In the summer of 2010, by a stroke of luck and through word of mouth, I moved to one of the tiniest neighborhood districts in Cincinnati: Brighton.
In a series of blog posts, I hope to convey the unique 'sense of place' present in Brighton now, and throughout the last 150 years, as well as the impact living in the neighborhood has had on me as a Planner.
As a first post I share with you a tv news piece and print stories centered on a new neighborhood establishment, Rake's End. In the spring of 2012 my landlord Fred Lane was in the process of re-establishing a business that had existed in the neighborhood in the 1930s, then a sandwich and soda shop known as The Rake. This re-opening was notable because there are very few businesses operating in the neighborhood, which lost 20,000 homes when an interstate expressway was built in the 1960s.
In April 2012 a local tv news station picked up the story and wanted to feature the business and the existing creative energy and art scene in the neighborhood. The station reached out to Fred, and Fred reached out to me and asked if I'd like to be interviewed. In keeping with my enthusiastic spirit, I jumped at the chance to champion the neighborhood. The 4 minute piece is viewable below.
In print, Maria Seda-Reeder features Rake's End and Brighton in this piece, "Brighton's Shiniest". I'm quoted briefly at the end of the article. Matthew Risher covers Brighton and the positive impact of Rake's End in this write up, "New Years Eve at the Rake's End", which features a few of my photos.
Surrounded by support from my colleagues!
On Thursday June 13th I had the pleasure of attending the Community Development Corporations Association of Greater Cincinnati's annual gathering and awards luncheon.
I was looking forward to the luncheon because it's an opportunity to be in the same room with so many hardworking men and women who dedicate their time and energy to community development. Within moments of walking in the door, I was greeted by friend Samantha Brockfield, who had volunteered to greet and sign in guests. Samantha is my closest friend in community development - when I met her for the first time, I jotted down "this women will change my life" on the back of her business card, and those words rang true. I then spotted Patrick Whalen, a fellow Planner who was one of the first interns I ever supervised at Over-the-Rhine Community Housing. Being greeted by Samantha and running into Patrick set a great tone for the luncheon, but nothing could have prepared me for the moment when I sat down at a table and opened the event program - there inside was a photo of me (taken in action, while working with a volunteer group) and the words "Most Outstanding CDC Staffer"!
To my surprise, months beforehand my inspiring and supportive colleagues at Over-the-Rhine Community Housing had nominated me for the recognition. This is the biggest honor I have ever received, and it means the world to me. Prior to working at Over-the-Rhine Community Housing, 'community' was more of a concept to me, and 'community development' a branch of Planning that I had spent more time reading about than participating in. But from the first few days with Over-the-Rhine Community Housing, I was fully immersed in the neighborhood and community, and taken under the wing of my bosses Mary and Andy.
Just a few days after starting at OTRCH the organization held a groundbreaking for the Jimmy Heath House, the first housing development based on the Housing First model in the city. The groundbreaking was a gathering of hundreds of supporters and friends of the organization to celebrate the uphill journey to open the doors of the Jimmy Heath House. A few days later, my boss Mary B. Rivers was honored at the Greater Cincinnati Homeless Coalition's annual dinner, where she received the buddy gray Lifetime Achievement award for her decades of service to affordable housing and social justice. Being present at the dinner and hearing my boss' reflection had a life changing impact on me. With these two events as my introduction to OTRCH, I think it was only natural that I was inspired to dive in and contribute everything I had to my roles and responsibilities. As I transition out of my role at OTRCH to seek a more direct way to use my Urban Planning degree, this "Most Outstanding CDC Staffer" recognition will forever be an inspiration to continue giving my best!
Young professional Urban Planner, drawing inspiration from all people, places and experiences I encounter!