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Cohousing coming to Over-the-Rhine with Kunsthous


Next summer, a new kind of apartment community will make its debut in Over-the-Rhine called Kunsthous. Cofounders John Blatchford, Michael Fischer, Alyssa McClanahan and Barrett McClish are currently renovating two historic buildings in the neighborhood, and are creating co-living spaces within them.
 
“I’ve been renting for 10 years, and all of the places I’ve lived have had really strong communities,” Blatchford, CEO of Kunsthous, said. “People are moving back to cities and renting more than ever, but many apartments are too big and we’re living in buildings where we don’t know our neighbors. Kunsthous is trying to get away from that suburban seclusion.” Cohousing is popular on the West Coast and other urban areas. Typical cohousing has a smaller footprint, shared common space for building community.
 
The first building the team is renovating is 205 W. McMicken St., which they purchased through OTR Adopt. When finished, it will have six studio and one-bedroom apartments with a shared kitchen on the first floor and a co-working space.
 
Kunsthous units are smaller than typical apartments, and a bit cheaper when compared to other OTR apartments — the average rent for the first six units is $650 per month.
 
“We’re really trying to focus on the idea of co-living in Cincinnati,” Blatchford said.
 
In order to build intentional community, Kunsthous kitchens will have beer and kombucha on tap, and there will be public and private events throughout the year for tenants and the larger community.
 
“There is so much growth going on in Cincinnati, and a lot of that growth is focused in OTR,” Blatchford said. “You can look at larger coastal cities and see where OTR is going — rent is going to get more expensive, and more and more people will be moving in. We need to find a way to provide more affordable apartments, and ways for people moving in to meet others and build a network.”
 
Kunsthous will continue to grow, with seven more apartments planned for the building located at 509 E. 12th St. Blatchford said he and his team are planning to expand their idea within Cincinnati, and are looking at Walnut Hills and Northern Kentucky.
 
By the end of next year, there will be about 20 Kunsthous apartments, and although the buildings aren’t right next to each other and maybe not in the same neighborhood, that sense of community will be there.
 
“A lot of the best things in our lives are the result of the people that we meet,” Blatchford said. “Lots of people are moving back or just moving here, and we need to create more opportunities for people to meet other like themselves, or not like themselves. That’s what makes a city stronger and makes people happier.”
 
There is already interest from potential renters, and if you’re interested in living in Kunsthous, visit its website to sign up.
 

Local filmmaker screens films in OTR on sprawl, spatial segregation


On Nov. 2, local documentary filmmaker Andrea Torrice will showcase three of her films at the Mini Microcinema. Divided We Spra
wl,” The New Metropolis: A Crack in the Pavement and Trees in Trouble all have to do with issues that impact cities and suburbs in the United States.
 
Divided We Sprawl” focuses on spatial segregation in Gary, Ind., where much of the industry has left and moved to the suburbs. Torrice chose Gary because it’s a reflection of many cities in the Northeast and Midwest like it. In the film, she looks at how a city like Gary rebuilds, as well as the economic upheaval and abandonment by people, policy and government.
 
“I’m really interested in the meaning of a city or place, and how the meaning is changing,” Torrice said. “The intersection between place and income disparity impacts the community, and personal decisions and how decisions about transportation and economic growth dramatically impact our lives. We don’t always see that — I call it the invisible hand.”
 
The New Metropolis: A Crack in the Pavement” is about Cincinnati’s older suburbs, and the pattern of people moving to the suburbs, new suburbs cropping up and people moving out of the inner suburbs to the outer suburbs. Downtown is now going through a rebirth, and people are moving from the suburbs back to the urban core.
 
“I like to tell these stories because I like to put a human face on how public policies impact our lives,” Torrice said.
 
Cincinnati is also the case study for “Trees in Trouble” because like many Midwest cities, its streets are lined with ash trees, and the Emerald Ash Borer has invaded and is killing the ash trees in the United States.
 
Over the last 30 years, the city has planted about 12,000 ash trees, and they’re now all dead or dying. Torrice looks at how the city is responding to that, and the value of a tree in our community.
 
“Trees play important roles in cities for many reasons — they’re part of the infrastructure and quality of life,” she said.
 
Torrice is an award-winning documentary and public TV producer/writer whose work spans a range of contemporary issues, including spatial segregation and suburban flight.
 
“These films are important because it helps us understand more about our community and how we’re connected to other communities throughout the nation,” Torrice said. “We have some of the same problems, and these films will help spark dialogue on how to make all communities more vibrant and resilient places.”
 
Torrice made the film on Gary six years ago, but this will be the first time it will be shown in Cincinnati. The other two films have been broadcast on PBS, with “Trees in Trouble” most recently in April upon its release.
 
Doors open at 7 p.m., and the films will be shown one after the other beginning at 7:30.
 

People's Liberty grantee takes his mobile science lab to streets


Aaron Greene has a passion for science. As the program chair for bioscience technology at Cincinnati State, his work “encapsulates everything from pharmaceuticals to environmental biology.” Bioscience technology is applied to things as varied as the creation of insulin for diabetics, techniques for cleaning up the Mill Creek watershed and the development of new foods and flavors.

Though Greene is well-versed in the many applications of science in our everyday lives, he recognizes that not everyone shares his understanding, and that many people regard science as intimidating.

“What I hear is that ‘science isn’t for me, I’m not good at it’,” he said. “But it’s not something for somebody else, and it’s not something you’re good at to start with. It’s for everyone.”

A desire to dispel the misconceptions about science led Greene to apply for a $10,000 People’s Liberty grant for a project he calls It’s Just Science.

“My main goal is to show people that it’s not scary," Greene said. "It’s much more accessible than people give it a chance to be.”

When he applied for the grant, he had to clarify exactly how he’d make science approachable for the general public.

“How do we get it out there and into the hands of people?” Greene briefly considered using a tent or a pop-up camper to house a portable science lab. “But we really wanted to reinforce the accessibility and make it as mobile as possible, so we settled on a tricycle.”

Greene worked with a custom tricycle company based in Oregon to create a collapsible lab on wheels. The trike includes fold-out shelves on the side, which Greene will pack with microscopes and DNA extraction kits as he travels throughout the city.

Greene is busy reaching out to local libraries, community centers, events and even breweries to bring his mobile lab to learners of all ages and experience levels. “The trike is to break down the initial barrier, lowering the hurdles to the public," he said.

“Demystifying science is at the heart of this whole project,” Greene said. The soft launch of the It’s Just Science tricycle will happen in the coming weeks, but Greene already has his sights set on big goals for the future.

“I’m looking at a physical presence in an unused storefront to do a larger launch,” he shared. Ultimately, Greene has dreams of establishing a community lab where people can explore science in a less stressful environment than the classroom, under the supervision of scientists and graduate students who know science and can answer questions.

“As a scientist, I already understand the uses for these technologies,” Greene said.

But he anticipates that engaging people from different backgrounds in scientific exploration could yield new approaches to old problems. “I’ll be interested to see what comes out of it. When you think outside the box and let new minds come in, that’s where you get a lot of new innovation.”

To get up-to-date information on upcoming It’s Just Science appearances and find out where you can catch it next, visit its Facebook page.

Twice per year, eight grantees are chosen per grant cycle to prototype solutions to civic challenges. Project grantees are supported with $10,000, a launch event and access to People’s Liberty’s workplace and mentorship. Stay tuned to Soapbox for profiles of this year's 15 other grantees.

 

People's Liberty project grantee: Nate May


2016 People’s Liberty grantee Nate May is a composer and pianist whose work is influenced by his Appalachian roots. Inspired by his upbringing, May received a $10,000 grant from People’s Liberty Project Grant II class that allowed him to compose a musical piece entitled "State: A Testimony to Urban Appalachia," which debuted in April at The Sanctuary in Lower Price Hill.


Though the live performance ran for only two nights, "State" was years in the making.

“I grew up in Huntington, West Virginia, and lived in Fayetteville,” May says. “While I was living there, I became really interested in Appalachian issues. I was looking for the next step to explore these topics.”

During that time, May wrote an opera called "Dust in the Bottomland," which focused on issues that Appalachians face.

That next step came when May was awarded an Appalachian Sound Fellowship from Berea College in 2015. He was funded to collect oral histories, and he planned to use that content as the lyrical text for a piece of music. May then connected with Community Matters in Lower Price Hill, which introduced him to Appalachians living in Cincinnati.

As May began to compose State, word spread about the project. May was told that MUSE: Cincinnati Women’s Choir had just moved into The Sanctuary along with Community Matters, and they, too, shared an interest in Appalachian history. May immediately reached out to discuss the possibility of collaborating on the piece, and the choir's director, Rhonda Juliano, enthusiastically took on the challenge.

“It was such a difficult piece,” May says. “They put a huge amount of work into it and pushed themselves.”

Classically-trained Cincinnati vocalist Kate Wakefield, whom May knew from school, sang the lead part, which tells the story of three urban Appalachian women using their own words. A trio of percussionists and a pianist brought rhythm to the piece.

“I’m really proud of the piece and it came across as I’d envisioned it,” May says. “And I can’t say that about every piece that I’ve written. This was the most ambitious piece I’ve ever undertaken.”

The experience of creating "State" opened many doors for May. He now works as a consultant for the Urban Appalachian Community Coalition, in addition to continuing to compose and perform regularly as a pianist. With the Coalition, May is helping to start an initiative for Appalachian college students in Cincinnati to explore their identities through research, advocacy and cultural events.

“On a creative level, having a vision that big, and that prone to failure, and then actually realizing it has given me a big head about the possibilities that I can undertake,” May says.

Buoyed by the success of "State," May says that he is now throwing himself into projects with a newfound enthusiasm and self-assurance.

“I’m taking on things I wouldn’t have undertaken before,” he says. He is now in the early stages of developing a collaborative musical project that will involve touring nationally. “It will be like 'State' in a number of ways, but even more visible nationally. I’ve found that my ego needs to be unrealistically large in order to actually accomplish what I need to accomplish. If it’s realistic, I’ll stop short of what’s possible, but if it’s unrealistic, I’ll push myself to the edges.”

May will be speaking about "State," and his other works surrounding Appalachian issues, on Oct. 6 at “Composing Appalachia: A Conversation with Nate May.” The talk is part of a series of literary salons organized by Pauletta Hansel, Cincinnati’s Poet Laureate. The event will take place from 7 to 10 p.m. at Lydia’s on Ludlow in Clifton.

A full recording of "State," as well as photos and video, can be found on May’s website.

Twice per year, eight grantees are chosen per grant cycle to prototype solutions to civic challenges. Project grantees are supported with $10,000, a launch event and access to People’s Liberty’s workplace and mentorship. Stay tuned to Soapbox for profiles of this year's 15 other grantees.

 

People's Liberty project grantee, Access Cincinnati


Kathleen Cail and Nestor Melnyk have known each other for years. After working individually to make the world a more welcoming and accepting place for children and those with special needs, they realized their work wasn’t just about disabilities.
 
“We want to create an environment where everyone is accepted and no one feels singled out,” Melnyk says.
 
Two years ago, Cail and Melnyk spearheaded a program called LivAble Cincinnati as part of the ReelAbilities Film Festival, which was developed around a video short that highlighted the obstacles people with disabilities face when navigating a city.
 
“What was most striking was that most of the obstacles were very minor and were simple to overcome,” Melnyk says. “These were obstacles that if corrected, would benefit everyone. They were really issues of universal design.”
 
After the program, the group stayed active and tried to come up with ways to promote universal design. LivAble Cincinnati looked at ways to educate, promote and develop those concepts in the areas of live, work and play in order to make the city a more livable, welcoming place.
 
According to Melnyk, people with disabilities comprise about 20 percent of the nation’s population. There is a consumer market out there that many businesses and organizations are missing out on if they don’t embrace accessibility and universal design.
 
“With momentum growing in Over-the-Rhine, downtown and The Banks, one of our ideas was to see how we could create an information source for people who might want to take advantage of bars, restaurants and other venues in those areas, but are concerned about their physical conditions,” Melnyk says.
 
During their research, Cail and Melnyk found that there were people who had never gone to those areas because they didn’t want to take their chances of going to OTR and finding out they couldn’t get into a restaurant due to physical limitations.
 
Access Cincinnati was born out of that research, and helps provide objective information that allows people to make their own decisions about what bars, restaurants and venues will work for them.
 
Cail and Melnyk looked to People’s Liberty for resources and funding — they were part of its Project Grant III class and received a $10,000 grant to execute Access Cincinnati, focusing specifically on the area from OTR to The Banks, along the streetcar route.
 
The pair developed a strategy to survey about 300 bars and restaurants in the project area, and held a survey launch event in August to educate volunteers on what Access Cincinnati is. Over the next few months, they will assemble information and provide an interactive mobile website that is similar to Google Maps or Yelp, but with accessibility details. The locations will be graphically represented and communicated via icons; Cail and Melnyk are also developing window clings for the bars, restaurants and venues to display.
 
Access Cincinnati will officially launch in early 2017. A relaunch will happen just in time for the National Veterans Wheelchair Games, which is being held in Cincinnati. During the Games, over 600 wheelchair athletes will be staying in and around downtown, along with their trainers, coaches, officials, staff, family members and spectators.
 
Twice per year, eight grantees are chosen per grant cycle to prototype solutions to civic challenges. Project grantees are supported with $10,000, a launch event and access to People’s Liberty’s workplace and mentorship. Stay tuned to Soapbox for profiles of this year's 15 other grantees.

 

Cincinnati native helping to start church for everyone in Over-the-Rhine


A new church in Over-the-Rhine will hold its first official service at 11 a.m. on Oct. 2 at the Woodward Theater. But Sanctuary’s founders want Cincinnati to know that it’s not your traditional church.
 
Sanctuary is non-denominational, and wants to give anyone, no matter where they are in their faith of lack thereof, a place to belong.
 
“We like to say that this is a church for the rebellious, rejected and right-brained thinkers,” says co-founder and co-pastor Shawn Braley. “OTR is full of those types of people — the rebellious and the creative — and we want Sanctuary to become a place for them.”
 
In medieval times, the church was at the forefront of artistic movements, i.e. the Renaissance. But over the centuries it has stopped being a trailblazer. Braley hopes to break that mold and create a space for creative people to flourish.
 
When Braley was a student at UC in 2009, he started hanging out in OTR and fell in love with the neighborhood. He loved the diversity and the rich history, but didn’t find a church that he connected to. (He grew up in a conservative church where he was loved but didn’t feel that he fit in.)
 
He didn’t go to seminary but ended up working for a church in the suburbs. While working there, he realized he wanted to start a church in OTR and told his pastor that. In 2014, Braley met Greg Knake, co-pastor of Sanctuary.
 
“Our visions of what a church would look like for OTR were spot on,” Braley says.
 
Knake had started a get-together called Beer and Hymns that met at MOTR Pub twice a month. A bluegrass band would play traditional church hymns, and attendees bonded over beer tastings.
 
As Braley met more and more people who were interested in starting a community in OTR, he realized they needed to hold more events. The OTR Potluck started around that time, and in 2015, Braley started Cincy Stories.
 
Although the nonreligious Cincy Stories grew out of Sanctuary, Braley hopes it will do the same thing and still be its own thing.
 
“We want Cincy Stories to be raw and real, and create a sense of community within a community, just like Sanctuary,” he says.
 
Braley and Knake chose to hold services at the Woodward Theater because it’s a beautiful and historic building that has a lot of meaning for the neighborhood. It’s also a picture of revitalization and has been brought back to life, much like the majority of OTR itself.
 
“OTR has always been a great neighborhood,” Braley says. “I love the inside and out of the Woodward and what it represents. I wanted Sanctuary to be in a place where the neighborhood goes that is established in a safe, comfortable and hospitable place that has visibility and history. The authenticity of the Woodward shows that Sanctuary is here to be in the neighborhood.”
 
With its first established church service on Oct. 2, the Sanctuary team plans to continue holding its tried-and-true events. Beer and Hymns is at 5 p.m. on the first and third Sunday of each month at MOTR, and the OTR Potluck is at 7 p.m. on the second Monday of each month at Rhinegeist.
 
Braley also helped start Sunday of Service — everyone meets at MOTR and heads to a community on Liberty Street in the West End. They serve the community in different ways and build relationships with residents and each other. Sunday of Service is held the second Sunday of the month.
 
“We feel strongly about OTR, and we don’t want to be a church filled with new or old residents,” Braley says. “We hope to be a church that really reflects the city, where people from all walks of life feel like they can come and worship together in bigger ways. 
 

Cincinnati Design Week welcomes creatives to the heart of the design world


Cincinnati is home to some of the world’s most highly recognized design agencies and schools, and is at the forefront of global design. Cincinnati Design Week, which is Sept. 28-Oct. 2, is a chance for the city to showcase its creative minds. The weeklong celebration includes workshops, studio tours, panel discussions and a number of parties.
 
CDW is presented by AIGA Cincinnati and AGAR, and features speakers from all aspects of the design community. You can view the full schedule and list of speakers here.
 
Sept. 24: The preview activities kick off with the 16th annual OFFF Cincinnati creative conference. 9 a.m., School of Creative and Performing Arts, $25-50
Sept. 26: A Lunch n Learn panel, “Ignite Your Design Career with UX,” will teach graphic designers how to leverage user experience techniques in order to inspire their work. 12 p.m., Union Hall, free
Sept. 26: Five different female designers will share their best and worst work, as well as lessons they’ve learned, at KnowHer. 6 p.m., Gaslight Software, $15-25
Sept. 27: Freelance and independent graphic designers, copywriters and developers are invited to Indie/Breakfast Club. 8:30 a.m., The Hive, free
Sept. 27: Openfield Creative will discuss how design thinkers and makers can be so much more during Bending the Boundaries of Interface. 12 p.m., Openfield Creative, $15-25
Sept. 27: Building Bridges: Connecting our Design Community, a collaborative workshop that focuses on designing next year’s event, hosted by AIGA Cincinnati and Hyperquake. 6 p.m., Contemporary Arts Center, $10 seat holding fee, AIGA members only
Sept. 28: Designing and Prototyping with Adobe XD will focus on crafting a design with Adobe XD and using Photoshop, Illustrator and Live Preview. 2 p.m., Union Hall, $15-35
Sept. 28: Gaslight Software will give an inside look at agile design process during Agile Design: How to Fail Your Way to Success. 6 p.m., Gaslight Software, $15-25
Sept. 28: Networking, drinks and free food at Liquid Courage. 7 p.m., Igby’s, free
Sept. 29: Enjoy coffee and a chat with the developers of ArchiTour Cincinnati, a new app for self-guided architectural tours around downtown at ArchiTour Cincinnati: Coffee, Streetcar and App Design. Make sure to download the app first. 8:30 a.m., Coffee Emporium, free
Sept. 29: Print Talk with Mohawk will show you the ins and outs of the Mohawk Maker’s Field Guide. Lunch provided. 11:45 a.m., Contemporary Arts Center, $15-25
Sept. 29: Designing for a Virtual Environment: A Tale of Two Workshops will deal with the current state of VR. 6 p.m., Contemporary Arts Center, $10-20
Sept. 30: CreativeMornings: Jon Flannery. 8:30 a.m., TBD free
Sept. 30: AIGA Cincinnat will kick off its new In-House INitiative program with The Usual Suspects: Redefining In-House Roles. Cincinnati’s best in-house creatives will deliver practical workshops for Junior, Senior and Director Level creatives. 9 a.m., Art Academy of Cincinnati, $10-20

Sept. 30: The highlight of CDW is Alex Center, design director for Coca-Cola. He’s delivering the keynote speech, and will speak about his experience working within small and large organizations, and why he believes that the future of branding is in-house. 6 p.m., Woodward Theater, $15-35
Sept. 30: CDW Afterparty with Alex Center. 8 p.m., Woodward Theater, free for those who bought a ticket to the keynote
 
Tickets for all CDW events can be purchased here. Many of the events are free, but make sure to register for them!
 
 
 
 

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
 

Former musician opening cafe and cocktail bar in Over-the-Rhine


Former musician Mike Stankovich is bringing a bit of Europe to Over-the-Rhine with Peacemaker, a low-key café and cocktail bar. It will be located at 111 13th St., and is slated to open in October.
 
Inspired by European café culture, Peacemaker will be somewhere people can stop in and read a book; or a drink and something to eat. The horseshoe-shaped bar will also add to that culture, encouraging conversation between customers.
 
Peacemaker won’t have a full kitchen, but the food menu will include things like housemade pickles, mustards and jams. Stankovich is also working with local chefs to create a pate that can be served with bread and mustard or jam. There will also be open-faced sandwiches featuring seasonal ingredients, plus twists on traditional sandwiches like peanut butter and spicy honey or liverwurst.
 
When it comes to the drink menu, Stankovich wants to focus on technique and know-how. Three-ingredient and all-booze cocktails will be the highlight of Peacemaker’s ever-changing drink menu. There will also be four beers on tap with constantly rotating kegs, and the wine program will focus on flavor profiles rather than grape types.
 
There’s also a back room that will house a separate bar, and can provide extra seating for when the front room is at capacity (which is only 52). The room will also be rented out for private events.
 
When it opens, Peacemaker will be open from 3 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. Tuesday-Friday; and noon to 2:30 a.m. Saturday and Sunday. Food will be served until 2 a.m. daily.
 

Specialty cheese shop The Rhined to open near Findlay Market


This fall, a new specialty cheese shop will join the bustling activity near Findlay Market. The Rhined, owned by Stephanie Webster and her husband Dave, will offer gourmet cheeses; charcuterie, including preserves, pickles, olives and condiments; and beer and wine for retail sale. A full rehab of the 636-square-foot space, located at 1737 Elm St., is currently underway.  

Once renovation is complete, the space will feature a cheese counter with seating for 12. The counter will give patrons an opportunity to enjoy a gourmet cheese flight paired with a glass of wine or local craft beer.

“A lot of people don’t realize that cheese pairs well with beer,” Webster says. “The carbonation cuts through the fat of the cheese.”

The shop will primarily carry local beers, paying homage to Cincinnati’s rich brewing history.

Commitment to promoting local products extends beyond the beer offerings. The shop is particularly focused on exposing customers to the many world-class cheeses that are produced throughout the Midwest. The Rhined will carry a selection of 50 cheeses, including options sourced from Indiana, Kentucky and Wisconsin. Pricing will run from $12-30 per pound.

Pricing reflects the hand-crafted nature of the product being sold.

“That might seem expensive to some people,” Webster says. “We’re doing this for the cheesemakers, and we want to make sure they get a solid price for the amazing product that they make. And once they taste the cheese, they’ll know that it’s worth it.”

In the past year, the Websters have gotten familiar with many of the family, artisanal cheesemakers that The Rhined will ultimately promote.

“We’ve been visiting cheese shops in other cities, tasting a lot of cheese, meeting cheesemakers, talking to people in the industry, and trying to do our homework and research,” Webster says. “We want to make sure that we do this right for our city, and for our neighborhood.”

The Rhined is expected to open by October, just in time for holiday gift-giving and entertaining.

“It will be a welcoming place that anyone can come into to learn about cheese,” Webster says. “Once you have the cheese, you’re going want to buy it.”

Follow The Rhined on Instagram @therhined for updates and all things cheese.

 

NOFA program allows developers to complete rehabs in eight neighborhoods


Ten residential development projects will receive a total of about $4.4 million in city funds through the Notice of Funding Availability program. The program was designed to help the city achieve PLAN Cincinnati’s goal of having a variety of quality housing options for people of all income levels and stages of life.
 
Each phase of funding will target a different set of neighborhoods. This round of funding includes projects in four targeted neighborhoods: College Hill, Madisonville, Northside and Walnut Hills, as well as projects in Camp Washington, Over-the-Rhine, Roselawn and South Cumminsville.
 
The money comes from a two-year surge in gap funding, and will help developers, individuals, partnerships, for-profit and nonprofit entities complete the rehabilitation of housing units in Cincinnati neighborhoods.
 
City funding is being exceeded by a ratio of 12:1 by funds from developers and other stakeholders, for a total of about $57 million in investment in the eight neighborhoods.
 
Projects that received NOFA funds in this round are:
 
  • Camp Washington Works — the rehabilitation of four single-family, affordable units in the heart of Camp Washington.
  • Working in Neighborhoods — three new, affordable, single-family homes and one market-rate unit in College Hill, called Cedar Corridor.
  • Madisonville New Homes — four new, market-rate, single-family homes.
  • 1865 Chase Ave. in Northside — seven market-rate rental units.
  • Abington, Race and Pleasant Apartments in Over-the-Rhine — the historic renovation of 50 affordable rental units.
  • Morgan Apartments in OTR — the renovation of 47 affordable rental units at 1900 Vine St., 1902-1904 Vine, 2 E. McMicken Ave., 53 E. Clifton Ave. and 19-27 W. Clifton Ave.
  • Roselawn Senior Apartments — 50 new affordable housing units for seniors.
  • The Commons at South Cumminsville — will add 80 one-bedroom supportive housing units to the neighborhood.
  • E. 771 and 772 McMillan St. in Walnut Hills — the renovation of seven rental units of market-rate housing.
  • Gateway at McMillan — the renovation of 12 market-rate rental units, as well as three storefronts, in Walnut Hills.

Seven finalists announced for Impact 100 grant


Seven area organizations were recently named finalists for the Impact 100 grant. Each year, Impact 100 awards upwards of $100,000 to regional nonprofits for a variety of projects. Since its founding in 2011, Impact 100 has awarded over $3.2 million to the Greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky area.

Four of the grants will be awarded this year, each totaling $101,500. Grant recipients will be named Sept. 13 at Impact 100’s Annual Awards Celebration.
 
Finalists are:
  • The Center for Great Neighborhood's Hellmann Creative Center. Grant money would be used for artist equipment, to display equipment for community-focused gallery space, hiring a coordinator, and a multi-media station that highlights local productions.
  • Chatfield College plans to renovate an underutilized park at the corner of Central Parkway and and Liberty Street into an outdoor learning space. The Central & Liberty Green Space will be used by students doing service projects and in hands-on classroom activities, as well as by the community.
  • Cincinnati Therapeutic Riding & Horsemanship plans to expand Project Mustang if its chosen as a grant recipient. The program helps save wild mustangs; the mustangs are part of the organization's larger goal of helping veterans overcome the affects of PTSD. 
  • Greater Cincinnati Construction Foundation is expanding a program at Woodward Career Technical High School that focuses on the development and implementation of practical, application-based math program in middle schools. The program will help increase the placement of students into the high school program that prepares them for the construction trade.
  • Northern Kentucky Community Action Commission hopes to equip the Lincoln Grant Scholar House with safety amenities and programming. The house provides single mothers who are pursuing post-secondary educations — and their kids — with an affordable housing option and access to a number of programs.
  • St. Francis Seraph Ministries & Center for Respite Care will purchase a commercial stove hood for The St. Anthony Center Dinner Club, which provides breakfast and dinners for the homeless five days per week. The grant would also help fund a new kitchenette for the in-house respite care unit that provides post-hospitalization care and other services for the homeless.
  • Women’s Crisis Center plans to expand its Green Dot Violence Prevention Program to three new high schools in Northern Kentucky.

Update: Status of food trucks to restaurants


Over the past few months, a number of well-known food truck owners have announced that they’re branching out and opening brick-and-mortar restaurants and retail spaces. We decided it was time to give readers an update on the restaurants, as the majority of them are planning to open soon.
 
Dojo Gelato, 1735 Blue Rock St., Northside
Owner Michael Christner is renovating the former J.F. Dairy Corner building into a second location for Dojo. The building is cleaned up, and now construction can begin on the space. Christner plans to move Dojo’s production operations to Northside and will offer an expanded menu that will include gelato as well as traditional ice cream treats.
 
Panino, 1313-1315 Vine St., Over-the-Rhine
Nino Loreto sold his food truck to fund a brick-and-mortar restaurant, which will also serve homemade salami and charcuterie. Panino will feature a casual deli with a walk-up meat counter, plus a restaurant that will offer a small menu of charcuterie plates, crostinis, bruschetta and paninis as well as a small selection of entrees. An opening date hasn’t been set yet because, once build-out on the space is finished, Loreto has to make his meat products, which take a while to cure. Keep tabs on Panino’s Facebook page for updates.
 
Share: Cheesebar, 6105 Ridge Road, Pleasant Ridge
C’est Cheese is one of the city’s most beloved food trucks, maybe because the menu is made up of the ultimate comfort food: grilled cheese. Owner Emily Frank is taking her love of the “cheesy goodness” and opening a retail cheese shop, complete with cheese plates, craft beer and wine to enjoy in-store. There have been a number of setbacks, including a life-threatening injury that Frank experienced earlier this year, but the plans and designs for the space have been submitted and Frank is hoping for a fall opening.
 
Urban Grill on Main, 6623 Main St., Newtown
Randy Reichelderfer and sister-in-law Betsy Eicher are renovating an 1870s farmhouse into a full-service restaurant and coffee shop. The menu will feature customer favorites from the Urban Grill Food Truck, which will continue operating once the restaurant opens. They’re still shooting for a late summer opening in Newtown.
 

Brewing Heritage Trail receives $300,000 in state/local funds, construction to begin early next year


The Over-the-Rhine Brewery District was recently awarded $200,000 from the state and $100,000 from the city to help get construction underway on the Brewing Heritage Trail. The $5 million project will include a 2.3-mile trail as well as a website and mobile app.
 
The trail will tell the story of Cincinnati’s beer culture by showcasing the city’s historic breweries and taverns through a series of plaques and murals. A number of the buildings that have served as breweries and taverns over the years are currently in use today by new breweries like Rhinegeist and reborn breweries like Christian Moerlein.
 
The trail will be split into three segments and will begin in Pendleton and wind its way through Over-the-Rhine and into the Mohawk area. Three murals depicting Cincinnati’s brewing history are located at 25 Back St., 1625 Central Parkway and 131 E. McMicken St. in Over-the-Rhine.
 
Construction is expected to begin on the middle segment in early 2017. The middle segment will showcase the history of lager, an industry that began in Cincinnati, and the bars and saloons that played important roles in the city’s politics and history.
 
The first segment of the trail will tell the story of Cincinnati’s early brewers and the cultural background of the English, French, Germans and Irish who settled the city. The third segment will focus on the growth of the city’s breweries and how they began shipping beer all over the world.
 
The website and mobile app, which were made possible by a grant from the Haile Foundation, are expected to launch this fall. They’ll help guide people through the trail as well as provide additional information.
 

Five Cincinnati projects receive over $9 million in state historic tax credits


The Ohio Development Services Agency recently awarded $27.8 million in state historic tax credits. Twenty-six organizations across the state plan to rehab a total of 39 buildings, which on the state level, will leverage about $261.4 million in private investment.
 
Many of the buildings that received Ohio Historic Preservation Tax Credits in this round are vacant and generate little to no economic activity.
 
Five high-profile projects in Cincinnati received a total of just over $9.3 million in state historic tax credits.  
 
Crosley Building, 1333 Arlington St., Camp Washington
Received $5 million in tax credits
Built in 1930 by Samuel Hannaford and Sons, 1333 Arlington housed the headquarters of the Crosley Radio Corporation. The nine-story, 300,000-square-foot building (and an adjacent building) will be redeveloped into 324 market-rate apartments. This is the first state historic tax credit awarded to Camp Washington.
 
Film Center Building, 1632 Central Parkway, Over-the-Rhine
Received $1.07 million in tax credits
In its heyday, the Film Center Building was one of several buildings in OTR that served the film industry. Urban Sites plans to redevelop the first floor of the now vacant building into office and restaurant space. The upper floors will house 46 rental units with a mixture of studio, and one- and two-bedroom apartments.
 
Market Square II, 1807-1830 Elm St., 127 Findlay St., 1827 Logan St., OTR
Received $1.7 million in tax credits
The second phase of Model Group’s Market Square will include the renovation of 10 historic buildings, as well as one new build. This phase of the project will include 55 apartments, plus 24,000 square feet of ground-floor commercial space.
 
Strietmann Biscuit Company Building, 223-235 W. 12th St., OTR
Received $1.2 million in tax credits
Built in 1899, these buildings used to house the Strietmann Biscuit Company. After the company moved to a new facility in the 1940s, the building became home to a number of mixed-use and small businesses. It now sits vacant, but Grandin Properties plans to rehabilitate it into office space for 10-15 businesses, with a first-floor restaurant space.
 
771 and 772 E. McMillan St., Walnut Hills
Received $250,000 in tax credits
Walnut Hills Redevelopment Foundation and a few private developers will be working to redevelop three buildings, two of which are historic. The Hamilton Building, located at 771 McMillan, was built in 1883 as a single-family residence. It was converted into apartments, and has been vacant since 1981. 772 McMillan is a mixed-use building with three commercial spaces on the ground floor and apartments above; the apartments have been vacant since the mid-1970s, and the ground floor since 2004. Plans include seven apartments and a restaurant or bar at street level. The third, non-historic building is 2504 Chatham St., which will see the rehabilitation of six vacant apartments.
 
 
 
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