“This Place Matters” Community Challenge Tests OTR’s Mettle

Over-the-Rhine needs your help. Voting is quick and easy.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation’s This Place Matters 2011 Community Challenge kicked off June 1 at 8am and will end at 11:59pm, June 30. 100 local preservation organizations nationwide were selected to compete. First, second and third places will win $25,000, $10,000 and $5,000, respectively. The Over-the-Rhine Foundation is fortunate enough to be one of the 100 candidates nationwide and one of only three from the state of Ohio.

Sean Rhiney, Vice President of the Over-the-Rhine Foundation, was kind enough to answer a few questions about the Community Challenge and how the Foundation would use the prize money if it placed in one of the top three positions. He described the Community Challenge as

“a significant opportunity not just for Over-the-Rhine, our oldest and most beloved urban neighborhood, but for the entire City of Cincinnati. We’re already proving OTR can be a national model for how older cities can recognize their significant architectural and community assets and let them guide and enhance preservation and development. The National Trust recognized this when they placed us on their endangered list in 2006 – that wasn’t a death sentence, that was a national organization shining a light on the beauty of what we have, and the limitless potential in saving and celebrating it.”

If Over-the-Rhine garners enough support to win a top prize, how might the Over-the-Rhine Foundation use the prize money? Mr. Rhiney explains:

…that would be up to the full board and our supporters, but the Foundation has a number of ongoing initiatives that could benefit the neighborhood through enhanced funding, including the OTRF Legal Defense Fund, which met a challenge grant earlier this spring to help prevent future unnecessary demolitions; the Green Historic Study which the Foundation helmed is ready for further development and implementation – in fact, the results of the study will be featured this June at the Greening the Heartland Conference. The study proves historic structures are the most suitable for ‘green’ development and provides a usable, realistic template for significant green rehab opportunities in our neighborhood. Of course, saving structures on the city’s most endangered list in OTR remains a top priority as well identifying proactive ways to deal with infill and greenspace.

On June 9, OTR was in 84th place. The effort to win began in earnest the next day and has catapulted OTR into 1st place.

The standings as of 5:00AM, June 17 are as follows (votes alone determine which organization wins the challenge but facebook “likes” are another, unofficial barometer):

  1. Over-the-Rhine: 2,212 votes and 1,454 facebook “likes”
  2. Enterprise Hometown Improvement: 2,206 votes and 219 facebook “likes”
  3. Wellington Ritz Theatre, Inc.: 2,169 votes and 644 facebook “likes”
  4. The Preservation Society of Newport: 1,880 votes and 326 facebook “likes”
  5. Cleveland Urban Design Urban Collaborative & Kent State University: 1,487 votes and 932 facebook “likes”
As one can see from the current standings, Over-the-Rhine’s lead is tenuous and insufficient to win the competition which ends on June 30.

This Place Matters Community Challenge Voting Results as of 5:00AM, June 17

Please share all of this information with your friends and remember that you’re allowed to vote once for every email address you have. Vote at http://bit.ly/voteotr
The following images are from the Over-the-Rhine Foundation’s “Why ‘This Place Matters’” photo album on facebook. View the entire collection here.

142 E. McMicken Ave. before senseless demolition by Cincinnati Public Schools

142 E. McMicken after senseless CPS demo

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Germania overlooking Walnut Street, Over-the-Rhine

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  1. […] proves historic structures are the most suitable for green rehab.’”  Full article here, and vote here, early and […]



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