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Mt. Lookout / Columbia-Tusculum : Development News

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Wasson Way bike trail receives $750,000 to connect Hyde Park to Evanston


The City of Cincinnati recently received $750,000 in federal Transportation Alternatives grant funding for the construction of Phase 2A of the Wasson Way Trail. That portion of the trail will extend from Floral Avenue in Evanston to Tamarack Avenue in Hyde Park.
 
Previously, the city received grant funding from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources for the construction of Phase 1 of the trail, which will extend from Tamarack Avenue to Madison Road. Construction of Phase 1 is slated to begin in 2017, and funding for Phase 2A will be available for construction to begin in 2018.
 
In June, the city committed to purchasing the right-of-way to a 4.1-mile stretch of railroad tracks that are part of the Norfolk-Southern Railroad Company. The tracks haven’t been used for years, and will become part of the Wasson Way Trail network.
 
Once completed, the Wasson Way will be 7.6 miles, extending from Victory Parkway near Xavier University, through 11 neighborhoods (Avondale, Walnut Hills, Evanston, Norwood, Hyde Park, Oakley, Mt. Lookout, Fairfax, Newtown, Mariemont and Madisonville) to eventually connect with the Little Miami Bike Trail. The Wasson Way is estimated to cost anywhere from $7.5 to $11.2 million.
 
With connecting trails, Greater Cincinnati will have over 30 miles of off-road bikeways that will go from Coney Island to downtown, from Lunken Airport to Milford and eventually connecting Cincinnati to northern Ohio.
 
In the near future, those living in the suburbs could be able to leave their cars at home and bike to work downtown. The Wasson Way won’t just be a source of recreation, but a main avenue for transportation that will allow 100,000 residents better access to education and jobs.
 
 

Breweries and game libraries encourage Cincinnati to get its game on


Traditionally, arcades are one of the only places where adults can go and play games from their childhood. But that's not the case anymore in Cincinnati. Local breweries have started adding giant Jenga and ping pong tables to their taprooms, and within the past year two establishments have opened with board games on their menu.

From vintage arcade games to sand volleyball, Soapbox has rounded up a few of our favorite places where adults can feel like a kid again.

Columbia-Tusculum
50 West Brewing Company, 7668 Wooster Pike
In May 2016, 50 West expanded into their Production Works, a second location that's just across the street from its original brewpub. The $1.5 million expansion not only allowed the brewery to boost production, but also gave them the chance to become a destination for athletic beer-lovers. Sand volleyball leagues play at 50 West Monday-Thursday, and a sand soccer league meets Monday-Wednesday. Situated on the Little Miami, 50 West hosted a sold-out Canoe and Brew adventure on August 21, with more canoe events in the works. The brewery also owns and operates Fifty West Cycling Company, renting and selling bikes with easy access access to the adjacent Little Miami Scenic Trail.
Hours: 4-11 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 4 p.m.-2 a.m. Friday; 11 a.m.-2 a.m. Saturday; 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday

Northside
Arcade Legacy: Bar Edition, 3929 Spring Grove Ave.
For a laid-back barcade experience, check out Arcade Legacy: Bar Edition. It has more than 50 arcade games and pinball machines, as well as a classic console lounge. The lounge features comfortable couches to settle in and explore any title on your favorite old-school TV console (Nintendo, Super Nintendo, Nintendo 64 and Sega Genesis). There's also a full menu of decked-out hot dogs, nachos, snacks and desserts, as well as a full bar with craft beer, cocktails and specialty sodas. Arcade Legacy hosts tournament nights, and trivia at 8 p.m. every Tuesday. Admission is free.
Hours: 5 p.m.-2 a.m. Monday-Saturday; 4 p.m.-midnight Sunday

Over-the-Rhine
16-Bit Bar+Arcade, 1331 Walnut St.
Boasting a collection of 50-plus vintage arcade games, 16-Bit also features a full-bar with cocktails with throwback names like the Bill Nye (Rye whiskey, sweet vermouth, bitters and a cherry, served in a beaker); the Lisa Bonet (Sailor Jerry rum and St. Germain with simple syrup, lime and ginger ale); or the David Hasselhoff (Bulleit Rye, Sweet Vermouth, Aperol and orange peel). Unlike the typical arcade, 16-Bit is geared exclusively towards an adult crowd (though “High-Score Sunday” gives patrons a chance to bring their kids from 12 to 5 p.m.). Admission to 16-Bit is free.
Hours: 4 p.m.-2:30 a.m. Monday-Friday; noon-2:30 a.m. Saturday-Sunday

Christian Moerlein Brewing Co. taproom, 1621 Moore St.
Old-school German brewery Christian Moerlein has a taproom serving up craft beers and traditional German food — sausages, soft pretzels, and meat and cheese boards. The taproom also features a pool table, giant Jenga, cornhole and dart boards, and is the convening place for the weekly Cincinnati Beer and Board Games group. It's free to join and is an open invitation, with players meeting at 7 p.m. every Wednesday.
Hours: 4-10 p.m. Wednesday-Thursday; 4 p.m.-midnight Friday; noon-midnight Saturday; noon-7 p.m. Sunday

The Play Library, 1805 Elm St.
Funded through a $15,000 Globe Grant by local philanthropic lab People’s Liberty, The Play Library is a unique pop-up toy and game library for all ages. The Play Library opened in the Globe Gallery across from Findlay Market on June 24, and will occupy the space for five weeks. Proceeds from game library memberships will support efforts to make The Play Library a permanent fixture in Cincinnati. For info on upcoming events, visit their website.
Hours: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Wednesday-Thursday; 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Friday; 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday-Sunday

Rhinegeist, 1910 Elm St.
Enjoy a cold beer and a rousing game of ping pong or cornhole in Rhinegeist’s 25,000-square-foot taproom. Serious table tennis champs can compete in the World Famous OTR Ping Pong League, which meets at the brewery at 7 p.m. on Thursdays. 
Hours: 3-11 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 3 p.m.-2 a.m. Friday; noon-2 a.m. Saturday; noon-9 p.m. Sunday

The Rook OTR, 1115 Vine St.
The Rook is Cincinnati’s only place dedicated entirely to board games. It features a library of over 1,000 games that are free to play. The Rook also has a full menu of shareable entrees and bites, plus 12 beers on tap, a wine list and specialty cocktails. Cocktails at The Rook are a one-of-a-kind, with offerings like the Pretty Pretty Princess (a sparkling wine and amaretto cocktail served with a candy bracelet) and the Capri Against Humanity (a Capri Sun with rum, served in the pouch).
Hours: 11 a.m.-midnight Monday-Wednesday and Sunday; 11 a.m.-2 a.m. Thursday-Saturday
 

Neighborhood eateries are jumping on the outdoor dining bandwagon


Arnold’s Bar and Grill has been around since 1861, and with that long history comes a number of firsts, such as being one of downtown’s first outdoor dining spots. The courtyard between the two buildings has a retractable roof allowing the space to be open pretty much year-round.
 
Many other Greater Cincinnati restaurants have followed Arnold’s lead and now offer sidewalk, patio or rooftop dining. These are just a few of our favorites. Where do you go for outdoor eating?  
 
Downtown
One of Cincinnati’s newer restaurants, Americano Burger Bar, opened its patio just in time for baseball season. Plus it’s the only restaurant in the 84.51 building with outdoor seating. 545 Race St.
 
Over-the-Rhine
Che, which opened in January, recently added a tree-lined patio to its offerings. 1342 Walnut St.
 
Krueger’s Tavern is the only restaurant in OTR with rooftop dining. The space offers diners respite from the often-crowded neighborhood restaurants. 1211 Vine St.
 
Lachey’s Bar is known for its food as well as multiple TVs airing sporting events. Soon it will also be known for its patio, which is still under construction but slated to open soon. 56 E. 12th St.
 
Just when you thought Rhinegeist couldn’t get any better, they went and built a rooftop deck complete with a bar. The space is huge and includes heaters and great views of OTR. 1910 Elm St.
 
Uptown
Hang Over Easy boasts a back deck and lawn located between it and Bogart’s. Most days it’s just a lawn, but during special events it can host bands and different programming. 13 W. Charlton St., Corryville.
 
Mecklenburg Gardens, which recently celebrated 150 years in business, is the oldest operating restaurant in the area. Its outdoor beer garden has become a mainstay for regulars and newcomers alike. 302 E. University Ave., Corryville.
 
Northside
Under new ownership, Django Western Taco has seen some changes, but the back patio remains the same. Kick back, relax and enjoy a margarita and some tacos. 4046 Hamilton Ave.
 
The Littlefield is home to a wide variety of bourbon and small plates as well as a multi-level patio complete with fire pits for chilly nights. 3934 Spring Grove Ave.
 
Melt’s eclectic menu and community atmosphere pour out into its semi-covered patio at the back of the restaurant. 4165 Hamilton Ave.
 
Price Hill
Incline Public House sits at the top of the old incline route up into Price Hill, and so its covered outdoor patio offers great views of downtown and Northern Kentucky. 2601 W. Eighth St.
 
Hyde Park
The patio at Dutch’s has a backyard feel to it, complete with fire pits and a bocce court. You’ll feel like you’re having a cookout at home but somebody else made the burgers. 3378 Erie Ave.
 
Mt. Adams
The Rookwood’s multi-level deck, firepit and swings for adults adds to the historic charm of the former pottery factory, plus the patio has a great view of downtown. 1077 Celestial St.
 
Columbia-Tusculum
Pearl’s Bar doesn’t serve food, but its large outdoor patio surrounded by pine trees makes it just right for beer drinking. 3520 Eastern Ave.
 
East End
Eli’s BBQ has a backyard, lawn and picnic tables, which make lunch or dinner into a real picnic. If you’re there on the right night, you might catch some live music. 3313 Riverside Dr.
 
Newport
Hofbrauhaus is all German, inside and out. If you have a big group, head to the outdoor beer garden, where there’s additional seating and a lot more standing room. 200 E. Third St.

Pompilio's patio is home to the best bocce court in town, with the new season getting ready to start, and hosts live music on weekends. 600 Washington Ave.
 

Holiday events for beer drinkers, outdoors types and kids at heart


The holidays are upon us, and in typical Cincinnati fashion there are scores of events happening around town. Check out this roundup of our favorites....
 

For the beer lover:
Polar Bear Express Route on the Pedal Wagon, now through Feb. 29
Two-hour pub crawl with seasonal drink specials along the way. 15-seat private tours are $250 Sunday-Thursday and $295 Friday-Saturday; public tours are $20/seat Sunday-Thursday and $25/seat Friday-Saturday.

Cincinnati SantaCon, 12 noon-12 midnight Dec. 12
Register online for your chance to dress up like Santa and stop at some of Cincinnati’s favorite bars.
 

For the outdoors type:
Weekend carriage rides at Macy’s Celebration Station across from Fountain Square, 12-5 p.m. Dec. 12-13

Krohn by Candlelight, 5-7:30 p.m. Dec. 9, 16 & 23

Krohn Conservatory’s Holiday Show, now through Jan. 3

Light Up OTR at Washington Park, 6 p.m. Dec. 12

Holly Jolly Downtown Trolley, 12-5 p.m. Saturdays through Dec. 19
Trolley service will run every five minutes, with stops along Fourth and Fifth streets. Free.

Cincideutsch Christkindlmarkt at Fountain Square, 4-9 p.m. Friday-Saturday and 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday through Dec. 20
Market vendors offer a variety of traditional holiday sweets and European baked goods, Glühwein (hot spiced wine) and other hot beverages, Christian Moerlein beer and handcrafted gifts and seasonal decorations. USA Today named it one of the top 10 German-themed holiday markets in the U.S.

Festival of Lights at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden, now through Jan. 2
Tickets are $16 adults online, $11 kids and seniors online; $18 adults at zoo, $12 kids and seniors at zoo

Fountain Square Ice Rink, now through Feb. 15
$6 admission, $4 skate rental.


For the arts enthusiast:
The City Flea at Washington Park, 5-10 p.m. Dec. 12

Antique Christmas at the Taft Museum of Art, now through Jan. 3
Tickets are $10 adults, $5 kids; kids 5 and under are free.

Holiday Toy Trains at the Behringer-Crawford Museum, now through Jan. 17
Tickets are $9 adults, $5 kids.
 

For the historian:
Luminaria at Mt. Lookout Square and Cincinnati Observatory, 6:30-8:30 p.m. Dec. 13

Holiday Junction at the Cincinnati Museum Center, now through Jan. 3
Tickets are free for members; prices vary depending on which museum package purchased.
 

For the kid at heart:
Macy’s Downtown Dazzle on Fountain Square, 6 p.m. Dec. 12
Watch Santa rappel down the 525 Vine building to Macy’s rooftop, and catch fireworks afterward as well as much from local choirs. John Morris Russell will conduct the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra and May Festival singers. 

Holiday Mystery Theater at Cincinnati Museum Center, 5 p.m. Dec. 13
The Whodunit Players will perform Santa’s Slay…Oops, Sleigh. Tickets are $55 for members and $65 for non-members.

BRICKmas Holiday Display at Newport on the Levee, now through Jan. 1
Tickets are $10.


For the dog lover:
Reindog Parade in Mt. Adams, 2 p.m. Dec. 12
26th annual parade of dog owners and their best friends, with Marty Brennaman as Grand Marshal. Prizes awarded for best costumes for dogs under 25 lbs. and over 25 lbs., best group and best master/dog lookalike.
 

Columbia-Tusculum residents investing in the neighborhood with new brewery


Garrett Hickey has been homebrewing with his dad, Brian, for a number of years, and the hobby eventually led to brewing school in Sunderland, England, at Brewlab. He’s also worked on the canning line at MadTree Brewing and is currently a brewer at Rivertown Brewing.

And by next fall, the Hickey family will open Streetside Brewery in Columbia-Tusculum.
 
Streetside will sit on the site of the former East End Cafe, which closed in 2010 after a fire. Due to structural issues, the Hickeys demolished the building and will lay the foundation for their brewery in its place. On the inside, the space will be very industrial, with brick walls and wooden tables scattered throughout. 
 
The taproom will face the street and will open onto an outdoor patio. The brewery will be in the lower level of the building, but because of the grade of the building customers will have a birds’ eye view of the tanks and other equipment from the taproom.
 
“We want to appeal to families as well as the more seasoned craft beer drinker,” says Garrett’s mom, Kathie, who will have the most face-to-face interaction with customers.
 
Streetside will have about 12 taps featuring both Streetside beers and guest brews. There will also be a dedicated cider tap and wine available for those who aren’t huge beer fans. When the brewery opens, Kathie says there will for sure be a Belgian pale ale, an IPA and a robust porter on tap.
 
There will be a light bites menu too, with easy-to-make items like flatbreads and pretzels. Down the road, Kathie wants to partner with local food trucks to widen their food offerings.
 
The Hickeys are Columbia-Tusculum residents who are investing in their community, hoping to help strengthen it. Streetside will be around the corner from Blank Slate Brewery, and if all goes according to plan both breweries will be just steps from the Oasis Bike Trail.
 
“Because of our location in Columbia-Tusculum, we’re hoping to be a meeting place for the community as well as a destination for those that don’t live in the neighborhood,” Kathie says. “We want to help bring Eastern Avenue back to a community-oriented area that is welcoming to everyone.”
 
Keep tabs on Streetside updates via Instagram and Twitter.
 

Former Annabel's space in Mt. Lookout Square getting new life as El Camino


Brad Johnson and Sean Morgan, both formerly of BrewRiver Gastro Pub, are planning to open a new concept in the former Annabel’s space in Mt. Lookout Square. El Camino, a Cuban and Puerto Rican street food restaurant, should be open by late November or early December.
 
“We considered a number of different neighborhoods, but when we saw that Annabel’s was for sale we jumped on it,” Morgan says.
 
When Johnson and Morgan purchased the former restaurant at 1004 Delta Ave., they didn’t just get an empty shell. They also got Annabel’s entire inventory, making their renovation job a bit easier. They’re creating a San Juan-meets-Cincinnati look and feel on the inside.
 
The 1,000-square-foot space will have some sit-down dining but will mainly focus on take-out orders and late-night dining. The menu, which will be created by Johnson, who spent time in Puerto Rico, will include classic and fusion Cuban and Puerto Rican dishes. Think a Cubano sandwich, Cuban- and Mexican-style tacos, plantains and bean and rice dishes. There will also be housemade sangrias and local canned beer.
 
“When I approached Brad about opening a restaurant, he had already been looking for a space for some time,” Morgan says. “Together we want to create a low-key restaurant that melds simple street food from a number of different cultures.”
 

Tristate celebrates 4th of July with variety of events, music and fireworks


Looking for a way to celebrate America's birthday? Check out the variety of events around town to honor the 4th of July.
 
Thursday, July 2
American Salute
6 p.m., Burnet Woods, Clifton
Music from the Cincinnati Contemporary Jazz Orchestra's Little Big Band and the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra’s string quartet will be followed by fireworks at 9 p.m.

Northside Rock n’ Roll Carnival
Music, food and craft beer fills Northside’s Hoffner Park all weekend. The event itself is free, and you can purchase drinks and food from a variety of vendors.
 
Friday, July 3
Cincinnati Reds Fireworks Friday
Game at 7:10 p.m., Great American Ball Park, Downtown
Fireworks will follow the game, with a live soundtrack provided by the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra. If you don’t go to the game, you can still catch the fireworks from points along the river, including Smale Riverfront Park and Newport on the Levee.
 
Fireworks at Kings Island
10 p.m.
The park itself is open until midnight. Fireworks show comes with price of admission.
 
LaRosa’s Balloon Glow at Coney Island
10 p.m.
Head over to Coney Island for a day of nostalgic rides as well as LaRosa’s 15th Annual Balloon Glow, which begins at 8 p.m.; fireworks will follow the Balloon Glow. Tickets are $10.95 and up for Coney Island rides and the Sunlite Pool, but the Balloon Glow and Fireworks are free with the price of parking.
 
Independence Day Celebration on Fountain Square
9:45 p.m., Fountain Square, Downtown
After the MidPoint Indie Summer Concert Series, the fireworks show will begin from the roof of Macy’s downtown store.
 
Saturday, July 4
4th of July Jam
3-10 p.m., Washington Park, Over-the-Rhine
Enjoy live music from The Almighty Get Down, The Infinity Project and Ray’s Music Exchange as well as a simulcast of The Grateful Dead’s “Fare Thee Well” concert at Chicago’s Soldier Field on a large LED screen. The free event will end with fireworks and will also include food, craft beer, carnival games and face painting.
 
Ault Park Independence Day Fireworks
11 a.m., Ault Park, Mt. Lookout
A children’s parade will begin the day of festivities, food and music. A fireworks show will end the day at 10 p.m.  
 
Cincinnati Reds Independence Day Fireworks Show
Game at 7:15 p.m., Great American Ball Park, Downtown
Fireworks to follow the game.
 
Covington Neighborhood Bicentennial Independence Day Parade
10:30 a.m.
Stake out a spot along the Peaselburg neighborhood parade route (Euclid to 16th Street and up Russell) and join the rest of Northern Kentucky for an after party at St. Augustine Church.
 
Fireworks at Kings Island
10 p.m.
The park itself is open until midnight. Fireworks show comes with price of admission.
 
Northside Fourth of July Parade
12 noon
Northside businesses, organizations and residents show off their creative sides with a variety of floats. The parade route is down Hamilton Avenue, beginning at the corner of Ashtree and Hamilton and ending at Hoffner Park.
 
Red, White and Blue Ash
4-10:30 p.m., Blue Ash Summit Park
Lots of free entertainment, including The Doobie Brothers at 8:15 p.m. and fireworks at 10 p.m.
 
Red, White, and Boom!
8 p.m., Riverbend Music Center
The Cincinnati Pops will play patriotic favorites, accompanied by the May Festival Chorus and the USO Show Troupe. Tickets are $15-35; ticketholders can visit Coney Island for free on July 4 (excluding Sunlite Pool).
 

Observatory engages community through stargazing events


The Cincinnati Observatory is truly a 19th Century landmark, built in 1873 by Samuel Hannaford and home to one of the world’s oldest working telescopes. In an effort to turn back the clock to those days, a number of restorations in the past 15 years have helped “demodernize” the facility located on the edge of Ault Park.
 
“We like to make things how it used to be,” says Dean Regas, outreach astronomer for the observatory. “With the restorations, we wanted to get back to craftsmanship and give people a more authentic experience.”
 
For example, the observatory’s two domes used to be operated by a motor. After seeing in a book that the domes used to be operated by a hand crank, Regas resurrected the hand cranks from the observatory basement and installed them.
 
The observatory has two telescopes — an 11-inch Merz and Mahler refractor that was built in 1842 and a 16-inch Alvan Clark and Sons refractor from 1904. The telescopes are used daily by the public during a number of events as well as on Astronomy Thursdays and Fridays. Admission ranges from $5 to $15 depending on the event.
 
For the past 10 years the observatory has hosted end-of-the-year school fieldtrips, many of which result from observatory staff going into classrooms and talking about astronomy.
 
Upcoming events for the general public include planet-themed nights, where people can see unobstructed views of the month’s most visible planet; Sunday Sun-day Sundae on June 14, which is an ice cream social with solar viewing; and the third Celestial Sips Wine Tasting Event on June 20 to celebrate the summer solstice.
 
This year, the observatory is partnering with Wurst Bar for the Wurst Date Night Ever on July 23. Participants will start at Wurst Bar, 3204 Linwood Ave. in Mt. Lookout, take a shuttle up to the observatory for a night under the stars and then head back to the bar for happy hour.
 
On Aug. 29, the observatory is also hosting a starlit picnic on the lawn. Guests can bring a picnic and watch the sun set and the moon rise over the city.
 
Apart from the observatory’s many events, the University of Cincinnati, which owns the observatory, uses the telescopes for a number of classes, including continuing education classes through the Communiversity program
 
For more information on the observatory’s programming, visit its website.
 

Bad Tom Brewery undergoing changes, keeping beer recipes


Bad Tom Smith Brewing will be undergoing changes in the coming months to enhance its customers’ experience. The beer will remain the same, but the look and feel of the brewery itself will undergo a facelift.
 
Bad Tom opened as Double Barrel Brewery in 2013 under the direction of Sean Smith and Charles Boucher, who left the business at the beginning of this year. Smith then brought on two friends, John Vojtush and Sheryl Gittins, who are now majority owners, with 70 percent ownership; Smith, his mother and two others retain the other 30 percent.
 
Jeff Graff, owner of Paradise Brewing Supplies, was recently brought on as Bad Tom’s head brewer and is also an equity partner in the business. A full-time assistant brewer, Eric Napier, was also hired.
 
Bad Tom Smith beer recipes will remain the same, but Graff and Napier plan to better the products’ overall quality. Changes will also be made to improve the taproom experience and make it more inviting for customers. Bad Tom is working with a new marketing partner as well, and the overall brewery and taproom will soon have more of a Western saloon feel.
 
Plans are also being circulated for a new brewery location, which could happen as early as the first quarter of 2016.
 
Bad Tom is open from 5-10 p.m. Wednesdays, 5-11 p.m. Thursdays, 4-11 p.m. Fridays and 1-11 p.m. Saturdays. The brewery is located at 4720 Eastern Ave., East End.
 

Tri*Metro campaign providing entertainment buses Sept. 13

This fall, Metro is launching the tri*Metro campaign, which will encourage young professionals to incorporate Metro into their lives. The three-pronged campaign focuses on learning about Metro, experiencing Metro and challenging riders to go car-free during the month of October.
 
Cincy YP and Give Back Cincinnati wanted to form a partnership with Metro to better educate others about riding the bus. They didn’t want to go to more meetings, but instead created a video about riding Metro, which shows riders how 20- and 30-somethings use the bus.
 
As part of the campaign, Metro is providing three entertainment buses for riders on Sept. 13. The bus will circulate to hotspots in Hyde Park, Mt. Lookout, Oakley, O'Bryonville and Over-the-Rhine. The bus will run from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m., and will stop at designated bars and restaurants.
 
“Riders can get on and off the bus all night long, and will give everyone the opportunity to experiment with the buses,” says Kim Lahman, ridership development manager for Metro.
 
A specific route will be drawn up for the night that will circle the neighborhoods involved in the event, and there will be a bus schedule specifically designed to fit the route.
 
Volunteers from Cincy YP will be at each of the designated bus stops to help riders figure out where they’re going and how long they will have to stand and wait. Riders will also receive special discounts at participating bars and restaurants.
 
Venues include Cock & Bull Public House and Unwind Wine Bar in Hyde Park; Mt. Lookout Tavern and Millions Cafe in Mt. Lookout; Animations and The Oak Tavern in Oakley; O’Bryon's Bar & Grill and Uncorked in O’Bryonville; and The Drinkery and MOTR in OTR.
 
“It will be great for ridership, as well as for economic development because we’re supporting businesses along the way, and helping get people familiar with the Metro system,” Lahman says.
 
If you’re interested in riding Metro’s entertainment buses on Sept. 13, tickets are $5. For more information, visit Metro’s website.

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
Follow Caitlin on Twitter


Neighborhood Asset Mapping tool focuses on neighborhoods' strengths

The Community Building Institute recently partnered with Xavier University and the United Way of Greater Cincinnati to develop and launch the Neighborhood Asset Mapping tool. It’s an online resource that allows all 52 Cincinnati neighborhoods to create a profile of community-based assets and resources in the area.
 
NAT was made available to the public this spring,and was in development for six to eight months before that. It’s free, and it promotes engagement and resource-sharing among residents. Residents can add assets to NAT, and they’re immediately available to other users.
 
“If you’re new to the community or thinking of moving to a neighborhood, you can find what’s going on there,” says Trina Jackson, program director of the Community Building Institute. “You can find community councils and neighborhood associations. Lots of people don’t know about grassroots organizations, and Nat allows residents to connect with one another through smaller organizations.”
 
The United Way helps support community development and community-based organizations, and NAT is the community engagement arm for Xavier, Jackson says. “We were focused on getting people connected with each other, and helping them see what’s out there.”
 
For example, in Evanston, many people know about the employment resource center. But if you’re not from the neighborhood, you don’t necessarily know it’s there, so you turn to the computer or your phone to find the things you need.
 
NAT focuses on a neighborhood’s strengths, and doesn’t include crime data or vacant property statistics. It's intened to be used by new and potential residents, entrepreneurs and developers as a tool to help find the best locations to live, work and play.
 
The Community Building Institute plans to host a series of “data entry parties” where people can get together and enter assets into NAT and learn new things about the neighborhood they live in. The first one is planned for Walnut Hills, but the date is to be determined.
 
By Caitlin Koenig
Follow Caitlin on Twitter


New online tool aims to keep Cincinnati residents engaged in their neighborhoods

On July 24, the City of Cincinnati adopted Nextdoor, a free, private social network for you, your neighbors and your community. The goal is to improve community engagement between the City and its residents, and foster neighbor-to-neighbor communications.
 
Each of Cincinnati’s 52 neighborhoods will have its own private Nextdoor neighborhood website, which is accessible only to residents of that neighborhood. City administrations and several city departments will also use Nextdoor to share important news, services, programs, free events and emergency notifications to residents, but they won’t be able to see who is registered to use the site or the conversations among residents.
 
Founded in 2010 in San Francisco, Nextdoor’s mission is to bring back a sense of community to the neighborhood. The site was tested in 175 neighborhoods across the country, and results showed that neighborhoods had some of the same issues, plus a variety of different issues.
 
“We all remember what our neighborhood experience was like as kids, when everyone knew each other, looked out for one another and stayed in the community longer," says Sarah Leary, co-founder of Nextdoor. “We want to invoke that nostalgia for neighborhoods.”
 
To date, Nextdoor is being used by about 17,000 neighborhoods across the country. In June, Nextdoor partnered with New York City and Mayor Bloomberg to communicate with the city’s 8.3 million residents. The site plans to roll out in other major cities like Cincinnati over the course of the next several months.
 
Nextdoor also recently released its iPhone app. “We’re really putting the lifeline of the neighborhood into the palm of the residents’ hands,” says Leary. “The common thread is an interest in using technology to make connections with neighbors. But it doesn’t stop there—once people have an easy way to communicate, they’re more likely to get together in the real world.”
 
You can sign up for Nextdoor on its website, or download the app in the App Store.
 
By Caitlin Koenig
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Local fitness instructors start workout group for moms

After Amber Fowler, 32, gave birth to twins in August, she started teaching group fitness classes at Body Boutique in Oakley. But she and Body Boutique’s owner, Candice Peters, 34, felt they weren’t servicing an important group in the community: moms and their young children.
 
Last week, Fowler and Peters started Fit Mommies, a fitness class for moms who need help getting back in shape after having a baby or who need help staying in shape, period. The class is unique in that it’s held in local parks, and is focused on moms working out with their children.
 
“We wanted a place for moms to bring their kids while they were working out,” Fowler says. “It’s like a playgroup atmosphere at the same time—moms don’t have to find a sitter, and their kids get to play with others in the fresh air.”
 
Besides a playgroup, Fit Mommies is also intent on building a community for moms. Fowler says it’s like a group therapy session and workout all in one. The women want their clients to be able to vent, get advice and get great ideas from others, all while working out.
 
“Fit Mommies is a place where moms can go to talk about things that they’re going through,” Fowler says. “It’s stressful for new moms; and it’s helpful to see other people going through the same things you are.”
 
Fowler and Peters also plan to offer Family Fit Days each month, where the whole family can come and work out for free. Fit Mommies will also host a Final Friday zoo workout—the workout is free, but you need a zoo pass.
 
The pair will also be sending out monthly newsletters and provide a resource list for clients that includes ideas from moms, family-friendly meal ideas and contact information for dentists, doctors, hairstylists, etc.
 
Fit Mommies offers power-walking and circuit training combination workouts for women who are at all different fitness levels. Classes run from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. Mondays and Wednesdays in Hyde Park’s Ault and Alms parks, and Tuesdays and Thursdays in Loveland’s Nesbit and Paxton Ramsey parks. Classes are $59 per month for unlimited sessions; class passes are available.
 
By Caitlin Koenig
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City Hall launches app as a community-organizing tool

The City of Cincinnati has taken out the back-and-forth that can occur when residents try to reach them to report issues in their neighborhoods. At the Neighborhood Summit on Feb. 16, Vice Mayor Roxanne Qualls announced that the Cincinnati City Hall mobile app is available to the public.
 
With the app, residents can look up trash, recycling and street sweeping days, and set reminders; locate and report problems by address; bookmark locations for quick reporting; and track the status of reports. City Hall mobile also has GPS, so users can report issues, even without an address. There’s even a searchable map with property owner information, which enables residents to see if a property is occupied or vacant.
 
A few years ago, residents had to use the Yellow Pages to look up the number for city departments to file complaints, says Kevin Wright, executive director of Walnut Hills Redevelopment Foundation. The city then implemented a hotline for all complaints, but residents never knew the status of their reports.
 
“It’s amazing how comprehensive the app is,” Wright says. “If you see a broken window, pothole, graffiti, hanging gutter or anything else that is physically wrong with your neighborhood, street or community, you can report it in an instant. It’s a great tool for neighborhood redevelopment.”
 
The app can also be used as a community-organizing tool, Wright says. For example, if there is a property owner who historically hasn’t taken care of his or her property, social media can help organize a community and target the property to enforce codes until the property is fixed, which is what neighborhood councils and organizations like WHRF do.
 
“We’re really putting power in the hands of the citizens of the neighborhoods,” he says.
 
As with most tech programs, the app has room to grow, too. In the future, it could be linked with Facebook or Twitter, so your friends and followers will know who reported problems and where they are.
 
Cincinnati residents can download the app in the Apple App Store or download it through Google Play.
 
By Caitlin Koenig
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