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Cincinnati In The News

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Renovated food markets in New Orleans offer lessons for Cincinnati


New Orleans once had 34 neighborhood food markets, with historic roots to a time before modern refrigeration when neighborhood shopping was central to daily life. Many closed post-WWII, as population moved to the suburbs, and most of the remaining markets were shuttered by Hurricane Katrina.

Next City has a feature story on the rebirth of three neighborhood markets in New Orleans, two as traditional neighborhood markets and one as a museum.

"In all of our post-Katrina work, what we find is that people want what they had, except they didn’t understand that what they had was very difficult to have to begin with," says Cedric Grant, executive director of the New Orleans Building Corporation, which is spearheading the renovations. "And now you have to really imagine something new."

These efforts remind us of the tremendous asset Cincinnati has in Findlay Market, a neighborhood market that has withstood the decline of its Over-the-Rhine surroundings and seems poised to benefit from redevelopment there, including the new streetcar line.

Description of the efforts to revive neighborhood food markets in New Orleans — including interaction with residents and struggles to develop the right business model — might offer lessons for movements to bring co-op markets to local neighborhoods like Clifton and Northside.

Read the full article here.
 

Potential Seattle streetcar changes could impact national movement


Seattle followed Portland to build the second modern streetcar system in the U.S., featuring one downtown line, a second that's about to open and a third in the planning stages. Overall ridership grew steadily after the first line opened in 2008, the transit website Transport Politic says, but usage flattened out in 2013 and actually declined in 2014.

"The problem may have something to do with the way the streetcar runs: In the street, sharing lanes with cars," says Transport Politic Editor Yonah Freemark in a new blog post. "The results have been slow vehicles — the line's scheduled service averages less than eight miles per hour — often held back by traffic and a lack of reliability. This can produce horror stories of streetcars getting stuck for half an hour or more behind other vehicles and, combined with infrequent service, it certainly reinforces the sense that streetcars are too slow and unreliable to provide any serious transportation benefit.

"This is a problem shared by every existing and planned modern streetcar line in the country, suggesting that the streetcar designed to run in the street with cars may, over the long term, simply fail to attract riders who grow increasingly frustrated with the quality of service provided."

Sobering thoughts for those anticipating long-term success for the Cincinnati Streetcar, which will run in street traffic along its entire route.

Seattle is now studying the idea of dedicated lanes for its third streetcar line, with the idea of providing quicker travel times. Freeman thinks that new approach could "demonstrat(e) that one of the fundamental problems with today's modern streetcar movement can, in fact, be addressed, albeit a few years late. If it shows that those dedicated lanes can reduce disruptions and speed up service, it hopefully won't be long until we see them in cities across the country, from Atlanta to Portland."

Read the full article here.
 

Constella Festival is "challenging the misconceptions of classical music"


Cincinnati's annual Constella Festival of Music & Fine Arts is called "the festival that's challenging the misconceptions of classical music" in a preview article published in Huffington Post's Arts & Culture section.

In December Soapbox wrote about founder Tatiana Berman's efforts to expand Constella's reach by employing more digital promotions that "target audiences nationally to come to Cincinnati." This Huffington Post piece will certainly help with her goal.

"Unlike the standard classical music circuit — characterized by what Berman's team describes as the 100 concert a year demanding schedule — Constella seeks to, in essence, maintain the intimacy of classical music, but encourage the experimentation and chance-taking," the article says.

The Constella Festival runs April 8-19 at Memorial Hall, Woodward Theatre, Cincinnati Art Museum, SCPA and several other venues. Get festival details and buy tickets here.

Read the full Huffington Post article here.
 

Search is on for next great urban innovation idea


Governing Magazine's City Accelerator section is all about "local government innovations that make a difference in the lives of city residents," and the current push is a collaboration with Citi Foundation and Living Cities to reinvigorate local democracy in American cities. Seven cities are finalists in a contest of sorts to get help developing the systems, skills and knowledge to adopt innovative approaches into their normal course of business.

Cincinnati isn't one of the finalists, but these cities are: Albuquerque, Atlanta, Baltimore, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, New Orleans and Seattle. Each city is pitching a specific project it needs help with, from engaging immigrant entrepreneurs to involving residents in updating the city's 20-year comprehensive plan. Each city has a video pitch on the site.

You can vote for and comment on your favorite pitches, and judges will take your votes into consideration when making final decisions on the winners.

Read the full story here.
 

Forbes ranks Cincinnati as #5 most affordable U.S. city


Cincinnati continues to get kudos for our affordability, this time from Forbes, which ranks Cincinnati #5 on its list of the 20 most affordable U.S. cities. Last week HSH mortgage brokers ranked Cincinnati the fourth cheapest among 27 major U.S. cities for the salary needed to pay a mortgage on the median home price.

Forbes based its ranking on housing costs, too, but added a cost of living index that measures the cost of food, utilities, gas, transportation, medical expenses and other daily expenses in each area.

Birmingham, Ala. was ranked the #1 most affordable city, and several others in our region scored highly: Dayton #8, Indianapolis #9, Columbus and Detroit #10 (tie), Louisville #13 and Akron #15.

Brian Carley, President and CEO of the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber, gets a prominent mention in the ranking's introduction, offering one explanation for our affordability: “Nobody’s looking to gouge anybody. Instead, everything’s reasonably priced.” Well, that's a relief!

Read the full Forbes story here.

 

Craft beer & community development on WVXU


Soapbox Managing Editor John Fox was joined by Michael Albarella from Nine Giant Brewing and Doug Newberry from Wiedemann Brewing March 5 on WVXU's "Cincinnati Edition" program to discuss the upcoming forum on Cincinnati's embrace of craft beer as community development. Nine Giant is building a brewery and taproom in Pleasant Ridge, while Wiedemann is doing likewise in Newport; both plan to be open by fall 2015.

Albarella and Newberry will be panelists, along with Bryant Goulding of Rhinegeist, 5:00-7:00 p.m. March 11 at UC's Niehoff Urban Studio, bringing beer samples as well. The event is free and open to anyone 21 and older.

Read about the March 11 forum and RSVP here.

Listen to the WVXU interview here.

Cincinnati housing among the most affordable for major U.S. cities


Cincinnati ranks the fourth cheapest among 27 major U.S. cities for the salary needed to pay a mortgage on the median home price, according to a report from online HSH mortgage brokers. The report is analyzed by Next City, the news website dedicated to transforming cities and inspiring people who live in them.

Pittsburgh ranks as the cheapest city in the report, with an annual salary of $31,716 required to afford a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage there, where the median home price is $135,000. Cincinnatians need a salary of $33,485 to afford a home mortgage. The rest of the top five cheapest housing are #2 Cleveland, #3 St. Louis and #5 Detroit.

The highest salaries needed to afford a median home price are San Diego ($95,433) and San Francisco ($142,448).

Read the full story here.
 

Cincinnati #3 among U.S. cities in company growth and relocation


Site Selection magazine and website has unveiled its ranking of the top U.S. cities for economic activity, based on the number of companies expanding or relocating, and Cincinnati ranks third behind Chicago and Houston and ahead of Dallas and Atlanta. There were 196 expansion/relocation projects in Greater Cincinnati in 2014, according to the rankings.

The report includes a nice feature section about Cincinnati under the headline "All-Star Success in an All-Star City."

"Several years ago Major League Baseball selected Cincinnati to be the site of the 2015 All Star Game," the article says. "But the city on the banks of the Ohio River has been a top choice for companies for long time and last year it climbed three spots, from number six to number three, among Site Selection’s Top Metros."

The section highlights decisions by ThyssenKrupp Bilstein and Empower to expand in this region instead of moving out and quotes Johnna Reeder, president and CEO of the Regional Economic Development Initiative (REDI): “While other regions fought to hang on during the 2008 recession, Cincinnati doubled down with investment in infrastructure and housing. It’s created an environment where new companies are moving to town and expanding. Cincinnati is hot right now.”

Read the full story here.
 

Rockfish's Dave Knox featured in AdAge "40 Under 40"


Advertising Age magazine is out with its "40 Under 40" list of the top rising talent in the U.S. advertising community that features Rockfish Chief Marketing Officer Dave Knox, 34.

"This year's class of achievers have many varied accomplishments, but they all share one trait," the special section introduction says. "They are smart forward-thinkers who will be driving the business for years to come."

Ad Age makes note of Knox's work at Procter & Gamble, his launch role with The Brandery, his prized possessions and his teenage run-in with a wooden fence.

Read the full list here.
 

OTR named a "hidden food and drink gem"


The Daily Meal online food and dining website has a travel story about Over-the-Rhine as a "hidden food and drink gem."

"When it comes to great comeback stories, few places can top Cincinnati’s Over the Rhine neighborhood," says writer Teresa Tobat. "The area was once dubbed 'one of the nation’s most dangerous neighborhoods in the country' and has since been revitalized. And the food scene of Cincinnati's oldest neighborhood — the streets resemble a 1960s New York City — is surprisingly happening."

According to its website, The Daily Meal's "passionate team canvasses the world to bring you the best food and drink experiences at all levels, around the table, at home or on the road. Harvesting the delicious and discarding the mundane, we are your friend on the inside, discovering and reporting with a sense of fun and curiosity."

Read the full article here.
 

New York Times: "Downtown Cincinnati Thrives"


The Feb. 25 issue of The New York Times carries a glowing report, "Downtown Cincinnati Thrives as Riots' Memories Recede," in its real estate section. Read the full article online here.

Times writer Keith Schneider focuses on the high-profile downtown development projects we're familiar with — General Electric's new operations center on The Banks, Dunnhumby's new headquarters building at Fifth and Race, 3CDC's work at Fountain Square and in Over-the-Rhine — to describe Cincinnati as coming a long way since the 2001 riots. Nice photos by Mark Lyons, too.


 

Soapbox on WVXU


Soapbox Publisher Dacia Snider and Managing Editor John Fox appeared Feb. 23 on "Cincinnati Edition" on WVXU (91.7 FM) to discuss how reading and reporting local news is shifting from newspapers to online outlets. We shared the segment with Northern Kentucky Tribune Editor and Publisher Judith Clabes and Special Projects Editor Mike Farrell.

Here's how "Cincinnati Edition" describes the segment: "As the decline of newspaper print circulation continues, the number of people who turn to Facebook, Twitter and other social media for short, almost real-time news updates is on the rise. Yet there is still a desire for credible journalism and thoughtful, well-written reporting, especially when it comes to local news. More and more readers are now finding that type of local content online."

Listen to the full interview here.
 

MusicNOW featured in New York Times preview of 2015 music festivals


MusicNOW will celebrate its 10th year in March, when The National's Bryce Dessner expands his annual avant garde music festival to three Over-the-Rhine venues: Memorial Hall, Music Hall and the new Woodward Theater. Despite living in New York City, where he formed The National with brother Aaron and three other Cincinnatians, Dessner has kept his festival rooted in his hometown.

New York Times music writer Jon Pareles takes note of MusicNOW's endurance and unique point of view in his feature story on 2015's upcoming festival gauntlet, "Anticipating Coachella, Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza, Firefly and More." After previewing the big festivals named in the headline, he says, "A promising development in festival-making, somewhere between the sprawl and the niche, is the growing number often described as 'curated.' ... The curators are often musicians, who tend to delve far beyond their own chosen genres. Musicians listen carefully and widely, and their choices often reveal unexpected foundations and extrapolations of their own aesthetics."

The article has just three photos, including one of MusicNOW from Cincinnatian Keith Klenowski (pictured above).

Read the full article here.

Kansas City pulls together bistate transit authority to drive economic development


The former mayor of Kansas City, Kan., has been named to the newly created position of Kansas City Area Transportation Authority CEO, with a mandate to pull together four different bus systems in the region (across two states) and connect them seamlessly with the city's under-construction downtown streetcar line. So reports The Kansas City Star — the kind of story you likely won't be reading any time soon in the Cincinnati media.

The Transportation Authority board was looking for someone with the leadership and public relations skills to build consensus for an improved transportation system that, the article claims, "many say is underfunded, struggles in a car-centric city, and suffers from service gaps that make it challenging for suburban riders to use anytime but during the morning and afternoon rush hours."

"(Joe) Reardon’s job will be to expand and unify the region’s fractured public transit system at a time when transit is seen as a key driver of economic development," the article says, then quotes Reardon: "I think a unified transit system is a key component to moving Kansas City as a region forward."

Good thing we're OK with the status quo of Cincinnati's multiple, unconnected transit systems. The region's just fine as is, thank you.

Read the full story here.
 

Trees help cities thrive

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