Just north of Liberty Street, the OTR Recreation Center serves children and families living in Over-the-Rhine, Pendleton, Mohawk and the West End. Located at 1715 Republic Street, the center features a gymnasium, roller rink, weight room, kitchen, game room, teen lounge, study room and art room.
Although the OTR Rec Center offers many amenities at a small fraction of the cost you’d pay at other fitness and recreation centers, it could use more community support to raise awareness of the facility’s need for programming dollars. The center needs everything from instructors to teach yoga, to people to spearhead sports programming and individuals interested in using their professional or personal expertise to give something back to the OTR community.
One local resident, Caitlin Behle, decided in 2011 to create OTR Skate
, an event aimed at both fundraising and community building and designed to engage residents of OTR, old and new alike, in the Center’s development.
As a flurry of investment and interest continue to fuel the revitalization of OTR, Caitlin says she got involved with the Rec Center to bring more attention to the region of OTR north of Liberty Street. “The Center is a valuable community asset that needs some help,” she says. “I wanted to come up with a fun way to build awareness of the center as a community resource and raise some money for programming to help build membership.”
Caitlin says that one of the reasons investment in the OTR Rec Center is so important is that to some members of the community, it represents one of the only “safe” places where kids and families struggling with poverty and other issues can come to have fun. “There are many kids in this community that need direction, a safe place or just a friend to spend time with,” she says. Program funding will provide the resources necessary to ensure that the doors stay open and that there are fun opportunities available to help develop and support the community.
On April 27, OTR Skate returns to the Rec Center. For $5, adults ages 18 and up can see local bands You, You’re Awesome and Automagik as they perform from the center of the rink. Think music video meets roller derby, as the Cincinnati Roller Girls will be on hand to keep the party going. If roller-skating isn’t your thing, the Rec Center offers free Wii, foosball, air hockey, pool and bumper pool.
The event is sponsored by the Counter Rhythm Group, Cincy Blues Society and Cincinnati Roller Girls, and has already garnered additional local support from businesses like Pho Lang Thang, Atomic Number Ten, Daisy Mae’s Produce, Iris Book Café and Smartfish Sustainable Supply. These businesses will provide raffle prizes, and all proceeds from the event will be used for program enhancement.
For more information about the OTR Recreation Center or OTR Skate, call 513-381-1893.
• Attend OTR Skate April 27 from 8-11PM.
• Teach a class or donate your time to help create programs for kids and families, or become a mentor.
• Become a member of the OTR Rec Center.
• Contribute financially to rec center programming.