Welcome to Somewhere Over the Rhine

A site dedicated to Cincinnati's Over the Rhine neighborhood.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Bremen Strasse

The above picture is from a post card in 1900 of the German city of Bremen (Stadtgemeinde Bremen). The city is located in northwest Germany along the river Weser which is situated about 37 miles south of the North Sea (a sea of the Atlantic Ocean). Therefore, Bremen is and always has been a Port City. This is important to Over the Rhine because Bremen was the last city that many of Cincinnati's German emigrants saw before departing for their new home in the United States. To commemorate this fact early residents of Over the Rhine named a street after it and it was know as Bremen Strasse. This reminded residents of their last memories of their homeland.
In 1913, due to the ever increasing Anti-German hysteria sweeping the nation during World War I, Bremen Strasse along with many other streets in Over the Rhine was renamed to a more American sounding name, Republic Street.
This week I learned of an effort currently being made to change Republic Street back to its original name of Bremen Strasse. I think this is a wonderful idea that would help remind people of the historical importance of this neighborhood. In addition, Republic Street and many other streets in Over the Rhine have gained a notorious status for crime and neglect over the years and I think that changing the name would help to alleviate many peoples fears and stereotypes of the neighborhood as it continues to undergo revitalization.
I'm in support of this effort and I hope we can see many more streets returned to their original names in the upcoming years. This is just one way to help preserve the historic character of the neighborhood and insure that future generations of Cincinnati residents will learn about Over the Rhine's importance to their city and its rich history.

American Screenwriters Association moving to Cincinnati

Though this is not related directly to Over the Rhine I do believe this is going to be a great thing for the city as a whole. Check it out here.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Check out Park and Vine Tomorrow!

Park and Vine is hosting an exhibit starting tomorrow that will show how an historic building in Over the Rhine could benefit from a green rehab. It sounds like an excellent exhibit and I plan on checking it out myself. Hopefully I'll be able to post some pictures and info on here.
Building-Cincinnati explains this event here.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Urban Revitalization

I'd like to direct everyone's attention over to "Victorian Antiquities and Design." The owner of this blog has written a series of articles on the effects of de-urbanization in historic neighborhoods and possible solutions to this ever growing problem, especially here in Cincinnati. I think its a great series of posts. If we could get more people in Over the Rhine to get excited about revitalizing the area, the sort of solutions highlighted in his articles could really take hold.

Friday, June 20, 2008

1940's Weekend at Union Terminal

This weekend, June 21st and 22nd the Cincinnati Museum Center will be hosting a 1940s celebration as part of their 75th Anniversary Festivities. This is going to be a really awesome event with all sorts of stuff to see and do. There will be tours of the Rotunda and back rooms of the museum, the vintage chevrolet club will be out front showing off their beautiful cars, there will be bands playing period music, WMKV will be there spinning music and even doing a live radio show with sound effects. Also, there will be a 1940's fashion show on Sunday and a ration cooking contest. Also, the newsreel theatre will be open both days showing old newsreels all weekend long.
I'm very excited to be going to this, its sure to be a great event. If you can check it out even for a couple of hours I'm sure you'll find plenty to do and see.
More information and a detailed schedule of events can be found here at cincymuseum.org
Come celebrate one of our countries most exciting decades!
Mr. Bogart is expecting you!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

OTR without Kaldi's? I sure hope not!

This article pretty much speaks for itself. I'm not going to try to summarize it here. I've been hearing rumors of this for sometime now and I'm glad to finally hear the whole story about what is actually going on with one of OTR's most important staples, Kaldi's Coffee House.
I sincerely hope the current owner of Kaldi's and the building in which it resides can come to some sort of agreement that will keep this business going. For me and many people I know, Kaldi's holds more good memories than any other hang out spot in Cincinnati. Its the first place I ever visited in OTR and I've had more good times there than anywhere else in the city. Its been host to so many visiting artists, musician's, and interesting people over the years that it would be an absolute shame for OTR and all of Cincinnati to lose this business, especially now.
Not only should Kaldi's stay because of its critical place in local culture, but now is perhaps the WORST time for this business to leave OTR. There is so much potential for growth in the upcoming few years that it would be absolutely stupid to not just stay for a few more years and see how things progress. Remember, the proposed streetcar line is going to be traveling right down Main Street before turning onto 12th.
I really don't understand why people consider the current revitalization efforts on 12th and Vine to be completely separate from the already established Main Street district. Just because they are separated by a couple of city blocks doesn't mean they can't both benefit from each other. If you get lots of new residents moving in to the neighborhood, the businesses on Main are going to benefit directly. Kaldi's: Please at least hold out until the streetcars are built. If you still think the neighborhood is not worth holding on to then you can pack your bags and move. It is my belief, however, that the next few years are going to bring change to this neighborhood like its never seen before.

Do you have any good stories or memories of spending time at Kaldi's that you'd like to share? If so, please post them in the comments!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Avril-Bleh Groceries

I've already posted about this store once before, but I wanted now that I've been able to shop there many times I would like to again post info on them. Though small, this store has virtually everything you could possibly need for baking, cooking, or snacking. The best part is that they are willing to order anything you ask for. So, if theres something specific you're looking for just let them know and they'll start carrying it!
I highly recommend that everyone start shopping there for all of or at least part of your grocery needs.
My only complaint is with the hours. Currently they are open from 8-5:30pm Tuesday-Saturday. It would be nice if they stayed open just a little later (7pm) and if they were open on Sundays for at least a few hours.
Regardless, we're very fortunate to have a nice grocery store within walking distance of Over the Rhine. It only takes me 5 minutes to walk there and less than 2 minutes to ride my bike!
***It was brought to my attention today that I forgot to describe the location of the store for those of you who've never been there. Avril-Bleh is located on Court Street between Vine and Walnut. Its on the south side of Court street facing North just before it empties onto Walnut. Thanks Mandy:)***

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Streetcar Discussion a Success

The City of Cincinnati hosted a streetcar forum yesterday on UC's campus inviting experts from cities all over the country where streetcar systems are already in use and thriving. According to this article from the Enquirer, the forum was a great success.
It really sounds like the bottom line was to get started right away, waiting is a mistake.
Anyone who denies the benefits of streetcars after hearing how well they work in so many other cities would be a fool. Its obvious that none of these cities regret putting in streetcars at all. In fact, they all said that once you get one line in the next biggest debate will be "What neighborhoods will get the next expansion line first?"
Mark Mallory was there and assured everyone that Cincinnati will have streetcars.
I'm very happy for our city. The changes we have to look forward to in the upcoming years are very exciting to say the least.

I think this is my favorite quote from the article:
The panelists struggled to explain why streetcars attract more riders than buses. Johnsen cited a Tacoma, Wash. bus line that carried 175,000 people a year was replaced by a streetcar, and ridership jumped to 800,000 a year.

“It’s the magic of an urban experience that goes beyond a diesel-burning bus,” Villines said.

Its funny how opponents to the streetcar system here use the excuse "Why not just take the bus?" This is proof that buses do not appeal to people as much as fixed rail will. The best way I can think to explain this is that rail transit offers a reliable and easily predictable route. When you hop on a streetcar or subway train you actually see the route its traveling and you know that as long as you remember where those tracks are you can easily get back to where you came from. It just doesn't work that way with buses.
My hope is that the city really takes the advice of the other cities to heart and starts working on the streetcars immediately. Every year we don't have streetcars is another year we are behind the times.

Monday, June 2, 2008

3CDC and CPS reach an agreement on Washington Park

This is a follow up to a previous post about the new Washington Park renovations. Previously, the 3CDC was having difficulty coming to an agreement with the Cincinnati Public School district over a critical piece of land for the new Washington Park proposal. The good news is they have worked out an agreement that will now allow the project to move forward.


Green space will replace concrete in one of Cincinnati’s most historic parks

Thanks to a partnership between Cincinnati Public Schools and the Cincinnati Park Board, the planned renovation of Washington Park in Over-the-Rhine will now include a one-block, permanent extension of the park.

In the fall of 2007, Cincinnati Public Schools (CPS) demolished the former Washington Park School at the corner of 14th and Race streets and decided not to re-build on the site, creating an opportunity to expand the six-acre Washington Park up to 14th Street. After discussions with the Cincinnati Park Board and Cincinnati Center City Development Corp. (3CDC), CPS has agreed to permanently transfer the title for the former school site to the Park Board. Discussions regarding specific details of the transfer continue. This action will enable the park renovation and expansion planning process to move forward.

“We are very grateful to CPS and its administration for working with us to make this important land transfer,” said Willie Carden, director of the Cincinnati Park Board. “Expanding green space in an urban park is an opportunity that doesn’t come along every day. This will not only enhance the beauty of Washington Park, it will serve as a national model for other urban neighborhoods.”

“Cincinnati Public Schools is proud to be a partner in the revitalization of Over-the-Rhine,” said Superintendent Rosa Blackwell. “This historic neighborhood will be home to two of our schools—the new School for Creative and Performing Arts, the nation’s first K-12 arts school created through a public-private partnership, and the fully renovated Rothenberg School, serving grades K-8.”

The latest conceptual plan for the site calls for an underground garage as part of the park renovation and expansion. The planning and design effort will be led by the Park Board and 3CDC with costs paid by 3CDC. The Washington Park Master Plan Steering Committee, a neighborhood representative group that will include representatives of Cincinnati Public Schools and which has been guiding the Park Board on renovation and expansion plans for the park, will work with the design team on the park and garage design.

Under the conceptual plan, a 600-700 space, three-level underground garage would be built, with parkland on top, similar to Millennium Park in Chicago and Boston Commons. The garage design will be carefully integrated with the design for the park expansion.

“Merging the garage construction and park expansion elements of this project will result in substantial savings in the construction process and access to additional private financial resources to help fund the total cost of this $25 million project,” said Steve Leeper, president and CEO of 3CDC. “This action by Cincinnati Public Schools will have a long lasting, positive impact on Over-the-Rhine and the city as a whole.”

There has been widespread support from city leaders and community leaders, specifically the arts community, for this concept because of the benefits it will provide to Music Hall, Memorial Hall, neighborhood business owners and residents and CPS’s new $72 million School for Creative and Performing Arts, currently under construction on 12th Street between Race and Elm. Members of the Washington Park Steering Committee have also expressed support for the plan and will meet in the next few days to discuss this latest development.

The renovation of Washington Park is part of the on-going renaissance in OTR to recognize, preserve and celebrate the unique and historic character of the neighborhood. Since 2005, 3CDC and the City of Cincinnati have invested over $70 million in OTR, about $58 million through private sources, to preserve and renovate housing and commercial space. 3CDC has been charged by the city to lead the revitalization of OTR as a vibrant, mixed-use, mixed-income, racially diverse urban neighborhood.

A timeline for the Washington Park renovation and expansion will not be determined until further input is gathered from the community and a final plan for the park renovation, expansion and garage is in place. The park, including the pool, will be open this summer

Washington Park was acquired by the city in 1855 and is owned and operated by the Cincinnati Park Board. Its current borders are West 12th, Race and Elm streets and with the renovation will expand to 14th Street. In addition to the pool, the park includes an historic bandstand, trees and several Civil War cannons and busts of Civil War heroes.
*This post is from a 3CDC press release

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