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Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra to introduce new director during Summermusik festival


The Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra’s summer concert series, Summermusik, will help the group introduce and celebrate its new director, Eckart Preu. A variety of shows will be held in different locations around Cincinnati from Aug. 5-26.

LeAnne Anklan, general manager of the CCO says, "The CCO strives to make itself more assessable and relevant to different demographics."

While the CCO has maintained a loyal following over the years, it's gaining popularity. It's proud of the younger audiences that are now filling up the seats. Summermusik will include shows for both newcomers and seasoned audiences with opportunities to see shows in the evening and afternoon, as well as in and out of downtown.

Anklan describes the common misconception of chamber music to be very stuffy and boring. On the contrary, the CCO is hip and strives to produce creative and innovative music, offering a well-rounded experience for all. The musicians usually sit in a small venue or close to the edge of the stage to create an intimate experience for the audience.

Summermusik is unique in that it features three different types of concerts that are tailored to everyone's musical tastes.

For newcomers, Anklan says, the "Chamber Crawl" series is a good place to start. These events will be held at local bars like MadTree Brewing and The Cabaret at Below Zero. The short performances are about an hour long, and ticket prices include a drink and snack. After the performance, attendees get the chance to mingle with the musicians, including Preu.

This year's longer, more orchestral programs will be held at the SCPA and will include a prelude talk by Preu. These events coincide with themes and feature guest artists and speakers.

Lastly, the series "A Little Afternoon Music" is a softer option that will take place on Sunday afternoons away from downtown in neighborhoods like Mariemont and Covington.

The CCO's new director is also helping make the orchestra more accessible. “Eckart stood out in a number of ways, particularly for his creative approach to programming," says Anklan. "He is nice and down-to-earth, and the musicians play so well with him."

Check out the CCO's events page and purchase tickets ($25 for each show), as shows are quickly selling out.
 


Longtime Oakley business moving down the street to continue investing in neighborhood


Sandra Gross and Dr. John Hutton, the owners of several Oakley businesses, are reinvesting in their neighborhood in a big way. Their daughter, Blythe Gross-Hutton, and her company BAM Realty Group are behind a new development at 3094 Madison Rd. — and her parents plan to move their flagship business, Blue Manatee Children's Bookstore, into it.

The $1.5 million, LEED Silver, mixed-use project, which includes the construction of a new 5,600-square-foot building and 20 parking spaces behind it, is slated to be finished in February.
 
The site used to be home to a 2,000-square-foot building that was demolished after it had been vacant for about two years. BAM Realty Group purchased the site in April 2014, and construction began on it last fall.
 
Blue Manatee will move from its current location at 3054 Madison to occupy a first-floor retail space in the new building. It will also house a salon, offices for Sleepy Bee Café (also owned by the couple), Blue Manatee’s publishing company and its online baby gift businesses, Blue Manatee Boxes.
 
Artists from nearby Brazee Street Studios (also owned by Gross and Hutton) are helping design the new space, which will include hands-on activities for kids and custom artwork on the walls.
 
Terrex Development & Construction are doing the build-out on the building, and the drawing dept is the project’s architect.

Proposed Oakley transit center aims to improve rider experience


The Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority recently approved a contract to build a new transit center in Oakley. Like the proposed Northside transit center, the Oakley hub will provide improved connections and amenities for riders, and will make using public transit more convenient.
 
The transit center will be located at the intersection of Marburg and Ibsen avenues. It will be served by two Metro crosstown routes, the 41 and the 51, which connect the east and west sides of town; two local routes, the 4 and the 11; and one express route, the 12X, which services downtown.
 
Features of the transit center will include four boarding bays, off-street commuter parking, enhanced shelters and streetscaping, wayfinding maps and real-time information screens.
 
The $1.1 million project is being funded by a grant from the Federal Surface Transportation Program and local funds.
 
Ford Development Corporation was chosen to develop the site, and hopes to break ground this spring.
 
The Oakley Transit Center was designed by the Transportation Planning and Urban Design section of the city’s Department of Transportation and Engineering, in partnership with SORTA, the Ohio Department of Transportation, the OKI Regional Council of Governments, the city and the Federal Transit Administration.
 

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.
 
 

ArtWorks adding 23 more murals to Cincinnati this summer


ArtWorks staff and youth apprentices will work on 23 mural projects around Great Cincinnati this summer. A project kickoff will be held on June 20 on Pleasant Street in front of the future home of the Rosemary Clooney mural.
 
New murals coming to a wall near you this summer include:
 
Annie “Little Sure Shot” Oakley Mural, 3211 Madison Road, Oakley
The mural will pay homage to Annie Oakley, who performed in a number of sharp shooter contests in Cincinnati (though Oakley is not named for her). It’s supported by Voltage Furniture and Vandercar Holdings, and the community can donate to a matching funds campaign with Sara M. and Michelle Vance Waddell here.
 
Female Legend Vote Mural, 1606 Pleasant St., Over-the-Rhine
This mural will honor singer and actress Rosemary Clooney, who was born in Maysville, Ky., and won a spot to sing on WLW radio with her sister Betty back in the 1940s. The mural will be part of the Cincinnati Legends Series, is in partnership with 3CDC and is supported by School Outfitters. The community can donate to a matching funds campaign with 1919 Investment Counsel here.
 
Kennedy Heights Art Center Annex Mural, 6620 Montgomery Road, Kennedy Heights
Lead artist Casey Millard and 14 youth apprentices will create a multi-medial mural on the facade of the new Carl, Robert, Richard and Dorothy Lindner Annex at KHAC. The community can donate to a matching funds campaign with American Scaffolding here.
 
Prost to Cincinnati Installation Series
ArtWorks once again partnered with the Brewery District Community Urban Redevelopment Corporation on this series of six murals that will help drive development along the Brewing Heritage Trail. The multi-media pieces will depict love and honor for the city’s brewing history and will be installed by a variety of artists. The community can donate to a matching funds campaign through Power2Give here.
 
Walnut Hills “This Is 5 Points” Mural, 2429 Gilbert Ave., Walnut Hills
This is the final mural in a series of five wayfinding pieces that identify and enliven the redeveloped Five Points Alley. It will be completed in partnership with BLDG.
 
Winsor McCay Mural, 917 Main St., OTR
McCay moved to Cincinnati in 1891 and created the first comic strip for The Enquirer in 1903. Panels from his most famous cartoon, “Little Nemo,” will be recreated on the Main Street building in partnership with 917 Partners. The mural is part of the Cincinnati Masters Mural Series, along with work by Charley Harper, John Ruthven and Tom Wesselmann.
 
Other mural projects this summer include a new Cincinnati Heritage Series that honors Kenner Products and the city’s toy design history; an art installation in the main lobby of Duke Energy Convention Center that will explore the theme of Cincinnati or the Ohio River; and a mural by local artist Jim Effler that will span two walls on Central Parkway to depict the creation of Ohio’s canal system.
 
Through a partnership with Keep Cincinnati Beautiful, ArtWorks also plans to create 12 new murals — New Lines OTR Alleyways Project — in Over-the-Rhine alleyways in an area bordered by Main, 13th, Sycamore and Liberty streets. The goal is to transform the more neglected spaces into works of art while making the alleys safe and more walkable.
 

Casual Pint craft beer bar opening next month in Oakley


Cincinnati has seen a craft beer resurgence over the past few years. With about 20 breweries operating in the area now, it’s hard to imagine there’s room for more, though it can still be hard sometimes to find local craft beer favorites around town other than at their taproom.
 
Craft beer bars are filling that niche, and another one plans to open at the end of May. Casual Pint will be located at 3200 Vandercar Way in Oakley by the new Kroger, with the goal of becoming “where beer lovers meet.”
 
“Casual Pint wants to be the local spot where people who love beer meet up to have a glass of beer and talk about beer,” says Jillian King, who franchised the Oakley location along with her parents and her husband Matthew.
 
The first location outside of Tennessee opened at Loveland Station earlier this year.
 
Casual Pint is a craft beer market that first opened in 2011 in Knoxville’s Bearden neighborhood, with another location following in 2012 in downtown Knoxville. There are currently 10 Casual Pint locations in Tennessee and Ohio, with 10 more coming online soon.
 
“Matt and I were customers at the original Casual Pint, and we grew to love craft beer,” King says. “We got my parents into it, and we thought Cincinnati would be a great market for Casual Pint.”
 
Customers can sit down and order a pint or two of beer or get a growler to take home. There’s also the Pick 6 option, where customers can choose six different bottles from the cooler or shelves to take home.
 
The Oakley location will have 36 ever-rotating taps featuring a number of local beers as well as regional and national favorites. There will also be a small food menu so customers can grab a bite to eat.
 

Tap & Screw Brewery opening second location in Oakley


Tap & Screw Brewery opened in Westwood a little over a year ago, and now the brewery is expanding to a second location at 3026 Madison Road in Oakley, which will open this summer.
 
Tom Lorenz and Chuck Frisch own Tap & Screw, with Tom’s son Adam as the head brewer. Adam will run the second location as well as continue brewing.
 
The Oakley location will mainly be for small-batch and specialty beers, which will be brewed on a two-barrel system. All of the beers available in Westwood will also be available in Oakley, including the All Jacked Up vanilla porter, Irony Belgian dubbel and Dr. Kool IPA.
 
Like the original brewpub, the Oakley Tap & Screw will also have a food menu, but it will be much smaller with just 8-10 items on the menu. Tap & Screw's food menu focuses on fresh and homemade dishes, and the Westwood location has a full menu for lunch and dinner.

The new brewpub will be open six days a week for lunch, dinner and late-night.
 
Down the road, the Tap & Screw team plans to open two or three more brewpubs around the city.
 

Deeper Roots movement expands to include coffee shop in Oakley


Members of the Deeper Roots Coffee team have been involved in various aspects of coffee for the past decade. They started a coffee roasterie in Mt. Healthy four years ago and have been supplying coffee to local restaurants and cafés, and on April 1 they opened their own coffee shop in Oakley.  
 
“I think every barista and coffee person dreams of having a coffee shop,” says Jon Lewis, head of customer engagement for Deeper Roots and manager of the shop. “It’s an expression of how you work with coffee, and it’s the end of a very long journey of where coffee comes from.”
 
Deeper Roots’ owners feel that a lot is owed to the people who produce the coffee they roast and then sell. The roasterie blossomed from a development project in Guatemala — Deeper Roots Development — that works to improve the communities of small coffee farmers.
 
“We take for granted where coffee comes from,” Lewis says. “The history of coffee isn’t so great in terms of world trade and how the haves and have nots start to separate out. But with Deeper Roots, we have the opportunity to pull the two together.”
 
Deeper Roots sees the 750-square-foot café at 3056 Madison Road as more than just a behind-the-scenes environment, where the baristas don’t just push buttons on machines. Not all coffee is created equal, and the baristas will be available to teach customers the differences between the different types of coffee as well as how best to enjoy it.
 
The menu features about 12 different types of coffee that come from the company’s roasterie, including a handful of single-origin coffees and seasonal house blends. Deeper Roots also has iced coffee on tap and coffee on nitro tap, which is carbonated coffee that pours much like a Guinness with a creamy head.

There’s also a small food menu that includes croissants, toast with a variety of toppings and spreads and cookies, all sourced from local providers.
 
“Oakley represents a vibrant community, and everyone recognizes it as such,” Lewis says. “Coffee bars like this will flourish there, as it would anywhere that people want to gather around food or beverage.”
 
Deeper Roots café is open from 6:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Friday and 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
 

Food truck opening brick-and-mortar cafe at MadTree


Food truck owners Jeff and Melissa Ledford are opening a restaurant inside MadTree Brewing this week based on their popular wood-oven concept. Catch-a-Fire Café will continue to offer pizzas that customers know and love, as well as a few new items.
 
The food truck side of Catch-a-Fire launched in February 2013. Over the last year the truck has been a frequent sight at MadTree, which doesn’t currently serve food, so it made sense for the Ledfords to pursue opening a brick-and-mortar space inside the brewery.
 
Like the truck, the main method of cooking in the café will be a wood-fired oven. The menu will include 16 pizzas as well as dishes that use MadTree beer, such as pretzels with Gnarly Brown beer cheese, a PsychHOPathy-infused hummus and wood-fired wings with sauces like Happy Amber barbecue, a PsychHOPathy lime sauce, buffalo and jerk.
 
Ledford also plans to roll out specialty offerings and new dishes often, which will help the café keep up with the constant roll-out of new beers from MadTree.
 
The café will offer 16-inch pizzas in addition to its staple 10-inch. Online ordering will be available for to-go options.
 
Catch-a-Fire Café will be open when MadTree is open but will be closed Wednesday nights for MadTree's Hop Up dinners, which feature meals prepared by local chefs. Hours are currently 4-10 p.m. Tuesday-Wednesday, 4 p.m.-midnight Thursday, 4 p.m.-1 a.m. Friday, noon-1 a.m. Saturday and noon-8 p.m. Sunday.
 
Hours will change in the near future, when MadTree starts opening at noon Thursday and Friday for lunch.
 
And not to worry: The Ledfords plan to continue the food truck, though they'll likely shut down in the winter and start back up in the spring.
 

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.

Fresh Thyme markets coming to Tri-State

A new specialty grocer will soon be opening two locations in Cincinnati—one in Oakley and one in Symmes Township. The Fresh Thyme Farmers Market is like an outdoor farmers market but combined with a full-service grocery store.
 
Fresh Thyme has plans to open more than 60 stores in the Midwest in the next five years. Its first location in Mount Prospect, Ill., will open this spring, followed by eight more in 2014, including the Cincinnati locations in the fall.
 
The stores are roughly 28,000 square feet, and 80-100 employees will be hired for each Cincinnati location.
 
Fresh Thyme focuses on locally sourced, organic fruits and vegetables. The stores will have more than 400 bins of natural and organic bulk items, plus small batch locally roasted coffee beans. Stores will also have a butcher shop with all-natural handmade sausage and meat raised without hormones, specialty sections with gluten-free and dairy-free products, a full dairy with local items, a Hops & Grapes department with wine and local craft beer, varieties of vitamins, supplements and natural body care products, and a section with ready-made healthy meals for on-the-go.
 
Follow Fresh Thyme on Facebook and Twitter (@FreshThymeFM) for updates on the Cincinnati stores.
 
By Caitlin Koenig
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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
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Sleepy Bee Cafe creates a buzz in Oakley

Oakley’s newest restaurant, Sleepy Bee Café, opened its doors the week of December 16 at 3098 Madison Road. Dr. John Hutton and Sandra Gross, owners of Oakley’s blue manatee children’s bookstore and decafé and Brazee Street Studios, also own the café.
 
The idea for Sleepy Bee came from the recent dramatic decline in the honeybee population. Hutton and Gross wanted to get involved, and to them, a restaurant seemed like the best way.
 
Sleepy Bee serves breakfast, lunch and brunch with a focus on local, organic, and hormone-free produce, meat and dairy products. The menu, created by chef Frances Kroner, also caters to the health-conscious eaters with the Buff Bee lineup and offers creative, “real” food for kids. Some of the restaurant’s signature dishes include “Killer Bee” cookies, gluten-free Bee Cakes and the Queen City Bee breakfast, which features locally made goetta.
 
The restaurant showcases bee-centric art made by artisans from Brazee Street Studios of Glass and C-Link Local. Sleepy Bee boasts unique bee-inspired kiln-formed glass light fixtures and local artwork, including custom tiles in the dining room and restrooms that feature vegetables that are fertilized by hardworking bees.
 
Hutton and Gross plan to offer catering services and host annual bee-themed fundraising dinners to do their part for bee conservation and awareness.
 
Sleepy Bee is open Monday-Friday from 7 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
 
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
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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
Follow Caitlin on Twitter
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