with its first location at Covington Landing opening in 1990. The Banks' location will be the company’s 18th across the U.S. and its second in the area. It will also be its second Howl at the Moon/Splitsville location, with the other one located outside of Boston.

"This is like a homecoming for Howl at the Moon," says Maggie Kmiecik, digital marketing coordinator for Howl at the Moon. "The show has changed so much since Howl was originally in Cincinnati, and so has the city. It's exciting to be back."

Howl at the Moon started out as a dueling piano bar, with two piano players who interacted with the crowd while playing covers. Things have changed, and the Howl at the Moon of today is an ever-changing show with two grand pianos and a full-time band that plays hits from the 1970s, '80s, '90s and '00s as well as other dance tunes.
The 16,000-square-foot space will be renovated into a bowling alley with live music and dueling pianos. The venue will be more family-friendly and event-driven than before, with the ability to host private events too. There will also be a food menu highlighted by hand-tossed pizzas, burgers and gourmet appetizers.
Keep tabs on Howl at the Moon & Splitsville’s Facebook page for updates. You can also sign up to get invited to the VIP Grand Opening here.
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