Please take the 2010 UrbanCincy Survey to weigh in on some big changes coming soon!

Monday, December 31, 2007

Enough with the negativity

There is one thing that I really wish would change in Cincinnati, and it is something that many people around here notice. It is that so many locals are so negative about our city. When you go out and see other places and then compare them to Cincinnati our city fares quite well, and many outsiders would tell you that this is quite a nice place.

Our Downtown has more activity than most, we have two professional sports teams, Broadway shows, Opera/Ballet/Orchestra, great museums, great neighborhoods, good schools, relatively low crime, fantastic scenery and it is all very affordable.

But it seems as though people go out of their way to put down our city/region. As a wise man once said, if we start thinking we're a world-class city we'll soon be one. Don't trash the 'Nati.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

I've got your Downtown grocery right here

With the growing residential population Downtown and the new activity being seen on a daily basis...the talks of a full-scale grocery store for Downtown have heated up again. I think it is BS when people say the demographics aren't right, or that a location isn't there that meets their needs. I won't bore you with demographic talk, but I will dive into the location part of the discussion.

I've got a couple locations that I think would be great for a nice full-scale grocery Downtown. The first one is 7th & Vine. This is about as close to the center of the population (for the center city) as you can get. There are currently two surface lots there and is located 2 blocks from Fountain Square and 1 block from the proposed streetcar line.

Sunflower Market a natural foods grocery in Columbus - highstreetart.blogspot.com

My second option would be at Tower Place Mall along 4th Street. The street-level would have to be completely reworked to have direct access, but this could prove to be the rejuvenation that Tower Place needs. This is just 1 block from Fountain Square and about 1.5 blocks from the proposed streetcar line.

Finally there is always the massive surface lots near St. Xavier Church at 7th/8th & Sycamore. This location is in a rapidly growing residential area, and offers lots of readily available land just waiting to be built on. This location though is slightly further away from being central, but is smack dab on the streetcar line.

Friday, December 21, 2007

CoolTown Studios on the 'Q'










CoolTown Studios has done an excellent write up on the ever emerging Gateway Quarter in Over-the-Rhine. This particular write up highlights the focus on contemporary urban living with the businesses that have opened up in the district.

The Gateway Quarter already has a host of great businesses that have opened up including Park + Vine, Mica 12/v, Metronation, CityRoots, and Jean Robert's newest restaurant that is on the way. In addition to this there are a few more great spaces that are bound to be filled with more fantastic businesses very soon.

So go check out CoolTown Studios and go check out these cool new businesses in the 'Q'.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Downtown Office Trends

QCS II will pour 825,000 square-feet of new Class A office space into the Downtown office market. That's great only if the market can handle it, and some think that the relocation of one company Downtown (AFG) into it isn't necessarily the best scenario. Well to some extent they're right, but the whole issue isn't a negative thing either.


AFG currently occupies office space in a variety of older office buildings Downtown (580 Building, 525 Vine), and will be occupying 22 floors of QCS II for a total of 530,000 square-feet. By leaving these spaces and consolidating into one newer space it allows for those older and thus more affordable spaces to be freed up for smaller companies that can not afford the leases at a building like QCS II.


It is essentially all part of a larger office market cycle that occurs. Older spaces become less desirable and are either replaced by newer spaces and taken off the market (via apartment conversions and what not) or are then filled by smaller companies that can not afford the Class A office space.


So while it isn't great news to hear that QCS II won't be filled by a new company to the region...it certainly isn't bad news that the Downtown market is able to fill another 800,000+ square-feet of office space. On a side note, the most recent State of Downtown quarterly report says that Downtown Cincinnati actually lowered its vacancy rate by nearly 3% in the 3Q.

Cincinnati sleepy no more

Many have often criticized this city for being slow to act, and essentially being unable to do big things. All of these naysayers have had the necessary fodder for some time now, but are now at a point of starvation.

They said The Banks wouldn't happen, that the streetcar works in a place like Portland not Cincinnati, they also said that QCS II wouldn't happen, and that Fountain Square would be a disaster and a waste of money. Well those naysayers couldn't be more wrong.

The Banks will be breaking ground on phase 1 this coming Spring, research/reports have indeed suggested that streetcars can work here, QCS II will be breaking ground this coming Summer, and Fountain Square has proven to be a smashing success that has lured tons of new investment and businesses to the center city.

Still think big things can't happen in Cincinnati? City leaders are essentially doing everything in their power to prove you wrong, and to be honest I think they're doing a darn good job.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Go Bearcats!











The Bearcats are hot off of the news of going to their 6th bowl game in 8 years. They also have announced that roughly 8,500 Bearcat fans will be making the trip to Birmingham for the Papajohns.com Bowl. Brian Kelly has been named Big East Coach of the Year, Mike Mickens (CB) and Kevin Huber (P) have been named All-Americans. Oh and don't forget the second-team All-American honors for Terrill Byrd (DT). These honors go along with a host of conference honors that a number of Bearcats have received.

If all this is exciting enough for Bearcat fans, then how about a brand new 5-year contract extension for head coach Brian Kelly. This new contract gives some more money to Kelly, but most importantly gives a lot more money for assistant coaches and new facilities. Essentially assuring that this program continues its growth and maturation as a BCS contender.

The contract extension is already making an impact with St. Xavier's standout offensive player, Danny Milligan, orally committing to UC just last night. St. Xavier coach Steve Specht said this is in part due to the contract extension for Kelly and the spread offense that he runs.

If you're not making the trip to Birmingham, AL for the bowl game...then be sure to catch the Bearcats on ESPN2 Saturday, December 22nd at 1pm. GO BEARCATS!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Streetcars/Transit should be #1 priority for Cincinnati - Reader's Choice

Your votes have been cast and have spoken loud and clear. By a wide margin the readers of UrbanCincy have stated that streetcars and/or other rail transit should be the #1 priority for Cincinnati.

The poll had a 162 total votes with 50% (81) voting for the rail transit option. Redevelopment of OTR and completion of The Banks finished 2nd and 3rd respectively. Interestingly enough public education received the least amount of votes (even behind public safety). So anyone want to elaborate on why they voted for what they did?

BTW, if you would like to receive regular emails regarding what's happening with rail transit in Cincinnati sign up for the listserv. All you have to do is send an email HERE expressing your interest to be included on the listserv, and presto magico you've got hot off the presses emails regarding transit in Cincinnati.

www.cincystreetcar.com
www.citystreetcar.net
www.pro-transit.com

Friday, November 30, 2007

Support the Bearcats!


I am the first to start complaining about how I think the Bearcats got screwed in the bowl selection process. I don't buy the "Cincinnat fans don't travel well" mentality...especially when you're comparing us to USF and UConn fans. We beat both in heads up competition and have a better BCS ranking than UConn and are essentially tied with USF. Sure there are some other ridiculous reasons (not anything related to the quality of play) that were factored in, but I'll save those for another time I guess.

The bottom line is that Cincinnati needs to start supporting these Bearcats so that there will be no doubt in future bowl selection processes. We'll be playing in the PapaJohns.com Bowl in Birmingham, AL against the 4th place team from C-USA (Southern Miss). Lets get out there in large numbers and cheer our Bearcats on to what is sure to be an absolute blowout victory.

If you are a student, the Athletics Department is looking to get some sponsorships and get a really good financial deal for students to go to the game. What you need to do is call the ticket office, send UC Bearcat a message on Facebook, or go online. Just give your name and UC student ID number and you'll be put on a list of interested students. THE MORE THE BETTER!

Bearcat Ticket Office:
1-877-CATS-TIX
Order Online

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Experience the holidays Downtown









Well there's tons to do Downtown this holiday season as there is every year. There is the ice rink, the best Santa in the region, train display, free horse-drawn carriage rides, free trolley rides, live music all over the place and TONS of great restaurants. There is also a new Downtown Visitors Center set up in the lobby adjacent to Joseph A. Banks.

In addition to the new information center, there are a couple of other new things this holiday season. There is the new Downtown Gift Card which is valid at over 100 places Downtown. This can be purchased online (at DCI's website) or at the new Visitors Center. There is also a new Rookwood Pottery Commemorative Plaque. This too can be purchased at the Visitors Center or at Macy's Fountain Place. You can find more information HERE regarding both items and the details for each.

There is also a great Holiday Guide for everything going on Downtown this holiday season. It includes specific details for everything you'll want to cover this year. You can also find a list, with details, of all the highlights of things going on Downtown...and if you're visiting and need something to do; check out some of the Downtown Itineraries.










External Links:
Downtown Cincinnati Inc.
Fountain Square
Downtown Holiday Photos (by me)

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Recycle Cincinnati







The City of Cincinnati has been working hard lately on improving the options for recycling in the city. One of the most recent efforts includes new recycling drop-off points throughout Downtown. Locations include the Main Library of the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County on Ninth Street; the corner of Third and Butler streets; the corner of Third Street and Central Avenue; and the Cutter Street parking lot off Court Street. There is also a new recycling program for Bengals tailgating.

Did you also know that City of Cincinnati residents living in a single family home or an apartment building with less than 5 units can have a recycling bin delivered at no cost! You can request your bin by filling out an online form or by calling the City of Cincinnati at 591-6000.

In addition to these new locations to recycle the city also offers four drop-off locations for recycling. You can find out more information regarding acceptable items for recycling and the specific locations of drop-off points in the City of Cincinnati HERE! There is also a number of locations across Hamilton County that are drop-off points for residents.

Further Reading/Information:
Rumpke
Keep Cincinnati Beautiful
Live Green Cincinnati
Hamilton County Recycles
Cincinnati Freecycle

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Improving Cincinnati's bike scene

Cincinnati is great...it's a very walkable city that has interesting streetscapes that do not completely bend over backwards to accommodate the automobile. I also feel that Cincinnati has a pretty strong bicyclist contingent... but with that said, I also think we should be doing a lot more to provide safe bicycle networks and parking facilities.

Portland is a city that is often thrown around as a poster child for a lot of things. But you know what...they simply do a lot of things right, and bicycling is one of those. You can request free bike racks, from the city, and even check out their standards if you so choose to install your own. Portland even has a master bike plan that has routes and parking facilities mapped out.

Bike Oasis Covered Bicycle Parking Facility
www.streetsblog.org


Now this has me asking myself...what could be done in Cincinnati to improve the bicycle situation here. Sure we have racks installed randomly, but Cincinnati's existing bicycle plan seems to be lacking. Furthermore I don't believe I've ever seen a covered bicycle parking facility in this city, or even a plan to install one. With Portland's bicycle parking options you can actually even request to have a facility installed that would provide on-street bike parking...taking up roughly 1.5 on-street parking spaces, and it would provide parking for 12 bikes.

All in all, it seems like something worthwhile for the city to pursue. You could reduce traffic congestion, air pollution, improve fitness levels, offer greater amounts of parking options and just make the city a more attractive place for those who choose to travel by bike. Given the recent progress of streetcars it would seem to be an attractive opportunity for the city to pursue.

Bicycling in Cincinnati:
MoBo Bicycle Co-op
Bike Trails in the Tri-State
Trail Yeah
Trek Cincinnati
Morning Glory Bike Ride

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Clifton Plaza moving forward

The Bender Optical site on Ludlow Avenue, which is jointly owned by Clifton Town Meeting (CTM) and the Clifton Business and Professional Association, is moving forward with the city's recent approval for the demolition of the Bender Optical building.

The city has stated that the building will be coming down this Thursday (11/15)...thus clearing the way for the plaza to move forward. Following the demolition one more round of soil testing will be done, and then the site will be ready for the start of the plaza.


As for some background...the Clifton Plaza is part of the larger Ludlow Avenue revitalization project which will eventually include new sidewalks/curbs, added trees (where needed), improved streetlights, coordinated street furniture and the reduction of some overhead wires.

For more information check out the following:
Ludlow Avenue Revitalization Project Presentation
Clifton Town Meeting (CTM)

***The images illustrate the proposed improvements to Telford Avenue, and the proposed improvements for the Merchant's Lot access. Both images are from the presentation PDF that is linked above.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Downtown is the best nightspot in Cincinnati - Reader's Choice


So the results are in...and from the extremely scientific polling methods of UrbanCincy it appears that Downtown is the favorite nightlife area in Cincinnati. There was essentially a tie for second between Mt. Adams and Northside; with Newport on the Levee, Mainstrasse and Main Street (OTR) bringing up the rear.

I must say that I am pleasantly surprised with the results. I did not think that Downtown would finish first even though I think it is a great spot for nightlife. I was expecting Mt. Adams, but it should be interesting to hear the explanations from everyone on how they voted the way they did.

I personally voted for Mt. Adams, because I think it is the best spot to bar hop in the city. Although the area is lacking some night clubs, the bars there are second to none.

Photo Credit:
www.wkrq.zipscene.com

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Can I count my chickens yet?


The two biggest projects going on right now in Cincinnati would be The Banks and the streetcar proposal...and the old saying goes, "don't count your chickens before they hatch." But it seems like both are chugging along now at a pretty good rate, and while there is some opposition for both, that opposition doesn't seem to have much traction.

The people making the decisions are generally supportive of both efforts and seem ready and willing to pass both through. The Banks is happening right before our eyes and looks like it will have all the political approvals it needs to move forward; ground breaking seems like for the 1Q of 2008.

The streetcar proposal has really gone public now and the naysayers have come out as everyone expected they would. However this is a project that will not require a public vote (which I don't think would be an issue anyways) and simply has to gain the approval of City Hall. After that you'll see tracks being laid and quite possibly streetcars running by the 4Q of 2010 (roughly the same time that people will be living at phase 1 of The Banks).

I don't want to get ahead of myself, but it seems as though this city is finally moving forward with The Banks and is moving very quickly to get streetcars running soon. I'll just say that I've got my camera ready for the ground-breaking ceremonies that are going to be held in the very near future.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Early bird gets the Metro worm


Metro is going to be giving away a "Night on the Town" package courtesy of Downtown Cincinnati Inc. This started in September and will be lasting through December. If you buy a monthly pass (either online or in person) before the 22nd of each month may enter to win the package. So what's in this wonderful sounding "Night on the Town" package?

A gift certificate from downtown restaurants like Boi Na Braza, Cadillac Ranch and Washington Platform, a free night at the Hyatt Regency Cincinnati and admission for two to the Cincinnati Museum Center's" Real Pirates" exhibit. To enter you can go to the Metro Sales office at 120 East Fourth Street downtown or click here to complete an online contest entry form.

Another incentive to buy a monthly pass and get it early is to get one of these cool commemorative mouse pads that Metro will give out to the first 200 people to purchase a monthly pass. Here on some details on how to purchase your monthly pass and what they cost:

End of year "Clearance Sale" for Online Customers Only
Starting Sept. 1, pre-order your monthly passes on-line for October, November and December and save! Your credit card will be billed on the 15th each month when the pass is mailed to you. Discounts available on advance orders placed between Sept. 1 and Sept. 30, 2007 only.

Sale Prices
Zone 1 Pass - Just $38 (save $2)
Zone 2 Pass - Just $57 (save $3)
Zone 3 Pass - Just $91 (save $4)
Zone 4 Pass - Just $100 (save $5)
All Pass - Just $119 (save $6)
M/T Pass - Just $68 (save $2)

Keep the movies rolling


Citykin just recently was discussing how Fountain Square will be showing some Halloween type family movies this Saturday (10/27). This is due in part to the great turnout they saw over the summer and the somewhat mild weather we are experiencing.

Personally I love the idea of movie nights on the square. It is a really neat thing for families to do and it's free. Not to mention the unique social interaction opportunities the children have. But I have been wondering this since the summer was drawing to a close. Why is it that we have to stop showing these movies regularly after Labor Day? Sure this marks the end of summer, but the weather doesn't start to get all that bad here until about mid-November. I also think they should start earlier in the year than the typical Memorial Day weekend start.

I think it should be a week-to-week decision following Labor Day and before Memorial Day. This would allow the great movie nights, on the square, to continue. Lets really capitalize on this great activity on the square. Keep the movies rolling.

Photo credit:
www.cincyimages.com

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Young Professionals and streetcars

Well a brilliant young individual had some delightful commentary in today's Cincinnati Enquirer editorial section, enjoy...

I am by definition a young professional, part of the creative class, and I am enrolled at the University of Cincinnati's College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning.

As you may know, Cincinnati is not exactly a hotbed for the creative class and has struggled to retain/attract young professionals.

As a creative person, it can be difficult to make it work here over a place like Chicago, New York or Atlanta, but it seems as though people are afraid to even try at times. We need to continue to prioritize the arts and place new emphasis on things like mass transit.

This is a very important issue to many young people and in particular the creative class. If we fail at creating a city with these elements, then we will fail at attracting that ever-important young professional.

Aside from bus service, Cincinnati offers no transit options. The cities that do a great job at attracting this demographic have much more, and we are falling further behind the likes of Seattle, Portland, Austin, Atlanta, Chicago and Baltimore.

Cincinnati is now looking to build a streetcar system. This is a great first step at creating a wide-reaching transit system.

I would argue that Cincinnati has an edge over many of these other cities in terms of arts, geographic features and affordability, but we simply cannot rest on our laurels.

I know I can not speak for every young person out there, but I say this: Please make the effort to keep us around for our sake and the sake of our community.

If you are not a young professional, would you prefer your child to live in Cincinnati or Seattle?

Streetcars are not the only answer, but they are the opportunity we have the chance to capitalize on right now.

Cincinnati Enquirer, Guest Editorial 10/24/07

Thursday, October 18, 2007

The Queen's Crown Jewels

A new Cincinnati blog is up and running, and it is a good one. He posts lots of pictures, enlightens you with his vast knowledge of architecture and the city as a whole. Dan describes himself, and the site as:

"My overviews and observations of Cincinnati, OH. I am a single, thirtysomething living in Over-the-Rhine with a certain point of view on the city around me."

The most recent post covers the history and special features of Cincinnati classics that make the Queen City what it is. This first edition of what will become an ongoing feature, on Queen City Survey, covers the Cincinnati Gymnasium & Athletic Club.


Dan knows his stuff...so go check out what Queen City Survey has to offer, you won't be disappointed.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

How 'bout these apples?!

There has been a slew of good news lately for Cincinnati. The cool thing about these recent reports is that they are not as noticeable, at first, as new restaurants and clubs...but in all reality they are MUCH better.

Not only is the most notorious neighborhood becoming safer, but the entire City is seeing the effects of the increase priority of public safety. Programs like Operation Vortex and others have made an immediate impact and gotten criminals off the streets. This is great, but alone these are just quick fixes to a larger problem of crime and bad behavior.

Other programs like the Cincinnati Initiative and Citizens on Patrol programs are being set up as substantial fixes to some of these issues. Instead of just locking up and identifying the criminals we need to confront them and find out how we can get these people to start being productive members of society again. The COP programs are empowering neighborhood residents to take back their neighborhoods and make them safe again.

City Council members continue to make crime their main platform item...maybe it is now time to shift the focus towards education. Lets allow these programs to settle in and take effect...in the mean time lets make our public education as great as it can be, and really make Cincinnati a wonderful place to live. Instead of just pumping more money to spend in schools lets see if we can fix the root problems with our school system. How can we make them more exciting, inviting, comfortable and stimulating for our youths? These should be the next issues we tackle.

As for the other stuff...I'll add one of my lists here:

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Stop talking...start doing!

I don't know how many times I hear from the nay-sayers who continually claim that there is nothing to do in Cincinnati...or that it is a boring place for young people. You also hear, from these same people, about how Downtown and OTR are dead and have no chance. All of these statements couldn't be further from the truth, but they are said nonetheless.

What I realized in Atlanta was that the bars and clubs weren't that much better than Cincinnati...but what made Atlanta better for young people was all the damn young people. They were everywhere, and they were active. I saw a lot more young entrepreneurs and movers/shakers in Atlanta as compared to Cincinnati.

My point is that if you want OTR to be cool...or you want Cincinnati to have new fun/exciting things to do. Then DO it already!!! This city has long talked about what we can do, but only in select occasions do we actually act upon those words. I say it's about time we start putting up, or shutting up. If you say that OTR sucks and are doing nothing about it and have no connection to it...then shut it and move on. If you like to bitch about the poor leadership on city council, and live out in the 'burbs...then shut the hell up. You can move to the city and then have a voice, until then all you are doing is taking a crap on somebody else's lawn.

Let's step it up Cincinnati and start being the great city we are...instead of talking about the great city we could be.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati: Review

The girlfriend and I took in a show at the Ensemble Theatre on Friday. Now I've been to a couple of theatres in NYC (both Broadway and off-Broadway)...I've also been to multiple shows at the Aronoff and other various venues (ie CCM). With that said I must say that this was one of my favorite venues.

The ETC offers a fantastic view from every seat (about 200 or so by my guestimations), and also has surprisingly good acoustics for that space. What makes the venue even better is the building itself...it is a gem and has all sorts of architectural details for you to enjoy (if you're in to that sort of thing).

As for the show we saw 'Rabbit Hole' which is the winner of the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for Best New Play and a Tony Award-winning drama. The show was great and the seats were full...at the end the audience gave a standing ovation for the great performance. The ETC is a great theatre that has a strong history and is nationally known.

I highly recommend a visit to the ETC. It is a good alternative to the movies and the show lets out with plenty of time to go out drinking afterwards. The ETC offers student discounts, as well as, senior discounts. You can now also buy tickets online...and if you want to see 'Rabbit Hole' then you better hurry because its time runs up this Sunday.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Clear your calendar on 10/17...at least after 7pm

Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper will be speaking at the Cincinnati Mercantile Library on Wednesday, October 17th. Mayor Hickenlooper is widely considered one of the main people responsible for the wildly successful LoDo District in Denver. Denver has also experienced a light rail boom over recent years and is seeing a fantastic urban renaissance that any city would be proud to boast.

Stacked, Mercantile Library's own blog, is offering a free admission to this event if you simply mention the blog's name. If you miss out on that offer and still want to attend it will set you back $5. It is an informal event and will start at 7pm and last an hour or so. Mayor Hickenlooper will give a little speech and then it will be opened up for Q/A. You can also read more about the event over at Stacked.

If you're interested simply contact the library at (513) 621-0717 or mercantileinfo[at]mercantilelibrary[dot]com and be sure to mention Stacked.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

NIMBY Tip of the Month (9.07)

Have you ever heard the complaint about how a bike trail, walking trail or stairway is going to bring crime and problems to someones property. The same can even be said for when people complain that crime and the inevitable fall of the neighborhood is near because of the addition of a potential bus stop (or other public transit stop).

Maybe my 'crimedar' (and yes I do have a trademark on the 'crimedar' slogan) is off, but I don't understand the philosophy behind this train of thought. Is it that criminals are going to ride their bicycles or take a jog to your house to clean you out? Or is it the fear that criminals will use these trails as loitering points to case out your home? Like I said...I must be missing something.

Don't be fooled; these people (fronting as bicyclists) are really pushing drugs!

While we're on the point of crime I'll bring up this other point...do criminals have a code of conduct to solely commit their deviant acts only within Cincinnati city limits (or any city for that matter). I often hear how "dangerous" cities are...but at the same time people in places like Delhi Twp, Cheviot, Madeira, Green Twp, etc make these very same claims. Do criminals really walk down the street...stop and realize they are about to cross into *trumpets sound* Delhi Township and think "I need to head back...I'm getting to far from home base?"


This may be less of a tip and more of a question for those NIMBYs and suburbanites of the world who feel they're superior to everyone else. So please sound off and tell me of your tragic criminal experiences with bike trails, walking trails and the proliferation of crime that must exist right at the city limits.


Photo Credit:
http://hazon.org/photos/2002NY/44_On_the_bike_path

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Stay connected with the Cincy Streetcar proposal

I was at the Cincinnati Streetcar meeting tonight at the Art Academy of Cincinnati. First of all, I must say that the Art Academy has a simply gorgeous building in Over-the-Rhine and one that is a perfect fit for artists.

The meeting itself had a good turnout (from my perspective). The representatives from HDR were very helpful and were able to answer just about any question you threw their way (and trust me, I asked a lot of questions). In addition to the HDR people, City Architect Michael Moore and local transit god John Schneider were also their to answer any questions you may have.

I left the meeting feeling more optimistic, about the project, than ever (if that is possible). This was an informal meeting format and was a great opportunity to learn about the proposed system. If you would like to give it a try then you have one more chance since this meeting will happen again on September 27 at City Hall from 4-7pm.

I highly recommend that you start getting active in this process if you aren't already. The whole thing is moving along very quickly and it sounds very likely that it could be ready for riders in 2010! You can get lots of information about the proposal here.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Don't Trash The 'Nati

It is not often that I read the Opinion Section of the Enquirer...but today for some reason I felt the urge. You know that urge to test your toughness and stomach for what is typically ridiculous commentary. But today however, I was pleasantly surprised. Laura Kleckner had a wonderful piece discussing the University of Cincinnati and the neighborhoods that surround it.

I am a student at UC and trust me, I understand the urge to go out and party...and even get a little crazy. But it is often easy to overlook the fact that the neighborhoods that surround UC are exactly that - NEIGHBORHOODS. People live there 365 days a year, raise families there, make a living there and get to live their American Dream right there in those very neighborhoods.

Charlton Place - Jefferson Street

Unfortunately many college students have little respect for their surroundings and think of college as a non-stop party (some, not all). If you would like to experience college this way fine, but at least have some decency and try not to trash the neighborhoods that people have worked very hard on to clean up/improve.


urge UC students to be more respectful and work with community members to make the neighborhoods, surrounding UC, better places for everyone. Don't trash the 'nati.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Oktoberfest Zinzinnati: 2007

Ah...yes, Oktoberfest is back. Everyone's favorite German festival is about to kick off this weekend. Get ready for bratwurst, bier, wiener schnitzel...oh and did I say bier? This is all part of Cincinnati USA's larger Zinful Weekend.

But, back to the main event...Oktoberfest. This is the second largest Oktoberfest celebration in the world (outside of the original in Munich). The weekend event will attract around 500,000 people and take place in the core of Downtown Cincinnati. Here are some of the details, and for any other information you can check out the event website.

When: Event: Saturday, Sept. 22, 2007, 11 a.m.-midnight; Sunday, Sept. 23, 2007, 11 a.m.-10 p.m.

Where: On 6 blocks of Fifth Street; from Race Street to Broadway in Downtown Zinzinnati.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Stay tuned...

Just wanted to let everyone know that new content will be coming soon. I just moved back to Cincy and have been settling back in. Before you know it there will be new content flowing again...stayed tuned.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Actual cost of commuting

It is easy to overlook the actual costs of commuting to work every day. But the fact of the matter is that it can be quite costly...especially if you commute a long distance to work add in a large vehicle and you're really expending a lot of money. Not to mention the fact that congestion in Cincinnati is continuing to get worse.

Metro has this handy-dandy Cost of Driving Calculator where you plug in some information and it will give you how much it costs monthly and yearly. Plug in your numbers and see where you stand...I would also ask that you send this link around to as many commuters as possible. It is time that people realize exactly how much money they are spending (in addition to time) just so they can have the "freedom" of their automobile and live in a perceived safer environment.

Let the numbers be known...it may not be comforting to many, but it is what it is. It is not unusual that a typical suburban commuter spends in excess of $7,000 a year on commuting costs. If you were to move into the city and still drive everyday (that way you can still avoid the bus if you so choose)...you will still cut your costs substantially and be closer to the $1,500 range.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

9.11.01 - In Memory

It has been six years since the fateful day of September 11, 2001 and it may be easy to forget the pain, grief and agony that struck the lives of so many. It was more than two superstructures being brought to their knees...it was an entire nation that was taken back and stunned by the events that transpired.

I'm not great with words, but I thought it should be mentioned. Here are some pictures I took of the towers about 1 month prior to their collapse. 2,973 people lost their lives on September 11, 2001 as a result of the attacks. Please remember.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Shameless Plug

I have been working on editing and going throw all of my photography...from there I am selecting the best of the best and uploading them to my new Pbase page. So I just thought I'd let all of you know that you can go and check it out, leave comments or whatever else.

As of right now I have Atlanta, Chicago, Cincinnati and Philadelphia (plus one bonus gallery) up and running. Still to come will be: NYC, Dayton, Indy, DC and Savannah. So enjoy and please feel free to let me know what you think of my work.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

2007 Bold Fusion

Today is the day of Bold Fusion, and it will be the main draw for new members to the Mayor’s Young Professionals Kitchen Cabinet (YPKC). If you’re a YP and want to be involved you should apply to be a part of the YPKC. There are a variety of committees and depending on your interests/knowledge you can try to get on the one of your choice.

If you would like to apply for the YPKC, you can get an online application, fill it out and then send it back in to the city as directed on the application form. Just make sure you get your application in by the October 1st deadline. You also must include a resume with the application…so act quickly!

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

700 WLW continues to embarrass Cincinnati

If it isn't enough to have the Cincinnati Enquirer running the show in print media...Cincinnati has to deal with these clowns dominating the air waves at 700 WLW. Now if it were a one time thing I would be upset, but most likely move on without really getting steamed. But it almost seems as though 700 WLW and Clear Channel Radio advocate this kind of shock radio that 700 has become.

The on-air "talents" seem to do nothing more than spew outrageous comments that are meant to aggravate/irritate. Much of the time their on-air hosts are uninformed on the topics they discuss and merely insult anyone who questions them or calls them out on this.

More recently the station has gone from being just uninformed shenanigans to just pure trash. If you remember back Andy Furman seemed to start the disturbing trend when he called Bengals WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh a "racist" for not appearing on his talk show. I don't have the time or patience to go into all of his nonsense, so I'll leave it at that.

Not too long ago 700 I guess thought they needed an encore presentation when they plastered billboards all over Cincinnati depicting what was meant to be a Mexican. The billboards did a great job at perpetuating a stereotype that is not only a broad generalization, but not even correct for many Hispanic immigrants. The Hispanic community blasted 700 WLW for inappropriate behavior and demanded that the station right its wrongs. They promised improved relations and that they would work towards improving Hispanic relations.

Fast forward a couple of months...and 700 comes out with a new line of promotions. This time the promotions offered "helpful phrases" to communicate with illegal aliens. Once again the station was doing a great job a perpetuating stereotypes of a particular segment of society...a segment of society that they had just made a promise to work with. Truly amazing!

I guess they've had enough of the Hispanic community for now, and have directed their attention back to the professional athletes in Cincinnati. The news now is that Bill Cunningham made bold assertions that Adam Dunn was playing drunk for the Reds. Adam Dunn felt the comment was out of line regardless of whether Cunningham was joking or not (which he said he was).

Personally I don't go for this shock radio junk. Give me some good programing with people who actually know what they're talking about and don't have to rely on outrageous statements and colorful remarks. What I want to know now is why Clear Channel Radio hasn't done anything to counter this behavior? They had no problem cracking down on censorship stuff, but when it comes to shock radio there appears to be little or no accountability.

If you would like some accountability from 700 WLW please contact Clear Channel Radio and let them know how you feel. You can reach Sanda Coyle regarding you concerns with the trash that 700 feels they can get away with. Once again,

CONTACT SANDA COYLE: sandacoyle@clearchannel.com

Cincinnati's Premier University

Well the beginning of the school year is about to begin at the University of Cincinnati…so I thought that I would do a little write up about the university. Keep in mind that I am a University of Cincinnati student, and I have a little bit of a bias towards my institution. But I am just trying to convey facts and information with this one. UC will surprise you with its history, accomplishments and stature.

Starting as a medical school in 1819, Dr. Daniel Drake received a charter for the Medical College of Ohio (the 2nd medical school founded west of the Allegheny Mts). In 1870 the estate of Charles McMicken left money to the City of Cincinnati to establish the University of Cincinnati. This absorbed the Cincinnati College and also took in the combined Ohio-Miami Medical Department in 1909. In 1962 the university then absorbed the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. The university later became one of Ohio’s state universities in 1977.

McMicken Hall - University of Cincinnati

UC also boasts the nation’s first co-operative education (co-op) program which was invented by Herman Schneider in 1906. The co-op program is considered the 3rd best professional practice program and is the largest program in the nation. The program engages over 2,000 companies in 43 different countries.


Ranked as one of America's top 25 public research universities and in the top 50 of all American research universities, UC has an annual enrollment around 35,000 or so students (both graduate and undergraduate).


Mews Gardens - University of Cincinnati

The university also boasts many excellent programs. Most notably the College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) and the College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning (DAAP) are well respected as some of the best schools in their respective disciplines. Programs ranked in the Top 25 and well respected programs nationwide include:


Interior Design, Architecture, Industrial Design, Graphic Design, Urban Planning, Criminal Justice, Operations Management, Marketing, CCM – Voice, Composition, Piano, Musical Theatre, Drama. Other well respected programs include the College of Law, College of Pharmacy and the College of Medicine.


Lindner Athletics Center - University of Cincinnati

The University of Cincinnati’s campus has also been recognized as one of the most architecturally dynamic campuses in all of America. The university boasts works done by such architects as Frank O. Gehry, Peter Eisenman, Thom Mayne and Michael Graves.


You can view more photos on the University of Cincinnati HERE!!! If you would like to see more of the surrounding area, you can look through the Cincinnati neighborhood galleries.

Fountain Square Dazzles!

In case you have been living under a rock lately...Downtown Cincinnati continues to make great progress and the Fountain Square transformation continues to dazzle. Sometimes pictures are just better than words...so check out this recent photo thread of Fountain Square by montecarloss from UrbanOhio/CincyImages. Here is a teaser:

Friday, August 31, 2007

Monthly Throwdown

Well today is the last day of the month...and similarly the last day you can vote on what you think about downtown's progress (or lack thereof). So what I (and I'm sure others) want to know is...why did you vote the way you did? Is it anything specific, pure emotional response, what?

Hopefully this can stir some good discussion, about different opinions, regarding downtown. A new poll will be coming for the month of September, and this discussion will most likely become a regular monthly event (I like the name "Monthly Throwdown" for some reason). Lets hear it and please...don't hold back, just make sure it is constructive dialog. I don't like to moderate comments (only deleted 1 comment ever) and I would like to keep it that way...so keep it civil.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Atlanta...What I've Learned

In case you may or may not know...I have been working down here in Atlanta for the past few months, and will be returning to Cincinnati very soon. I had a goal of not only getting lots of great job experience, but I also wanted to learn as much as I could about this often ballyhooed city. Here are some of the things I've learned and just some of my observations.

1. Atlanta is often considered to be THE spot for blacks to live. While I noticed a lot more middle-class blacks I also noticed that Atlanta still suffers from the same issues of racism that everywhere else does. There are people who resent the fact that Atlanta is such a destination spot for blacks...and since you have a good number of middle/upper-class blacks you see prejudice from those individuals towards the lower-class blacks. As I have said before...I think prejudices and segregation result more so from economics than race or anything else.

2. The reason Atlanta is such a great place for young people is that there are a TON of young people down here. The bars I've been to in Virginia Highlands and Midtown have been good, but not better than the bars of Mt. Adams in my opinion. Now, there are much better clubs and a lot more of them. But like I said, what makes it a great place for young people...is all the young people (chicken or egg).


Midtown Atlanta

3. It is hot, humid, muggy and buggy...not at all my style. Give me Cincinnati's bipolar weather behavior any day over this shenanigans.


4. I've never heard the term 'Yankee' used more in my entire life. Actually to be honest...I don't know that I ever heard it used in normal conversation in Cincinnati.


If you would like to see more visuals of my Atlanta Documentaries you can check them out over on UrbanOhio. Here is the list of places I have up so far:



*Please note that I use the term 'blacks' instead of African American because not everyone that is black is African American. Furthermore, the Census Bureau uses this classification for racial breakdowns in many cases.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Zinzinnati's German heritage

Cincinnati has a one of the richest German histories in all of America. The German history dates back even to the inception of the city in 1788. German immigrants came to America in large numbers due to a variety of reasons from religious freedom to the availability of mechanized manufacturing of goods. As a result they were attracted to America's heartland and formed what is now called the "German Triangle." The triangle was formed by St. Louis, Milwaukee and Cincinnati...with Cincinnati being the largest of those cities and also the city containing the largest German influence. So, who cares?

Well what would Cincinnati be like today without the strong German influence of the past? We can attribute that strong influence to the current day butchers, bakeries and ice cream shops that still exist in nearly every neighborhood in the region. Over-the-Rhine was built by those German immigrants and thus the creation of the largest collection of Italianate architecture in America. Cincinnati's built environment was greatly influenced by those same immigrants. They built a dense urban core with streetcars and all, not to mention they helped build what is considered to be America's first major boomtown.

Oktoberfest Zinzinnati 2006: Photo from Cincy Images

It is also by no mistake that the largest Oktoberfest celebration exists in Cincinnati (outside of the Munich event). We also have the only Hofbrauhaus outside of Munich, Germany. In addition to that Cincinnati boasts the Fairview German Language School and one of the largest German-American book collections at the University of Cincinnati. In addition to that, roughly 50% of all people in the Cincinnati claim German as their ancestry...again, one of the largest percentages in the nation. A few other notable Cincinnati landmarks created or inspired by German immigrants are: Fountain Square, Roebling Suspension Bridge, Cincinnati Zoo, Spring Grove Cemetery, Music Hall, Findlay Market and the Cincinnati Park System.


Cincinnati's German heritage has surely shaped the physical environment of our city, and has also shaped the social environment over the years as well. I just don't think that Cincinnati would be the family-friendly place it is today without those unique Cincinnati features of being able to go to Humbert's Meats or Servatii's pastry shop. What do you think and how does Cincinnati's heritage affect your day to day life? How would Cincinnati be different without this German influence...or is it even relevant today?


I have done a photo thread on Over-the-Rhine over at UrbanOhio, entitled Über-der-Rhein.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

2Q State of Downtown Report









I don't know how many of you get the quarterly emails from Downtown Cincinnati Inc. (DCI), but I do...and I am obsessed with the quarterly reports that they put out on the state of Downtown Cincinnati. No fluff...no shenanigans, just facts. If you would like to receive the quarterly emails as well just let them know. From here though I am going to highlight some of what I think are the most important numbers/pieces of information from the 2Q report:

  • The CBD/immediate periphery saw 44 condo sales and 9 single family home sales in the 2Q, selling for a median price of $279,032 and $228,000 respectively.
  • 10 new retail establishments opened (including bars/clubs) while 8 retail establishments closed...but in all honesty, a good chuck of the businesses that closed had other issues not related to downtown.
  • Downtown hotels continue to boast the best occupancy rates in the region (62.6%) and also saw the largest increase in occupied rooms over 2006 (+3.4%). Downtown hotels also boast the highest cost per room ($126.12) and accordingly the highest revenue per room($79.00) in the region.
  • Part 1 crimes (more serious crimes) are down 11.4% and Part 2 crimes (quality of life crimes) are down 16.1% over the numbers from the same time period for 2006.
  • DCI Ambassadors assisted 13,858 pedestrians, removed 23,740 lbs of trash, addressed 3,019 instances of panhandling, removed 513 graffiti tags and distributed 3,800 Go To Town Guides.

As for development...there is either proposed or under construction:
  • 4,877,160 sq. ft. of space
  • 2,641 residential units
  • 13,800 parking spaces
  • For a grand total of $1,450,300,000 in total investments.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Rehab Progress

Just want to keep everyone apprised on the changes I have made thus far. Some have been minor and barely noticeable, but hopefully will prove to make the site more navigable and user-friendly in the long run.

1. The first change I made was the background. I wanted to clean it up a bit, so that all those dots didn't distract from the material on the page. I kept the matching color to keep the site tied together.

2. I wanted to keep the dots around somewhere...so I incorporated them into the Header Banner for the site. You still get the look, but without the overdone dots on the entire page.

3. That header is now linked to the main page for UrbanCincy (http://urbancincy.blogspot.com). This will come in handy if you link to the site via cinplify or somewhere else and are viewing a single post. Instead of retyping in the url or simply moving on...you can now just click the header and it will redirect to the main page with all of the recent posts.

4. I have increased the width of the content on the page. Previously I was annoyed by how narrow the content appeared on the page. So I tweaked with it and came up with a little wider format that I feel is more visually pleasing.

5. I've also added translation buttons for those international readers.

6. I have added a poll at the top of the page. This will stay around, but will change each month. The goal is to continue reader engagement on the site and get people thinking/discussing things about Cincinnati. The more discussion and exchange of ideas the better.

7. Finally...I removed the Google AdSense feature that used to be at the bottom of the page. It really added nothing to the page in terms of content, and just added more clutter in my opinion.

I am still working on another feature that will link to my photography collection, but that is still in the works and will take some time to get going the way I want it to be. If you have any more suggestions please let me know and comment on this post. Or if you would like, you can send me an email and I usually respond quite quickly.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Cincinnati Mercantile Library

The Cincinnati Mercantile Library has a long and rich history...one that many don't even know about. Did you know that the Mercantile Library is just a stones throw away from Fountain Square at 414 Walnut Street?? Not only that, but it has been at that exact address since 1845 and was founded ten years earlier by a group of young professionals. Oh and in case things are a bit too hectic for you to drop by and check it out soon...that's alright, because the Mercantile Library has a 10,000 year lease on its current home.

The place is an absolute historic gem to check out. The book collection is fantastic, and the personal attention/expertise from the librarians is second to none. Not to mention it is extremely quiet and private for reading, studying or working (more so than a public library). Something else it has is that historic charm that most public libraries lack.

The split level floors, that house the main book collection, are separated by a glass floor. That is because the library has not had electricity for very long, and this was a way to help maximize the natural sunlight from the large windows. There are other numerous architectural throwbacks like the ironwork, woodwork/carvings, and many other non-architectural features. Like the old wood phone booth for example, or the physical card catalog (no electronic catalogs here), the furniture, the stately looking safe that sits behind the front desk and the many pieces of artwork.

All in all, this place is a MUST see for any Cincinnatian...and for very reasonable membership rates you could have all of this and more at your fingertips. Be sure to also check out the Mercantile Library's weblog for book reviews, events and other things happening with the library.

For more pictures from the Mercantile Library and other images from this past weekend, check out my photothread on UrbanOhio that includes pics from around Downtown and Over-the-Rhine.

External Links:
www.mercantilelibrary.com
www.urbanohio.com/forum

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Three wishes

Well it seems as though my last post brought up some people's wishes for downtown, and what they want to happen. So, I thought I would throw it all out there and ask everyone to comment on what their Top 3 wishes for downtown are. They could be anything, from development projects, to culture changes, to new/different laws, etc. Go wild...I want to hear from you.

I'll start with my Top 3 in no particular order:

1. The creation of a transportation hub along 2nd St (as has been proposed). This could be a hub for light rail, streetcar, bus, bike and have tie-ins to the potential high-speed rail system in Ohio and the Midwest. Why is this in my top three...well great urban centers are the center of cultural, economical, political and transportation services (to name a few). Cincinnati fairs quite well in most of these...and is quite honestly the center of transportation services for the region...but it is a sad system of services to say the least. So my wish for downtown is kind of a cop out wish for the entire region (but it's my blog and I can do it).

2. How about an open-container policy for downtown. Now I understand that you need to restrict it someway...so create some sort of open-container district based on the location of the popular bars/clubs downtown. You could even have more than one district...and in those districts vehicular traffic could be closed off. This would give downtown a huge advantage over all of the other bar/club districts in the region and really make it a hot spot for activity after the sun goes down.

3. ZERO parking requirement...yes, you heard me right. No parking requirements. This is obviously a controversial proposal, but it has the potential to pay off big time with massive downtown development. This is one of those rare occasions where I think government is out of its element by mandating parking.

If a business or developer thinks that their project can succeed with less parking, no parking, or more parking then let them make that call. My bet is that people will error on the side of less parking, but if you want to sell condos and market them with 2 spaces then you'll build your two spaces per units...but if you think you can do it with only one space per unit, then go for it. This could potentially lower the upfront costs of many developments that eventually are killed by the costs of parking.

So have at it and let me know what your wishes are, and what you think of my brilliant ideas.

Monday, August 13, 2007

New Signature Tower Needed??

There has been some discussion recently over the need (or lack thereof) for a new signature tower in Cincinnati. Queen City Square II offers that potential with it's signature style architecture and size. It would be the new tallest in Cincinnati, and would have a new/fresh look that isn't all too prevalent in Midwestern cities. But the question still exists...does Cincinnati need a new signature tower...or for that matter does Cincinnati even have a signature tower/landmark.

I would argue that Cincinnati does have a signature tower in Carew, but whether it is a landmark feature is another question. I would say that outside of the world of people who are interested in Cincinnati and/or city history that very few people know the history of the beautiful Art Deco skyscraper. You could also argue that Union Terminal is landmark-esque for Cincinnati, but the same holds true for it with the average joe.

So, does Cincinnati need a new signature tower...well I'll answer with yet another question. What is the signature tower in Portland, OR...San Diego, CA...Boston, MA...Miami, FL or Washington, DC? Now sure, some of these places have their landmark buildings (most notably DC), but they don't really have signature towers. What makes Paris, London, Madrid, or Rome so special? They all lack the skyscrapers that are prevalent in American cities, but they have great built environments and pedestrian friendly amenities.

Proposed Queen City Square II

Cincinnati is special in the same way...sure it doesn't have the skyscrapers like new boomtowns of Atlanta, Miami, Houston, or Dallas. But it has a built environment that those cities will never be able to duplicate. Over-the-Rhine is a landmark for Cincinnati, so is Union Terminal, Carew Tower, Central Trust Tower, Roebling Suspension Bridge, and one could even argue Columbia Tusculum.


Now don't get me wrong...I'm not opposed to another stylish skyscraper downtown, but I don't think that Cincinnati needs it by any stretch of the imagination. Often times skyscrapers actually hurt that all important street-life that you hope to create in an urban environment. I say go for it, but don't go out of your way to accomplish building these skyscrapers. They are pretty...but like a book, the quality of a city should not be judged by its cover.

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