Friday, April 29, 2005


Civic Garden Center - Plant Sale

The Civic Garden Center has great programs for enhancing Urban Life. One of my favorite programs is the Neighborhood Gardens. Not only does it redevelop vacant lots and turn them into areas of pride for the community, but it also teaches life skills for parents and children. It's just an all around outstanding program.

This weekend is one of the Center's annual fundraisers, the 2005 Plant, Herb and Hosta sale. Not only is it a fundraiser, but it offers great plants at a low price. So head on out, buy Mom a plant (Next weekend is mother's day) or something for yourself and support this great organization. The Garden Center is at 2715 Reading Road at William Howard Taft.


Final Friday - Gallery Walk

If you've never been to Final Friday, you should definitely check it out tonight. Final Friday is a great representation of what works in the Over-the-Rhine. Lots of people, dozens of art galleries, and bars/restaurants. Many of the galleries have art openings, and stay open into the evening.


New Condos - Northside/Camp Washington

Always glad to see a renovation, but with this one I have to wonder about the location. It's on the west side of 75, not really close to Clifton, not really close to downtown, not really close to Northside. You can't walk to much of anything (except for perhaps Camp Washington Chili), which I think is a big draw for Urban Condo living. But the price point will be low because of the less than ideal location, which might be of interest to some UC students.

Anyway, trying not to be negitive here, Middle Earth is a great developer, doing lots of interesting projects in the city. But this one just caught me as a little strange.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005


Make Cincinnati Weird - New Entry

Austin has long had their "Keep Austin Weird" Mantra. Well Cincinnati is a half step behind, but has it's "Make Cincinnati Weird" calling card.

Well chalk one more up for the weird side of Cincinnati. The country's first museum dedicted entirely to signs. It's in a great neighborhood (Walnut Hills) and will open to the public on Thursday. Go Check it out and make sure it's successful at making Cincinnati Weird!


Smoking Ban Year One - Lexington

Today is the one year anniversary of the smoking ban in Lexington. There is one major difference between Lexington and the Cincinnati Area. There is one government in the city. For Cincinnati, you have two states, and three major municipalities (Cincinnati, Newport, Covington). I've long said that if a ban was to go in affect, it must be regional. However, that aside there were some telling things in this article about the one year smoking ban:

- A year after this town's smoking ban took effect, bars and restaurants haven't closed and the nightlife hasn't disappeared - Gee, what a surprise, people still go out to eat and grab a beer. Funny how the same argument was discussed in California, New York City, etc.

- Of course, there have been subtle changes. Patios have sprouted at bars and restaurants, along with heat lamps to make cold nights more inviting as smokers cluster outside instead of in smoking sections - Is this supposed to be bad? More outdoor areas is a good thing in my mind

- Doug Pokrivea, who smokes 30 cigarettes a day, boycotted the city's bars and restaurants for a month. But a year later, he goes out as often as he did before the ban. When he wants a cigarette, he walks outside - SHOCKER! Pack a day smokers can't stay away from the bar? Who would have thought!

- A University of Kentucky study released last week says the smoke-free law did not have a significant economic effect on bars and restaurants. Researchers compared employment figures, business openings and closings and payroll withholding taxes from before and after the ban - Interesting. A study of the NUMBERS and FACTS, indicates that bars/restaurants were not impacted.

- The Lexington-Fayette County Food and Beverage Association, which lobbied against the ban, is expected to release its own study soon. Dave Whitson, a spokesman for the association, doesn't believe the findings. "They say it's not hurting business especially, but you can go all through town and see that several have closed," said Whitson, who owns two bars. - Interesting. So the numbers indicate that there was no affect, but the group opposed to the ban, has noticed 'several' bars close in the last year. And with that they announce their own study. Sounds to me like they have no opinion on what the outcome of that study is - completely unbiased. And if a couple bars closing in Lexington is smoking ban related, then Cincinnati must have banned smoking and drinking in bars, because I've seen more than a couple bars close in the last year!

The only argument I see that holds any weight, is the argument that businesses should decide on their own, and if a business wants to go smoke free they can, and the free market should work to make one bar more successful. However, I do believe that visiting and especially working in an environment filled with smoke daily is not a healthy situation. Which usually gets the response of 'don't visit', or 'you don't have to work there'. But with that argument you'd have unregulated meat packing plants today.... oh, so people lose arms in meat grinders, well they don't HAVE to work there. That argument just doesn't work. The government does have a place in regulating the safety of work environments. That trumps personal choice, and profit (though in this case there is no evidence anywhere that profits would be hurt).


Cincinnati Supports the Arts - Who Knew?

What a great story this is. The Fine Arts Fund once again exceeded its goal for fundraising. The umbrella organization provides significant funding for 8 main arts groups in Cincinnati, plus another 11 mid-sized groups. Everything from the Symphony and Playhouse in the Park to Ensemble and Madcap get funds from FAF.

The $10.9 Million raised is impressive alone, but when you consider the Fine Arts Fund campaign is "longest-running and highest in per-capita giving in the United States"!!

What a great tribute to the city and it's support for the arts, as well as a tribute to the hard work done each year by the fine arts fund. It's a great campaign, and each year I am excited to support it!

Monday, April 25, 2005


Fountain Square Progress

The 3CDC (looks like they are readying the website for the unveiling of the new plans, as there is no longer any old information on the website) continues to make progress on the plans for Fountain Square. On the plus side, there are discussions about putting a fountain facing bookstore like Joseph Beth on the square. This would be great for the square, as bookstores are great for foot traffic. In the article they also mention continued work by 3CDC on pulling together a great mix of retail for the area.

On the downside, the article mentions a revised development plan that will 'hopefully' be presented to Council 'sometime' in May. This is disappointing, because previous articles had mentioned late May. I hope to see the final plan including the list of retail clients, and funding in May. Further delay would be very disappointing.

All in all it's great news. I'd love to see the square opened up for access from all sides, more green, a better sight-line (with removal of the concrete monster ampitheatre), and the portion of the skywalk on the square pulled down to street level. I had previously been supportive of removing all the skywalk, but arguments made by others, and a trip to chamber of commerce on Tuesday in the pouring rain, made me change my mind! But I still support getting rid of the portion on the square. It is outside anyway, so the cover from rain/cold is minimal and it closes off the retail on the north side of the square. you could bring it down to street level, and then take it back up across the street to connect into Palomino's/Lazurus.

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