Summer in Cincinnati: 10 Things that Inspired Me
First, I need to come clean. I live in the suburbs. On a cul-de-sac. With a big yard and a gas grill on a wood deck. However, I spend about half my time in the heart of the city, in Downtown Cincinnati and in the Over-the-Rhine neighborhood. I go for work, but I also go to take the pulse of the city, to get in on the action, to see the people, to feel the energy. I suffer from a chronic case of FOMO (“fear of missing out; anxiety that an exciting or interesting event may currently be happening elsewhere, often aroused by posts seen on a social media website”). Most of what I want to do is in the city’s core. When I’m not physically downtown, I’m reading about Cincinnati. I soak up everything I can about its culture, its economics, its politics, and its future. I’m way older than most people who care about Startup Cincy, and yes, I listen to WLW.
Now to my point. Cincinnati is on a roll, and I can’t help getting caught up in the spirit. I find it inspiring, and this summer was an especially good “feel good” summer for Cincinnati.
Here are a few of the things that inspired me:
- The Rhinos Swim Team–Who starts a swim team with kids who can’t swim? Some amazing people, that’s who. Shoutout to the coaches, the kids, and 3CDC who had the vision to make Ziegler Park and its swimming pool a truly special place.
- FC Cincinnati–Cheers to the newest professional team in town! So refreshing to see ownership that invests in people, places, and things. Everyone wants to #JointheMarch.
- Findlay Kitchen–Every week seems to bring a new, creative food idea out of the shared commercial kitchen space near Findlay Market. The Arepa Place is one of a new wave of food entrepreneurs who will make the leap from pop-up tent to brick-and-mortar location, thanks to the support of the Findlay Kitchen.
- Skeleton Root–Kate McDonald is a renaissance woman. How can you not be inspired by a modern-day urban winemaker following in the footsteps of Nicholas Longworth, the founder of American grape culture? Stay tuned as she releases historic Catawba wine on August 25.
- Wendy Lea and her tour of duty–She came, she saw, and she put Cincinnati on the national stage as a leading Midwest city for startups and venture capital. She exits gracefully after teaching a whole community how to be cheerleaders. Thanks, Wendy!
- Shoutout to those working behind the scenes to bring conventions, concerts, speakers, and special exhibits to our city. Efforts of the Cincinnati USA Regional Tourism Network in conjunction with the Cincinnati Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Northern Kentucky Convention and Visitors Bureau are paying off with a huge influx of out-of-town visitors whose dollars contribute to the local economy. A tip of the cap, too, to Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber and REDI Cincinnati who have given new businesses plenty of reasons to call Cincinnati home. Mega kudos to Source Cincinnati for pulling all the pieces together to tell the Cincinnati story and gain national and international media attention. It’s complicated, yes. But it takes a village, and it’s all part of the #CincyExperience, and I find it inspiring.
- Development in Over-the-Rhine and Walnut Hills continues to amaze me. Vacant, neglected, boarded-up buildings are coming back to life block by block. We don’t replace it. We restore it. History is alive in Cincinnati.
- Artworks is amazing. Not only does this non-profit add beauty to our neighborhoods, but it employs and trains local youth and artists to create art and impact our community.
- Homegrown chefs stepping up, jumping in, and giving back are everywhere. In fact, many of them recently came together for a “Chef Jam” with celebrity chef Simon Majumdar and La Soupe to bridge the gap between food waste and hunger.
- Conversations around homelessness, the Cincinnati Bell Connector, the Bird scooters, and a new MLS stadium divide people. These conversations inspire me not because I like disagreements, but because I like hearing all sides of an issue with careful consideration for all affected parties. Marlon Rice, an outsider, said it well in his article “Why Cincinnati?“. He wrote, “Somewhere along the way, they decided that working together to solve community problems makes more sense than trying to go it alone.” That’s inspiring.