Welcome to Somewhere Over the Rhine

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

Friday, December 18, 2009

Thoughts on the Casino at Broadway Commons

The Enquirer ran a surprisingly thoughtful article today highlighting some very important points about the design and implementation of the Broadway Commons Casino and the impact it will have on Downtown. It can be read here: Uncommon Expectations

They posed the question "Will the new casino be designed as a cohesive part of a bigger downtown draw?"
This is an excellent question and one that needs to be taken very seriously by City officials, neighborhood leaders and citizens. I see two possible scenarios for the Casino downtown.
1. I lived in Detroit for a couple of years recently and visited their downtown casinos several times. Basically they were designed to attract people by automobile, park, gamble, maybe eat/drink inside the casino, maybe stay at the Casino's hotel, then get back in your car and leave. There was absolutely no impact on the surrounding downtown because people are encouraged to stay inside the casino's walls and not venture anywhere else.
This sort of situation needs to be avoided vehemently!! We don't need another I-71 exit full of hideous parking structures surrounding a walled off Casino.

2. The casino is designed to blend with the historic character of the surrounding neighborhoods and parking structures are kept to a minimum and equally well blended into the surroundings. It should be a casino and a casino only that encourages people to go elsewhere for dinner, hotels, and other entertainment. Key to this encouragement would be insuring that the streetcar is built so that people actually have a way to get to all of the other downtown attractions (like the new hotels being planned already at The Metropole on Walnut and the Phelps apt. building on 4th Street, the Banks, the Stadiums, Fountain Square, the new Riverfront park, all of our Downtown Restaurants, Bars, Shopping, OTR's Main and Vine street districts, Music Hall...the list goes on and on)

I really believe that if its done right the Casino will be a great addition to downtown and will really bring a lot of visitors and new residents to the surrounding neighborhoods and downtown. If done incorrectly it will do absolutely nothing for Cincinnati.

I'd be really curious to hear what Dan Gilbert has to say about the Cincinnati Streetcar plan and if he has any plans on contributing to it to insure its built? I think it will be a critical part of making the Casino a success. Just imagine how much easier it would be for people to come downtown for any number of various reasons (a bengal's game, a business trip) and say "hey why not hop on the streetcar after the game and check out the Casino?" I know I'd be much more inclined to do so if I knew there were no extra steps in paying for parking or finding a cab or whatever. Without the streetcar I doubt people would be as willing to walk or drive all the way up to Broadway commons from anywhere downtown and would likely opt to stay put.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Back to the Subject at Hand

With Issue 9 finally behind us and the prospect of a much brighter future for Over the Rhine and the rest of Cincinnati, I can finally get back to focusing on the original intent of this blog which is the history and current progression of Over the Rhine and the surrounding downtown and uptown neighborhoods. I'm going to start with pointing out this somewhat rare color photograph from a postcard I found at an antique mall depicting Central Parkway looking east. In the picture you can clearly see the YMCA building which is still standing on the corner of Central and Elm. In the distance is the American Building, still standing today. You can also see one of the more modern Cincinnati streetcars traveling north on Elm towards Music Hall. Because of that streetcar I'm guessing this photo was taken sometime in the early 1950s. Maybe late 1940s, but I'm not sure when that style streetcar was first built. You can see a lot of late 1940s cars in the picture, so it can't be much later than that.
Here's a picture of that same stretch of road today, unfortunately I couldn't get a birds eye view, but it still gives you a good idea of how things look now.

Must See Streetcar Report