A new website,
, will ask Cincinnatians what kind of events or programs they would like to see in Washington Park once the estimated $46 million renovation there is complete.
The Emanuel Community Center
partnered with The Creative Department
, an Over-the-Rhine based advertising firm, that donated its services to create the website. Residents can go to the site and post their ideas or vote on existing ones. As the information is gathered, it will be sent to major stakeholders like the Cincinnati Center City Development Corporation (3CDC) or the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra to help guide future programming or infrastructure in and around the park, Emanuel's executive director Karyl Cunningham said.
"We want to leverage all the investments of brick and mortar that have been done in Over-the-Rhine," Cunningham said. "Because at the end of the day community is really about people, and engaging those people once an investment is made."
As Over-the-Rhine has changed over the last 100 years, the Emanuel Community Center has changed with it, Cunningham said. Begun as a German boarding house in 1871, the center now provides programming that ranges from yoga and photography classes to early childhood education. And as a new socioeconomic group moves into the neighborhood, the ECC wants to promote programming that engages both the new and old residents to build a cohesive, diverse community.
"We are really not doing anything too different than what the organization did 100 years ago, and that is to create opportunities to bring people together despite their socioeconomic background," Cunningham said.
By gathering ideas from both those demographics, as well as other Cincinnati residents, Cunningham hopes that the site can help the park be a successful anchor for the community.
Some of the ideas already posted there include a dog park meet and greet, a sustainable organic community garden, a series of jazz concerts and a "Taste of OTR" festival featuring food from Over-the-Rhine.
She hopes that events in the park will not only engage neighborhood residents, but also draw people down from the suburbs. Whether its with jazz concerts, picnics, or art shows, she said she wants the website to be an evolving reservoir of ideas that can help guide future decisions in and around the beautiful park.
Writer: Henry Sweets